Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Passes For Tulane Chat These Days

There is a post on a Tulane chatboard that sort of piqued my interest. I agree with the facts presented- but draw different conclusions- which is sort of indicative of why C-USA football is a complex derivative of the college football played by our peers.

A relevant excerpt (ed. note: I corrected spelling):
Tulane will not miss Forte nearly as much as nearly everyone thinks. He is a very good back who will probably start in the NFL at some point and he is better than all the backs that Tulane has now.... The reason (Forte) was consistent was that the offensive line consistently blocked well, better as the season progressed. The line will be better this season, as will the fullback and tight end, so instead of having one 2,000 yard running back we will have a combination of backs rush for 1,500 yards. Plenty enough if the quarterbacking improves and the ECU and Tulsa games proved that even the 2,000 yard rusher was not enough if the quarterbacking is as erratic as last season.
The poster goes on to suggest seven wins isn’t outlandish with improved qb play married to this rushing attack.

I dunno. If Tulane rushes for 1500 next year- recent history suggests that will put them in the bottom two, maybe three, in the C-USA League. Suggesting 1500 yards team rushing is “good” or even “okay” in C-USA intimates a fundamental misunderstanding of how the League works.

Last year, SMU rushed for 2100, finished in the bottom half of the League in rushing, and stunk. Memphis rushed for 1800 and finished 9th in League rushing. In C-USA, to have a real plus rushing attack- say merely Top 4, i.e. good not dominant- you need something around 2500 yards, not 1500.

Plus, no C-USA defense allowed fewer than 1500 yards rushing last year. So how much of a bar indicative of success can that forecast be.

The funny thing is that I actually agree that Tulane will rush for something like 1400-1500 yards next year. On that point, the post is correct; his number seems very fair. But rather than helping them play .500 ball against the ten games Tulane can “win sans miracle”, 1500 will be a huge determinant of why the Wave is 2-10.

Sure, stats don’t matter. But again, this isn’t even close. I bet this decade there has NEVER been a C-USA team with a winning record with 1500 yards rushing. The two teams that had 1500 or less last year were a combined 5-19.

So let's just say we'll be passing a lot. And Tulane will be right around that aforementioned level too: 2-10.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not High Culture

Made me laugh:

Monday, February 25, 2008


I’m no expert on the draft- other than ESPN highlights I haven’t seen most of these guys play, let alone analyze them. But sources say Tulane tailback Matt Forté ran well- which is part and parcel for any C-USA player going as a first day selection.

Let’s put it this way. Any list that doesn’t include Forte as a Top 12 prospect at the RB position, well, those doubts are generated by the League young Forté played in than anything about said specific player.

My gut feeling is that there is a “list” of RBs who have a reasonable expectation of being able to play in the NFL. Further, I imagine that collective of talent is just below another collective: the “can’t miss” tailbacks. I’m sure Forte is on that first “reasonable expectation” list- but not considered a bullet-proof selection.

The problem that he runs into is a lot of guys on that “legit prospect list” don’t bring the same competition risk: the risk that the success one observes from C-USA players is occasionally more a measure of the paucity they played against and our League’s bias toward ridiculous carton offensive numbers.

Outside of the quarterback position, the draft produces enough first day selections that can populate both the aforementioned “can’t miss” & “could miss- but still a legit prospect” lists- and further don’t require a leap of faith vis-à-vis the competition that player faced. Unless you have Forté substantially projected ahead of a tailback from Alabama or UCLA or Penn State, you’re not taking that competition risk- at least not until later in the selection process.

To that end, I think the pool of TB talent from the eighth selection to the fifteenth selection features pretty much the same value expectation: can play, but not an indisputable franchise back. But Forte’s league, and not the player himself, makes him vulnerable to slipping outside the top ten TBs selected.

I mean, you can’t tell me that, for instance, Jamaal Charles is a stone lock to be a better pro than Forte. But he played at Texas- so you can be more confident that his on-field credentials are legit.

That isn’t Matt’s fault of course, but this is the NFL baby. I’m sure we all remember the Eagles’ defensive front devouring the hapless Saints running game this year.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bring on the potential miracles!

Tulane stares direct into the maw tonight- as top-ranked, undefeated Memphis rolls into New Orleans. Very tricky spot- the New York Post puts visiting Memphis -14 over Tulane.

Frankly, this Memphis game probably comes at the best possible time. Interest in New Orleans would be near dead otherwise.

Tulane has failed to turn its solid out of conference success into any sort of regular season conference campaign. Take out the utter dregs of the League: Rice, SMU and East Carolina- and it is hard to argue Tulane has done anything in League play.

The hopeful story of Tulane as an emerging, cognizant League power is over for this year. The League got a lot better than most expected. In the little I’ve seen, Tulane lacks a real primary or secondary ball handler. People have been zapping the guards- but who in the front court is a plus creator and distributor? And of course, any sort of athletic size perplexes them offensively. Forget 12-4; even 8-8 seems problematic now.

So, to honestly salvage the season, Tulane is left only with one-off opportunities to indicate progress: the signature win, the “get hot” at the right time tournament run, etc.

Frankly, the Green Wave needs as many chances at singular, amazing success as possible. So this Memphis game is helpful on that score as well. The season-long story looks a lot less promising as it did six weeks ago. Any sort of program-wide “good feeling”, based on the sustained campaign, is probably shot.

So: Bring on the potential miracles! They’re almost as good.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Class: Eagles' Season Ticket Holders Style

The Philadelphia Daily News reports someone around here has got some pride. Frankly, Congress needs more former 700-level security guards:
The U.S. House on Wednesday passed the following resolution: "Congratulating the National Football League champion New York Giants for winning Super Bowl XLII and completing one of the most remarkable post-season runs in professional sports history."

The vote was 412-1. The one was Bucks County's Patrick Murphy, D-Pa.

"As a former 700-level security guard and lifelong Eagles fan, I couldn't, in good conscience, vote for our rival Giants," Murphy said yesterday. "The only thing worse would have been congratulating the Dallas Cowboys."
A man, alone, standing up for what's right.


Thursday, February 14, 2008


I’m looking for recordings for one time country music recording artist Jennifer Lauren.

She used to do regular gigs in the Richmond, Virginia area- like Six Shooters on Forest Hill Ave. I know she sang the national anthem before a Busch Series NASCAR race a few years ago. She did a fairly popular cover of Juice Newton’s “Queen of Hearts”.

I’m putting this up to set up a google tag- but if you have any recordings or a place where I can find some- shoot me a note at sbtix2004 on

Frank Helps You Think It All Out is appreciative.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Very Heartening

My hero Dick Jerardi is picking C-USA as a two-bid League!

Very heartening Dick! Our League being “good” makes it easier for Tulane to be good. And losing that one-bid reputation, as quickly as our League got it, is important.

Tulane’s problems are many- but fairly, some are not of our making: a.k.a. the League.

To get C-USA to a level where it produces four/five teams credibly in the Top 75 programs in the country (i.e. playing somewhere in the post-season) is a huge part and parcel of Tulane consistently fielding the same Top 75, NIT/NCAA program, we used to. The League has to move past Memphis and a bunch of awfulness.

Get two in the show, and the NIT moves down a team too. Rather than the two and three seed going, the three and four go.

Plus, it isn’t all some trick. The League is better this year. An 8-8 Tulane team is probably equal the team that went 10-6 last year. Getting a second bid makes it easier to get the second bid next year- particularly if Houston (or another at large conference tournament winner) does get in and win a game. Leagues get a reputation- we need to change our League back to a routine multiple bid league

A healthy League generating good teams makes it easier for Tulane to continue toward relevance in this sport.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ask Mr. B!

A re-occuring feature of this blog is an opportunity to ask the wise Mr. B (the sage plush toy pictured just right) any question concerning the future. Today's question: what is up with Tulane's recuiting class?

Today is National Letter of Intent Day. So of course, welcome to all new Tulane commitments.

They might notice the Tulane community a little out of sorts- as a certain languor has fallen watching many of this incoming classes key members de-commit in the past 24-48 hours: Mackey, Roussel, etc. According to the popular services, the class has tumbled from one of the best in C-USA to near the bottom in just two days.

This plush toy is no fan of Toledo- and yesterday I sat here trying to think of something mischievous to write. But the problem is that this situation just isn’t funny anymore. Toledo needs a “win for the program”- some real tangible sign of progress, not just more promises. Coach needs his Antietam- a victory that means something tangible and good going forward- particularly since the omens for “on-field” 2008 aren’t good.

I bought last season’s “Toledo will help attendance and program interest” agenda- and promised I wouldn’t be snookered by such a fake carrot again.

But, in spite of myself, I became optimistic on this recruiting thing. Rabbits know zero about recruiting, so I was definitely vulnerable to happy talk. And everyone seemed optimistic. Again, some services had our class up pretty high vis-à-vis C-USA peers. A few recruits passed the “who else is interested test?”

I even had a pretty conciliatory post for this blog entry- with some optimism that this was the first “really tangible, with genuine independent evidence, victory for the regime.”

The tone changed. And rabbits everywhere are disappointed.

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Monday, February 04, 2008


I was greeted by enormous piles of trash (mostly pizza plates and McDonalds bags), frozen piles of vomit and urine and a sort of ersatz confetti....

Yes, I am at ground zero of the Giants winning the Super Bowl. Manhattan smells like the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot