Saints, LSU and Tulane collectively are in their greatest era ever
NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Saints are in sole possession of first place in the NFC South.
The LSU Tigers are undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the country.
The Tulane Green Wave are 5-1, ranked No. 26 in the country and tied for first place in the American Athletic Conference West Division.
These are unprecedented times for the three football teams of most interest to the Crescent City.
This all started last season when the Saints went 13-3 in the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs, LSU went 10-3 after a bowl win and Tulane went 7-6 after a bowl win. The combined 31 victories are the most ever in a single season for the threesome.
Things have been trending this way. The Saints have won the NFC South each of the last two seasons and they won a playoff game each of those seasons.
The Tigers won nine games two years ago before advancing to a New Year’s Six bowl for the first time last season.
The Green Wave narrowly missed being bowl eligible two years ago before reaching the six-win threshold last season.
And this season is looking even better for the threesome.
Here are some more details, courtesy of stats guru Drew Porche (@TalentStats):
The previous high for victories before last season was 28 in 1987, which produced the highest winning percentage (.731 compared to .705 in 2018).
Both marks could be in danger this season since the teams are 16-2 (.889), including 6-0 in October. September of 1998 is the only month between September, October and November (the months in which all three play most of the time) in which all three have gone undefeated (9-0).
The record for most wins in a month is 11 (October, 1973). This group has six more games in October so they can set a new standard for wins in a month.
The threesome have all won in the same week 59 times in 53 years, including three times this season.
This is just the seventh year in which they have all won in the same week three times, with the four occasions in 2002 and 2013 being the high-water mark.
The success this season is especially interesting because LSU is doing it primarily with its passing offense and the Saints are doing it primarily because of their defense, especially since Drew Brees was sidelined by a thumb injury suffered in the second game of the season.
The changes in personality suggest these teams’ success will have staying power.
The Tigers have scored 40-plus points in the first six games of a season for the first time in school history. They did the same in the final three games of last season, marking just the 13th time in college football history that a school has scored 40-plus points in nine straight games.
The Green Wave also have been accumulating significant numbers on offense. They have scored 38 or more points in five games already, which is second only to the nine times that the undefeated 1998 team reached that plateau.
Two of the Saints’ wins during their current four-game winning streak have been a 12-10 triumph against Dallas and a 13-6 victory against Jacksonville. The 1992 Saints are the only New Orleans team to win more than twice in the same season while scoring 13 or fewer points. That team did it three times.
There is a long way to go and significant challenges ahead for all three teams.
But right now we are experiencing the best era of football collectively for the Saints, LSU and Tulane.
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Les East is a nationally renowned freelance journalist. His blog on SportsNOLA.com was named “Best Sports Blog” in 2016 by the Press Club of New Orleans. For 2013 he was named top sports columnist in the United States by the Society of Professional Journalists and Louisiana Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. You can follow…