Thursday, November 08, 2007

"Mining" For Decency

Tulane was a one score underdog last week- the first stupid line in awhile. Any student of Tulane football knew that was a real tricky match-up for Tulane- a game where real C-USA quarterback firepower had a chance to overwhelm a grind it out offensive approach. Tulane had no real way to either stop Tulsa from going for thirty-plus or to score thirty themselves.

Consequently, it was a stone lay-up. This week’s game feels a little more tricky. Tulsa was a clear step up in class; UTEP not so much. And the New York Post puts UTEP -4.5 over Tulane.

The step down in class from Tulsa stems mainly from one fact. The Miners are an utter, UAB-level, disaster on defense. Unlike last week, Forte figures to run utterly wild again. The 200 yards he hung up against the Blazers seems like a fair expectation.

While the defense is underachieving like crazy, the Miners’ offense is, like Tulsa, a slick C-USA operation that can score a ton. Trevor Vittatoe is only a RS freshman- and I honestly haven’t seen him play a lick- but his 21 TDs versus 3 interceptions is that sort of risk-reward ratio one associates with quality C-USA quarterback play. Again, like Tulsa, they present an array of skill position players that Tulane has zero hope of containing. We all know what a quality C-USA passing attack does to the Tulane defense: Houston (34), SMU (34), Tulsa (49).

My problem here is that I imagine Tulane will play well on offense: semi-competent quarterback play plus a big day from Matt Forte. But, unless Forte goes for 300, Tulane hasn’t been able to generate four scores all season against C-USA or Army.

And I think they need five- just to be in it late. I know these guys lost to Rice last week- but Tulane can’t score 30, let alone 56. And the Miners can score at least 40 if they need to.

Forget matching that idiot Scelfo’s four I-A wins with a similar roster plus Auburn last year. Toledo-nauts have been reduced to cheering the fact that we don’t get blown out by conference opponents! Much. And that hypothesis will get put to the sore test this weekend- as UTEP could really go nuts here and hang on Tulane its second straight bad loss. Look for a little more fight- a more competitive game- that still leaves Tulane on the short double digits at the end. I’ll give the 4.5 to Tulane.

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