First of all, I had a great week in Louisiana. Super weather. I loved Bayou Teche and its environs. I napped a lot on boats. Many bugs. Sportsman’s Paradise indeed. Good job Louisiana and its denizens.
As to the game. Oddly, I am inclined to give Tulane a semi-pass this weekend. At left, Toledo seems concerned about a pending special teams play.
Look, I have the Wave at a “fair” over/under of 3.5- and certainly after this weekend, I’m not inclined to move off that number. And yes, after Saturday, those folks calling for eight or more are probably in for some disappointment.
But you know, looking back to last year, the Wave had split their last ten outings right down the middle. A lot of things are prone to over thinking. Occam’s Razor would suggest: they’re just a .500 team, helped to that level by a poor schedule, but featuring recent good play ex-special teams. The Green Wave was perhaps a little flush with what passes for success at Tulane. They absorb the big spread and throw out their first real turkey since last year’s UAB/Army stretch. Ten games without a real bad one- they're a college team, perhaps they were due.
Anyway, I'm inclined to think they're more like the team that played the last ten than last weekend's horror show- thus the semi-pass.
Plus, you know, I now get it. This Army outfit, for whatever reason, is a bad match-up for Tulane. The Cadets recent game with Texas A&M, coupled with this win, probably is indicative of a team moving up in class from "horrid" to "pretty bad". I also think Army moves up a lot on grass- slows the game down for their defensive backfield which doesn’t run real well.
Obviously, Tulane doesn’t get a total pass. It was a HUGE loss from a program interest standpoint. People rip on the Gormley experience. But they had a nice crowd with a lot of university representation: alumns, staff, students, administration. I had a great time at the tents. And then to turn that good, three Bloody Mary feeling around- and stink the joint out on such a stage. Brutal. It is back to 3500 Toledo-nauts literally chillin’ in the Dome. Whatever else you think about my observations vis-a-vis Tulane football, after observing Tulane's attendence in the remaining games, everyone will be forced to agree Toledo is an utter failure at the 'naut touted "rekindle fan interest" bullet.
That loss ended any chance of any off-field momentum: attendance, general interest, etc. But perhaps worse, it sets up this UTEP tilt as a real “save the on-field season” tilt- a game that unfortuantely will be on the road against a seemingly improving opponent. Lose it, with LSU and Tulsa still lurking- and a .500 season seems improbable, the six-ish victory crowd thins, and 3.5 wins gets closer and closer.
Spooky! Maybe I’m not inclined to give a big a pass as I thought when I started.