Bob Toledo enters his fifth year at Tulane with a record of 13-35. Last year he went just 4-8 but there is optimism left in New Orleans. Tulane has had some harsh history similar to Rice as the Green Wave have only gone to two bowl games since ’88 and only five bowl games since ’79.
Give it up to Toledo though who went through something as a coach that nearly no coach goes through. Back in ’05 with Hurricane Katrina wiped out the Louisiana Superdome (Tulane’s Stadium) things were never the same.
Toldeo said that playing at home a year later after the natural disaster was going like to practice. There was seemingly no atmosphere and it practically was silent.
How’s this for a trivia question that would get nearly every person on the planet stumped: Name the only Tulane coach to ever record back to back winning seasons? Unless you answered Tommy Bowden (’97-‘98) you would be wrong.
After Bowden, Buddy Teevens, Greg Davis, and the current Longhorns head coach and Friday Night Lights cameo man himself Mack Brown have all coached the Green Wave. Those four only combined to go 54-103 which just goes to show you how difficult it is to win here.
Tulane has not avoided a losing season in Conference USA since 2002 when they went 4-4. They seemingly lose five-six games every year just in conference which does not count the two-three non-conference games they lose.
They have six back on offense and return both their QB and RB which is certainly positive.
Their RB may be one of the most underrated players in America. Orleans Darkwa (5’11, 200): remember that name because he is coming off a 925 yard and 11 TD campaign in his freshmen season.
Ryan Griffin is back under center and should only get better.
Ryan Grant and Joe Kemp (former QB) are decent receivers, but the depth and overall talent is fairly weak in this department. The Green Wave were 66th in total offense averaging 373 YPG. This offense should improve if they get better fortune and avoid the injury bug, something they could not avoid last year.
The defense was weak as usual ranking 74th in total defense (390 YPG), 101st in run defense (195 YPG) and 28th against the pass (194 YPG).
The two best performers on defense are former transfers. Former Iowa Hawkeye DE Dezman Moses is the top returnee among sacks (6) and is the lone man who puts relentless pressure on the opposition up front.
Don’t forget about the former Dukie at MLB either. MLB Trent Mackey had 124 tackles a season ago which was 34 more than the next best returnee.
The schedule is fairly easy, but the road woes in conference play will continue. Anything more than a 4-4 season in C-USA would be almost unimaginable.
Darkwa could be the next Matt Forte or Mewelde Moore going to the NFL, but for now they don’t have enough studs on defense to outmatch last year’s 4-8 record.
Predicted Finish: 4-8, 3-5
Predicted Bowl: None
Predicted order of finish in C-USA: Fifth in West, in Ninth C-USA