More work to do at LSU and Tulane after improved 2017 seasons
This season, LSU and Tulane won more games that last year.
The Tigers, with a victory in their bowl game, have a chance to win 10 games for the first time since 2013.
On Saturday at SMU, Tulane quarterback Jonathan Banks was ruled down inches before the goal line on the game’s final play. A touchdown call there would have made the Green Wave bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.
Further progress for both next season will have to be made against much tougher schedules.
LSU opens the season against Miami in Arlington, Texas. The Tigers face the Hurricanes for the first time since 1988.
The Tigers go to Auburn and must return to Florida for the second straight year.
LSU plays Alabama and Georgia at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers will host the latter for the first time since 2008.
Tulane’s schedule ramps up as well.
Non-conference, the Green Wave host Wake Forest and FCS playoff qualifier Nicholls State.
The road schedule features Ohio State and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. After a two year football hiatus, UAB won six games in Conference USA and earned a date with Ohio in the Bahamas Bowl on December 22.
Tulane, on defense, will be hit hard by departures.
The club’s leading tackler, linebacker Rae Juan Marbley, is a senior. So is cornerback Perry Nickerson, a first team all-conference performer who with six interceptions tied for second in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Defensive lineman Ade Aruna and Sean Wilson, two consistent contributors, will also depart.
Former Green Wave head coach Curtis Johnson should be given credit for recruiting well on defense.
In 2016, linebacker Nico Marley and defensive tackle Tanzel Smart played their final seasons for the Green Wave.
LSU transitioned from a very experienced squad to a very young one in 2017.
But the Tigers still lose running backs Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams along with pass rusher Arden Key.
Defensive back Donte’ Jackson, who produced his best season, is NFL draft eligible.
This week, the coaching staffs at LSU and Tulane are busy recruiting.
The Tigers picked up a commit from 320 pound offensive guard Damien Lewis out of Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Mississippi. Tulane has many needs including finding a replacement for Banks, who will be a senior in 2018.
Both the Wave and the Tigers made incremental progress in 2017.
But the goal for LSU is to be relevant in the College Football Playoff picture. For Tulane, the task is to climb the ladder to contention in the American Athletic Conference.
Both challenges are significant, but they are best tackled but by more quality players.
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WGNO Sports Director/WGSO 990am
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…