Riptide’s Reflection | Rollin’, bowlin’

Jeremy Rosen and Mark Keplinger

Tulane football improved to a 6-1 record after a dominating 45-31 win over University of South Florida. Not only did this win put the Green Wave at the top of the American Athletic Conference standings, it also made them the first bowl-eligible team in the conference. This will be the fourth bowl game the team will play in under head coach Willie Fritz and fourth bowl game in the past five seasons.

The team is in the midst of its most consistent stretch of success in decades. For most of the program’s history, the team would go through long stretches of mediocre seasons in between bowl games. The team was rarely able to have a strong season continue into the next. Before the Fritz era, you would have to go back to 1980 to see when the team made a bowl game in back-to-back seasons. This happened when they played in the Liberty Bowl (1979) and the Hall of Fame Classic (1980). 

While the recent bowl games the team has played in aren’t particularly renowned, this season’s selection could potentially be much more exciting. In the last three seasons that Tulane made a bowl game, they finished with either six or seven wins the whole year. This year, they have six wins just halfway through the season, with all of the potential to keep on winning. 

ESPN analysts currently predict that Tulane will play in either the Wasabi Fenway Bowl or the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl. However, where Tulane ends up will heavily depend on how the rest of AAC shakes up. The Green Wave currently sits at the top of the leaderboard with a 3-0 conference record, but No. 21 Cincinnati and University of Central Florida are only one game behind. Tulane will play Cincinnati for the final game of the regular season, and that game can easily determine which team claims the top spot in the AAC.

Regardless of where Green Wave football plays at the end of the season, this level of continued success is a great sign for the program. Repeatedly making bowl games with winning records will make the program much more attractive to the many top recruits that come out of Louisiana each year. Continuous success could make dreadful seasons like last year the exception rather than the norm.