Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Second Game Versus Knights

Well, the Rice Owls stung Frank Helps You Think It All Out- using a semi-garbage time score to cost us our backdoor cover. This drops the blog to 7-3 ATS (straight up versus McNeese State)- and I’ll look to get the game back looking at Tulane +22 over UCF.

UCF? I struggle to remember the Knights. It has been a long time since they played. One nice thing about the blog is that it is old enough to act as a sort of archive. Tulane did beat UCF in the Dome a few years back when, like Army this year, the Knights missed a very make-able field goal to win the game.

Reading that old post, I was struck at how similar this encounter feels. Just like that game, these last two tilts are not unimportant for Tulane. Get a fourth win on Saturday- well, that would make them a not altogether bad 4-5 in games versus their class (ex-BYU and ex-LSU- with one still to play). This Tulane fan would see it as a sign of some progress if they could play something near .500 against C-USA level competition for a whole season. For one thing, it is an argument Tulane couldn’t make, something near .500 versus their peers, since beating UCF three years ago.

So, on to the Knights. The 6-4 Knights have swept out the bad C-USA outfits they’ve faced this year: blew Rice out, a solid win over Memphis, squeezed by Marshall by one. They’ve played two other suspect out of conference outfits- narrowly beating Samford and Buffalo.

That is five games against bleah teams- and only one effort that would cover the 20: Rice. And I’m not sure that cover is real relevant. As the Tulane fan knows, the Owl quarterback has found himself a little, made his team a whole notch better, the past two weeks.

Even more encouragingly, Tulane has not been blown out since their own quarterback stepped up two games ago. Further, Tulane has scored a very good 68 points in these two games. Marshall, Memphis, Buffalo and Samford scored well into the 20s here- why can’t Tulane? Put together another competent day from Ryan, one hundred pedestrian yards for the third week in a row from Andre- there is a formula for three TDs, at a minimum, versus this “just okay” Knights defense.

It is hard to reach 45 points- and get the needed 22 point separation- if Tulane is possessing the ball enough to score 24. Worse, in the sense of chasing a big number, UCF is probably inclined to rush the football here. Play it safe, get Brynn Harvey 35 carries again this week, run the game clock, and grind the Wave into dust. But again, that is not a Knight game plan designed to chase a large number in the 40s.

The Knights just don’t strike me as a team that is good enough on offense to get a certain three TD edge- particularly on a Tulane team frankly playing a little better on offense (at least at the all important C-USA quarterback position) as the season progresses. 22 is a big head start- I’ll take Tulane and the points and root for the clock.

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