Thursday, November 13, 2008

Clash of the C-USA Titans

I spent most of the summer touting the Tulane Green Wave as a stereotypical two-win outfit: zero plus-style playmakers in an offense friendly League, bad defense, worse special teams. I was marginally talked out of that pessimistic pick by an anonymous e-mail that gently pointed the Wave was scheduled to play UL-Monroe, Army and UAB- all at home- chiding me about really thinking the Wave was bad enough to drop two of three there? I decided I agreed with that- and moved my pick up to three.

Well anonymous e-mail buddy, you’re on the hook now. The Wave did manage to lose to Army- and thus needs a win to avoid a losing mark against that aforementioned cast of busted programs. Vegas is optimistic- giving Alabama-Birmingham +5.5- which beggars the question of just how bad are the Blazers?

Answer: pretty bad!

Or are they? Clearly, they did not show up last week versus the Golden Eagles. But their last three efforts versus bottom tier outfits- Alabama State, Memphis, Marshall- would be enough to cover in this spot. People, that is a flat out trend!

I’m not much into historical analysis- but UAB did beat the Wave last year, and the last few years the games have all been one score affairs. I suspect these two teams are in the same class- and that fact bears that out. Also, only six players have started all nine games for the Blazers. Unfortunately for Tulane, QB Joe Webb is one of them- and that sort of mobile touchdown maker always gives Tulane fits.

So we have trends and history- all suggesting UAB ought to be in this thing. Sadly, I’ve been stuck on five wins ATS for awhile- dodging a recent push and an outright loss. I dunno- again, I think these teams on the same level: banged up, bad C-USA outfits. With Anderson, the Wave could rush the football, protect the defense, score some points. Webb means Tulane will probably have to score four times to win. Can Tulane score 28-ish with their zillion questions at the skill positions?

Maybe. UAB stinks. So, it feels like a toss up game to me. I think Tulane can win- but in a pretty even game no matter how you slice it- I’m going to take the five-and-a-half point head start.

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