Daunting schedule to provide litmus test for Tulane

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Tulane QB Michael Pratt
(Photo: Parker Waters)

Pardon the pun, but Saturday, September 4th will be a red-letter day for the ABC affiliate in New Orleans.

We at WGNO-TV will be televising the Oklahoma Sooners at Yulman Stadium against the Tulane Green Wave.

It is a hugely anticipated opener for the Green Wave, who have played in three consecutive bowl games under head coach Willie Fritz.

Tulane has a lot going for it.

Dynamic running back Tyjae Spears is expected back to full form after a serious knee injury he suffered in the second quarter of last year’s win at Southern Miss.

Another talented running back, Cam Carroll, had 741 rush yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.

Both will run behind an experienced offensive line.

Plus, Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt is back for his first full year as a starter.

Pratt, who seized the job early in last season, threw 20 touchdown passes and rushed for eight more as a true freshman.

All of that is very encouraging for the Olive and Blue crew.

Yet, when the college football win totals were released in Las Vegas, Tulane’s was at five.

You can bet the over or the under.

For a program that can now be categorized as consistently solid, the total appears low.

Until you look at the 2021 schedule, that is.

Oklahoma’s preseason win total is 11. Expected my many to make the College Football Playoff, the Sooners are among the seven teams on Tulane’s 2021 schedule upon which oddsmakers have placed a preseason win total of 7.5 or more.

Ole Miss and UAB are at 7.5.

Houston’s win total is 8.

Memphis has a win total of 8.5.

UCF’s wins total is 9.5.

Cincinnati has a win total of 10.

Two more 2021 opponents, Tulsa and SMU, also have higher win totals than the Green Wave.

Only two teams on Tulane’s schedule have lower win totals. They are South Florida and East Carolina.

Despite a very solid nucleus returning and a potential star at quarterback, the Wave could be the underdog in at least a half dozen games or more.

FYI, Morgan State, an FCS school, was not assigned a preseason win total by the Vegas shops.

A winning season from the Green Wave in 2021 could be the program’s most impressive one since 1979.

That year, Tulane won nine games. Included in that season were wins over Boston College, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and three ranked teams.

The 1979 Wave defeated #13 Stanford, #18 LSU and #19 SMU.

The 2021 Tulane football schedule is intriguing, tough, and loaded with plenty of opportunities to impress.

At 11 a.m. on September 4, Tulane will get a litmus test right off the bat.

Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler was the second Sooners quarterback ever to be on the Football Writers Association of America All-Freshman Team.

The other was Sam Bradford.

So if you wanted the Wave to play an attractive schedule, here it is.

Just how much good is Tulane football?

We are about to find out.

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Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

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…

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