It isn’t so much the New York Post puts the surprising #23 Houston Cougars -19 over Tulane. It is just we’ve seen this movie a lot at Tulane the past two years.
UTEP proved a semi-bad can play and beat these Cougars if the offense comes to play. But one absolute truism of the Toledo regime is that when Tulane steps way up in class, say not a .500 team, but a good 6-2 C-USA outfit- the results are not good, and sort of exponentially worse. See last year’s games versus Rice (42-17), Memphis (45-6), Houston (42-14) and Tulsa (56-7).
Put the Wave down a touchdown in Vegas, you could get some verve. Put them down twenty, it is trouble with a capital “T”. Worse, good C-USA QBs tear the Wave up- Case Keenum figure to go absolutely nuts. Thirty, forty points beating are the norm.
Even worse, putting aside the Tulane’s pitiful track record versus well quarterbacked, superior teams- there is just lots of bad coach mojo working here. Of course, this being Bob Toledo- there are questions again about whether the right quarterback is playing.
This position is never settled with Bob- Tulane has played 29 games under this guy now and it is freaking always a mystery who will be starting a month form now under center. I’m not crazy about Joe Kemp either, but a kid who is completing 65% of his passes in a ball control style passing attack, is doing what you want. At 70% will people be satisfied- I mean, what is the right, acceptable number? Even the turnovers aren’t so bad when you consider half his attempts are obvious passing situations (with Tulane well behind or facing third and forever)
Worse, just how into this season are our players? Witness the desultory loss against a team that is simply not 31-10 better than Tulane. Marshall just doesn’t have that much more talent- there are pieces of a decent offense at least at Tulane. But Tulane either can’t or won’t play for Coach Toledo under real duress. We saw a whole lot of this style passive resistance versus better C-USA teams all second half last year. This is about where in the season is started to fall apart in 2008- where the “chances to play a credible game for sixty minutes” dry up. A hallmark of the Toledo regime is turn turtle under pressure- that rather than fighting bravely for a good loss, the team just sort of shrugs.
Frankly, I think I would take Houston and 30- candidly the Cougars could probable score 50 this week if they wanted to. Fortunately, you need only give 19. It isn’t the end of the season- there are some winnable, less miracle needing, spots in four weeks. But this is a definite bad spot- needing Tulane players who believe good things can happen. Cougars embarrass Tulane very big here.