Friday, October 23, 2009

Sort of Stopping Southern Miss

The New York Post takes a minute from breathlessly anticipating a Phillies-Yankees series to put up Southern Mississippi -21.5 over the Tulane Green Wave. And we are off to a great 5-1 ATS start here- bowl eligible with a win against the number this week.

Naturally, the number grows bigger each time the Wave plays a first division C-USA outfit- the Wave was unable to cover 14 versus Tulsa to open the season, or 19 last week versus Houston.

But to me, that is the rub. The Wave hung with the Cougars for a half. Conversely, Southern Miss ain’t piloted by a second tier Heisman Trophy candidate. Southern Miss is not legitimately hanging around and inside the national top 25 polls.

Southern Miss can do one thing real well- run the football. RB Damion Fletcher has had a wonderful C-USA career- and he know doubt will go for a buck-fifty here. But USM’s 28th ranked rushing attack is also part and parcel with issues throwing the football. They probably will eschew the pass for long stretches- content to rush the football and consequently move the clock. It is safe- but just not a prescription for 40 points- which the Golden Eagles probably need to be sure of covering.

Yes, the Golden Eagles play some defense too- but even seventeen Tulane points is a real threat when you’re chasing three scores plus a hook. The "new" Tulane quarterback situation is merely status quo really- it is always in flux possession to possession. Frankly, uncertainty at quarterback under Toledo is sort of normal now; it is priced in. Ryan Griffin isn’t making a big difference tomorrow.

Tulane simply ought to be able to hang out a little longer here. USM is just not as explosive as Houston/Tulsa. And a game that is competitive into the second half makes a four score separation problematic.

It is not an easy pick. Toledo is a bad football coach unable to get a quarterback to play at a plus level or the team to play hard each week. Bad things repeatedly turn into blowouts. Going with Tulane is never routine or easy right now. But this line is too much. Tulane plays credibly for stretches- give me the Green Wave +21.5

Labels: ,