Let's Get This Over With
Due to the holiday, we’ll get Prediction Thursday over with today. The New York Post puts SMU -17.5 over Tulane this morning. Last year, Tulane was an 18.5 point fave (Tulane did not cover, but did win 34-27)- an astonishing 35.5 point swing you can lay at the door of Coach Toledo, the man “who would teach us how to win”
35.5 points. Sheesh.
It is so frustrating, because this line is indicative of playing out the string. The last two times out, the Mustangs beat Marshall by four and UTEP by three (ed. note: CrazyWave is right- see comments- the Mustangs lost to Marshall by four, but did beat UTEP). Tulane played those two outfits pretty tight- yet they are 17 points ‘dogs here? That isn’t a talent disparity “play”. This big line is a perception that Tulane is a bunch of guys who have quit on the coach, fans and season.
It is a perception that is deserved.
By that, I wish I could sit here and write that this game came down whether Tulane could control nifty RB Shawnbrey McNeal or survive SMU’s brilliant NINE blocked kicks this year. But really, it comes down to whether Tulane feels like playing.
It is frustrating beyond belief. Because, although the chat boards and the players seem to have checked out to off-season concerns, there is a lot to play for here. Just like last week, a fourth win means they were pretty decent and improving, outside of LSU and BYU. But that was true last week too- and we saw how that turned out.
I mean, the quit thing aside, this line is completely stupid. SMU isn’t good; their defense is a wreck. Forget about covering. Putting forth the UTEP-style effort, and Tulane could win this game outright. Had the Wave tried last week, lost a decent effort, this line would be -8.
Again, SMU is terrible on defense- routinely allowing 400+ yards. UTEP and Marshall don’t have offenses better than Tulane’s version- and they both went for 31. Tulane could score 28 here- making -17.5 ridiculous.
But, quitting is hard to unlearn. A blocked kick, a disheartening turnover- and the Toledo fortitude comes to the front. If they were to make a movie called “Tulane Defense”, Bert Lahr would have to be disinterred to star.
I don’t want to pick this game- but the sporting side of me says finish the season. Due to this completely insane line, I’m hoping to steal this game. 17.5 is just so disrespectful- particularly since SMU has nothing to play for. The Mustangs are going to the Hawai’i Bowl no matter what. I just can’t give those points- so I guess I got to take them? I’m hoping that the senior skill position players and Ryan Griffin decide to play- each has something big to prove.
When in doubt this year, I’ve sort of gone with Tulane to cover. And at 7-4 ATS, it has worked out. So I’ll take the Wave. It makes me sick- but what can you do?