Loss at Tulsa jarring but not devastating for improving Tulane program
As losses go, this may have been one of the worst in recent memory for Tulane football.
Blowing a 14-0 fourth quarter lead to lose to a team down its third-string quarterback was a bad look, especially on national television.
But that Tulsa team was ranked 25th in the nation. They were not exactly chopped liver.
Neither is Tulane.
The Green Wave, aiming for its fourth straight win, had plenty of chances.
Leading by two scores and driving, Tulane could ill afford a late hit penalty on an offensive lineman.
Instead of 2nd and two at the Tulsa 39, Tulane soon punted after being assessed a 15-yard penalty.
Later, Tulsa converted a fourth and 13, thanks to a missed tackle in space. If the receiver is pulled down, Tulane gets the ball and runs more clock.
Then there was the Hail Mary. For the Tulsa receiver to get behind the defense in the back of the end zone is inexplicable, but it happened.
If Tulane’s football team wants a reference point on inexplicable, all they need to do is check out the NFL team that shares the same city. Over the last three seasons, the Saints have won 37 regular season games, most in the NFL.
They have also exited the NFL playoffs in those years with heartbreaking losses.
Let’s see, there’s the Minnesota Miracle, the NOLA no-call and January’s loss at home to the Vikings when the Saints were more than a touchdown favorite.
Two of those defeats are so hard to comprehend, they have the infamous nicknames.
In all three of those instances, the best team didn’t win.
So, what do the Saints do each offseason?
Well, the front office looks for ways to improve personnel, the coaches coach, the players prepare and the whistle blows on another season.
Despite all of those massive disappointments, the Saints play on.
This season, despite a rash of injuries, the Saints have won six in a row going into Sunday’s home game against Atlanta.
On Saints Drive, the culture (I don’t particularly care for that word, but it applies here) is all about winning. The pursuit to get wins is dogged.
The Chicago Cubs were supposedly baseball’s version of lovable losers.
But, then they signed free agent pitcher Jon Lester, traded for Anthony Rizzo, and drafted Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Kyle Schwarber.
Four years ago, the Cubs won the World Series.
So, the notion that Tulane is somehow mired in mediocrity is unfounded.
When you get the right coach and you get enough of the right players on board, you win.
The Wave doesn’t have that kind of talent, but the program has more good players then they have had in a long time.
Their talented true freshman quarterback, Michael Pratt, is learning on the job, and their best player, explosive running back Tyjae Spears, is out for the season with a knee injury.
Tulane still has a chance to win seven games for three consecutive seasons, a feat that hasn’t happened since the Wave’s Rose Bowl team in 1931 went 11-1.
The three-year cumulative win total from 1929 to 1931 was 28.
Bad losses happen to the best of teams. At Tulane, the doom and gloomers are back. If you listen to them, all is lost.
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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…