Bowl win keeps Tulane on right football track under Fritz
Tulane’s Cure Bowl win over Louisiana-Lafayette was another marker for the Green Wave in the return to college football relevance.
Head coach Willie Fritz steered his team from a 2-5 start to a final record of 7-6 for the program’s first winning record since the Green Wave lost to the Ragin Cajuns in the 2013 New Orleans Bowl at the end of a seven-win season.
The 2018 schedule is part of the explanation for the Green Wave’s five losses in its first seven games.
In the RealTime college football RPI, Wake Forest is 46, Ohio State is 6th, Cincinnati 25th, and UAB 31st.
Over the final six games, Fritz made a quarterback change to Justin McMillan and the schedule got significantly less stringent.
Over the final weeks of the season, the Green Wave recorded wins over Navy (103), East Carolina (112) and Tulsa (130).
However, there is no doubt that at this moment, Tulane football has momentum not found since the Green Wave won their 8th game of the season in the 2002 Hawaii Bowl.
The Green Wave will try to parlay their recent success into gains in recruiting. The early signing period begins Wednesday.
Tulane has made incremental improvement over a three-year period, winning four, five and now seven games.
New coordinator Will Hall, who was brought in to give the offense additional energy, had to like what he saw in the Cure Bowl as the Green Wave rushed for 337 yards.
Tulane not only needs to continue to play winning football, but exciting football as the school attempts to sell personal seat licenses for the 2019 season.
Of course, sustained success in football has been an elusive grab for the Green Wave.
In Tulane’s eight bowl appearances since 1970, the following season has been a losing sone seven times.
Only twice, after a nine-win season in 1979 and a seven-win season in 1980, did the Green Wave post a winning record the following year.
Several of those instances included head coaching changes.
In 1970, Jim Pittman led the Green Wave to the Liberty Bowl but departed for TCU. He was followed by Bennie Ellender.
Larry Smith departed after the 1979 team reached the Liberty Bowl and was followed by Vince Gibson.
In 1987, Mack Brown guided the Green Wave to the Independence Bowl, only to leave for North Carolina and be replaced by Greg Davis.
In 1998, Tommy Bowden left for Clemson after the final regular season game to be replaced by Chris Scelfo.
What Tulane has now is something not known for much of the school’s football history. That is coaching stability.
Head coach Willie Fritz is signed through 2023. He likes it here, and they like him.
You can’t say that many times about a certain football program Uptown.
So, what is Tulane’s next step?
Reaching the conference championship would certainly be a great barrier to leap. More importantly, a signature win might carry as much clout.
Central Florida, winners of 25 straight, is back on the Tulane schedule in 2019. The slate also includes a trip to Auburn.
To be the man, you have to beat the man. That’s the next step, after a year of significant progress for the Green Wave.
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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…