Prediction Thursday- Rutgers
For the second week in a row, Prediction Thursday is a tricky proposition.
First, Tulane really took a physical beating last week- and I’m not sure about the health of quarterback Ryan Griffin. The back-up is definitely “out”- but unlike the Houston quarterback situation, I’m not sanguine about rolling our third option out there.
The second problem is that Vegas has caught up to the Green Wave’s under the radar improvement. Way back when, Mississippi was -21.5 over Tulane. Rutgers is clearly better than the Rebels (see here, and no FCS loss for one thing!)… figure they’d have been -27ish in that spot. Add in the venue switch, New Orleans to New Jersey- and this is a four TD game three weeks ago.
Now, it is Rutgers -15. Tulane is two TDs better now than "forecasted".
Of course, it means nothing in terms of actual wins and losses. But the outrageous bargain Tulane was against Mississippi... those days are over. Plus, Rutgers is, to quote a commentator on this blog, real “anonymous”. I feel I “know” Mississippi and our conference brethren. So, if it was gambling and luck last week (where I guessed right on the move around Houston -18.5/-19.5), this week it is real outright speculation.
Some bad intangibles here too. This is the third time in a row stepping up in class for Tulane- and I’m not sure the Green Wave roster is built for the stress of this sort of play week after week. But, this is also a classic trap game for Rutgers. A game sandwiched between North Carolina and an importnat Big East game with Connecticut. Does anyone doubt the Husky game film is loaded and ready in New Brunswick? I guess I sort of think they’ll break the Green Wave’s way- Tulane had a bye week in there, attitude is probably good in the locker room right now and it is still early in the season.
So, if Griffin plays, I am going to take the Wave here +15. Tulane has played back-to-back games with teams at the Rutgers level- and been in both contests late. So, until someone drills the Green Wave for a half-plus, I’m staying on the “Tulane is respectable” bandwagon.
Plus, Rutgers is no great shakes offensively: 13 versus North Carolina, 19(!!!) against FIU. I’m not sure QB Tom Savage would start at Tulane: 52% passer, 14 TDs in 285 attempts, sacked once in every eight attempts- not C-USA numbers, that is for sure. Hard to be a fifteen point favorite when the qb position is a draw at best. To be sure of reaching this kind of cover, Rutgers needs to score well into the 30s. That is just not likely to happen.
So we’ll try to stay perfect ATS (3-0), take Tulane +15 over Rutgers.