Thursday, October 08, 2009

Three Wins In A Row?

The dead-even Tulane Green Wave finds itself a three point home ‘dog this weekend to Marshall.

And I feel almost a little panicked. Up from a potential rock bottom, the Wave is now coming off two straight emotional “had to have them” wins. They seem pretty healthy (unfortunately, so is the Herd). The defense was very good versus the Cadets. And Marshall is a game Tulane could absolutely win. It a pure dash of prosperity- and I suppose it is a factor handicapping this game. It is just I don’t know exactly how to deal with it- call it the wages of prosperity: could the Wave actually look past opponents? maybe the Wave might react to bad luck by playing confidently?

In the end it comes down to four doubts.

I doubt Tulane can muster the same intensity a third week in a row after two utter “must have” close wins. It is a lot to ask of any team.

Second, I’m not sure of a single good defensive performance, against a very one dimensional Cadet team, now means that Tulane can keep an adequate C-USA attack under control.

Third, Darius Marshall is real close to being a super League tailback (already second team all C-USA, leads I-A in per game rushing) Marshall can flat out block the running game- and that is a chronic problem for Tulane's defense. Darius figures to have a monster 200-something yard day against the back-seven of the Tulane defense.

Lastly, Marshall is still a step better than Tulane. Perhaps it is now a small step, but a step nonetheless. Could Tulane play a credible game with an upper echelon C-USA outfit like East Carolina? After all, Marshall does have three wins in five tries. Before we mock any, we got Army and McNeese in our victory bucket.

With that sort of rushing attack and Tulane’s awful special teams, Marshall is going to score north of thirty here. I’m doubtful Tulane can keep up- and three points is not much of a head start.

I’ve picked Tulane ATS three games in a row now- largely due to the fact I figured they simply weren’t as bad as Tulsa and BYU were capable of making them look. Here, I figure I’m giving Marshall three because Tulane simply isn’t as good as either McNeese or Army were capable of making Tulane look.

I’m nervous about this pick though. I wonder if it is again influenced by the fact I cannot accept that Tulane is a class better than 2008, therefore should totally expect to play a toss up game with Marshall (the very definition of the level up from C-USA style “terrible”)- and then be happy with the 3-point head start?

No said this was easy. Nevertheless, I’m picking Marshall here- looking to improve on the 3-1 season mark ATS*

*the McNeese State pick was straight up

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