Destroyer of Worlds: SMU Mustangs take on the Tulane Green Wave

Southern Methodist (3-4, 1-2) v Tulane (3-4, 0-3)

October 29th, 3:00 PM CST at Yulman Stadium

You Can Watch This Game On: ESPN News

Wagering (more commonly known as SINNING!): Tulane -3, 54.4% FPI SMU

Live look at the University of Houston
Live look at the University of Houston

After having its Playoff dreams sunk by Navy, and then being publicly shamed by the Big XII’s expansion “snipe hunt”, you might have thought that the Mustangs would have had a little sympathy for Houston. YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE OUR G5 SAVIOR, COUGS! But nope. In fact, SMU was the only team on the field who remembered that there were still games left in the season, re-destroying the Cougars 38-16.

The win against #11 Houston is the only conference win between Tulane and SMU. Out of conference, both teams haven’t been awful. SMU is probably still getting free drinks in Denton after besting North Texas to open the season, though the 7-3 dental appointment to Wake Forrest will likely haunt Tulane forever.

When Last These Titans Met

Tulane and SMU first met in 1943 (12-6, Tulane), but have only faced each other 21 more times since. At the last meeting, Chad Morris clobbered the Wave 49-21 in Dallas behind 3 touchdowns from Xavier Jones. That was Tulane’s 8th loss of the 2015 season, and probably contributed to Curtis Johnson’s dismissal at season’s end.

What’s up with the new Wave?

The Green Wave hired Willie Fritz from Georgia Southern during the off season, so it’s no surprise that Tulane ranks a healthy 3rd in the American (and 16th nationally) for rushing. You don’t hire Fritz for an air raid. The Green Wave have three running backs who are averaging greater than 5.5 yards per carry (led by Josh Rounds’ robust 6.5 yards per tote), and a QB  (Glen Cuiellette) who is still 350 yards shy of breaking 1,000 yards passing. Tulane is Georgia Southern South.

Fritz isn’t doing bad on defense, either, with Total D ranked a solid 34th in the nation. It’s in the Red Zone, where Tulane gets soft, surrendering scores 92% of the time. Still, the Green Wave is a fairly balanced team. Somehow, the win column indicates weakness.

Are the Mustangs’ for reals, yo?

SMU looked incredible (especially on defense) during its first half with TCU, only to disintegrate before our eyes during the second half. The Mustangs seem like a team that can’t quite play 60 minutes. As the OC for Clemson, Chad Morris became the big name to hire in 2014, and it was a bit of a coup for Southern Methodist to land him in 2014. A 2-10 season in 2015 wasn’t a great start, nor is the current 3-4 start to this season. But beating Houston (while avoiding a loss to in-state rival North Texas) goes a long way for staying the course.

On paper, SMU is weaker on defense (92nd) than Tulane, but the Mustangs collected seven sacks on Houston’s Greg Ward last week, and they’re second in the American for INTs (13). SMU may give up 30 points per game, but the defense will make plays – if it coaxes the opposition to pass. The Mustangs are ranked 75th against the run, which isn’t great news when you’re Facing The Fritz.

Tell us the future, nerd!

Dumping more sad onto Houston is a fine feather in the Mustangs’ saddle, but Tulane’s ground grind is a different animal to break. Willie Fritz’s bunch had trouble with Louisiana and are winless in conference, but expect the Green Wave to slowly drown SMU in New Orleans.

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