To win or not to win: football hits mid-season crossroads

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Five weeks.

One would think that through five weeks of a football season, observers and fans would have a decent idea of where a certain team stands, where it is headed and what it can expect. The team you have pictured, whatever it may be, is most definitely not the Tulane Green Wave.

Courtesy of Parker Waters and Tulane Athletics

In just a few weeks, Tulane football has seen smashing victories, shameful losses and outcomes that no experienced ESPN football analyst could even predict. With this in mind, here is where Tulane football stands, and here (gulp) is where it may go.

Week One – Tulane v. Wake Forest University

The Green Wave’s season opener, while ultimately ending in a loss, gave fans hope for a successful season. Tulane challenged Atlantic Coast Conference member Wake Forest with no fear, taking the Demon Deacons to overtime. Each team scorched the other through the air — Tulane had 281 yards passing, Wake Forest had 378 — and each defense was able to make numerous stops. In the end, Tulane dropped this game by a score of 23-17.

Week Two – Tulane v. Nicholls State University

Tulane’s second match against Nicholls State proved shockingly similar to its blowout win over Grambling State University last fall. The main difference between this blowout and last year’s was the method of execution: last fall by air, this fall by ground. Redshirt junior running back Corey Dauphine led the destruction of the Colonels defense by means of 152 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Nicholls simply could not catch up to the rising tide, ultimately falling to the Wave by a score of 42-17.

Week Three – Tulane at University of Alabama–Birmingham

This was a game Tulane arguably should have and could have won. The Green Wave, however, simply could not get any sort of offense moving in the first half: at halftime, it already trailed by a score of 21-7. While the Wave’s offense and defense roared furiously in the second half, it was too little, too late. The 14-point first half deficit was too much for Tulane to overcome, and it ultimately fell 31-24.

Week Four – Tulane at Ohio State University

Playing Ohio State was not even a contest … I would write this loss off if I could. Would anyone expect Tulane to knock off the then-No. 4 Buckeyes? No. Is there anything to analyze? To be blatantly honest, no. Tulane Athletics went to Columbus, Ohio, received (more than) a few bags of money for getting dismantled by one of the best programs in the nation, and left. Willie Fritz has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in losing to the Buckeyes 49-6.

Week Five – Tulane v. University of Memphis

After two devastating losses, next to no one would expect the Green Wave to put on the show it did against the visiting Memphis Tigers. The Tigers came in highly touted with a 3-1 record, but the team was utterly feasted upon by both the Tulane offense and defense. Senior Jonathan Banks’ offense earned 38 out of the team’s 40 points, while a shockingly stout Green Wave defensive unit held Memphis’ junior running back Darrell Henderson, who was leading the nation with 12.2 yards per carry, to 51 yards on seven carries. With this win under its belt, the Green Wave looks to once again be building some momentum.

So … where are we headed?

That is a very good question. The Wave has won a game it should not have (Memphis), lost a game it should have won (UAB) and taken a “Power Five” conference school to overtime (Wake Forest). Tulane has, so far, been ridiculously unpredictable.

Following its strong-handed win over the Memphis Tigers, however, momentum looks to be on Tulane’s side. With that in mind, I would expect the Green Wave to play (slightly) above its average for the time being.

Predicting the remainder of the Tulane football season looks to be next to impossible, but without further ado, here is a sneak peek into what may occur for the remainder of the 2018 football season.

Week Six – Tulane at University of Cincinnati

Winner: Cincinnati Bearcats

Week Seven – No Game

Week Eight – Tulane vs. Southern Methodist University

Winner: Tulane Green Wave

Week Nine – Tulane at University of Tulsa

Winner: Tulane Green Wave

Week Ten – Tulane at University of South Florida

Winner: University of South Florida

Week Eleven – Tulane vs. Eastern Carolina University

Winner: Tulane Green Wave

Week Twelve – Tulane at University of Houston

Winner: University of Houston

Week Thirteen – Tulane vs. Navy

Winner: Navy

Overall Projected Record: 5-7