Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Retrospective (#20-#16)

Our retrospective continues:

#20. Tulane 49; Cincinnati 7 (October 27, 1990)

Probably the best win of the Greg Davis era. This team had high hopes with senior quarterback Deron Smith. It probably was the best of the four-win outfits Davis produced. The schedule was hard- among the seven losses were Florida State, LSU, the three Mississippi schools.

This outright beat down of Cincinnati was probably a better measure of Tulane’s ability (a 4-2 mark against the more “manageable" portion of their schedule). The Bearcats were genuinely awful- and the Wave whipped them thoroughly for a goodly Homecoming experience. Tulane followed up with a good win at Syracuse... and it looked like this team, obviously better than its record, was on the right track. Then Woods and Duncan took over at quarterback in 1991- and Tulane couldn’t score anymore.

#19. Tulane 38; TCU 35 (November 27, 2004)

Another real false hope game that was great fun. Covered on Frank Helps You Think It All Out, freshman Richard Irvin (22-of-37 for 282 yards) became my great white whale for life. After an awesome fourth down goal line stand, Irvin took over at the one yard line. His 99-yard game winning drive on the road, complete with last minute TD pass, showed all the cool ball control competence a C-USA quarterback can possible have.

Unfortunately Tulane could not realize it had the new C-USA prototype quarterback in front of them- the pure Chase Clement distribute the ball type rather than the athletic King option. Irvin left school- and Tulane has been looking for a quarterback with his raw promise ever since.

This game turned Chris Scelfo into a minor hot coaching property. Marshall was interested- Georgia unofficially too. I wrote at the time:

I think the part of the Tulane community that has brains and has a lick of understanding how I-A athletics works as a whole appreciates that Tulane is a hard place to win consistently- and thinks the Scelfo regime is doing an altogether commendable job.

With a 2005 8-4 season under his belt, Scelfo would be an attractive hire: literally zero embarrassments, low maintenance, affordable, an exciting offense featuring NFL quarterbacks one after another. Match him with a recruiter and a defensive guy- and why would he not be a good fit at a lot of places?

#18. Tulane 14; Mississippi 9 (November 5, 1988)

One last hurrah for this pretty good group of talent that Mack Brown put together before his departure: Terrence Jones, Richard Harvey, Michael Pierce. Any road win versus the SEC is worthy of mention- extra delicious given it was Homecoming in Oxford. Arguably could be ranked higher, but the game was somewhat desultory.

I think the only other road win over an SEC outfit in my post 1987-era is the 2006 game at Mississippi State?

#17. Tulane 50; Navy 38 (November 11, 2000)

Back to a familiar theme from the previous retrospective- the wildly entertaining 2000 Tulane football team. Tulane scored at will against a bad Navy outfit. Here, it was the style points that mattered.

Patrick Ramsey threw for 380 yards and five TDs, the Wave scored touchdowns in its first four possessions-but to add to the “entertainment” quotient, the Wave defense allowed an astounding 724 yards. Perhaps even more astounding- the exact same 362 yards passing and rushing.

Navy lost a game where they did not punt!

This was the middle of a three game winning streak to close out the 2000 season. Again, a pretty underrated Tulane team that only lost a single home game- to #16 Southern Mississippi- that would have won eight, nine games against the 2009 schedule.

#16 Syracuse 30; Tulane 19 (September 20, 1997)

This might seem rated rather high- but this game, being on television, was for the national alumni the first real inkling that things were changing for Tulane. Had the Green Wave actually managed to win this game, it would be top ten.

After a pair of anonymous home games, Tulane really took the fight to Syracuse- losing late when Syracuse intercepted a pass from the heroic Shaun King and returned it for a score.

But unless you saw it, you don’t understand. Honestly, just the way they lined up- crisply, like they knew what they were doing and had confidence in it. With just his second career 300+ yard day, King moved from raw talent to a guy you couldn’t stop watching. Punter Brad Hill single-handedly won the field position game for Tulane. I honestly remember thinking “who are these people?” The sad Teevins era died that afternoon. Tulane would win 18 of their next twenty.