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.

Labels: ,