Where were you September 6, 1980? Can’t remember? Well shame on you because that was the last time Tulane was on ABC’s airwaves. The Green Wave blew a 14-0 lead to a Southern Miss team that ended the season with a 9-3 record and a Independence Bowl title in a 17-14 loss. The winning score came on a clutch kick by Winston Walker with 31 seconds to go.
The Green Wave ended the year with a 7-5 record in a season that ended in a 34-15 loss to Arkansas in the Hall of Fame Bowl (now Outback Bowl!) in Birmingham. It is safe to say that much has changed since that ABC regional game. Yet arguably the change has been for the better for Tulane, and in a broader scope the AAC.
The compiling circumstances of the pandemic, the American’s rise, and Tulane’s location in one of the South’s biggest markets has brought them and the conference to this point. Not to mention Navy’s lasting brand power, even after a 55-3 loss to BYU on national TV.
This represents a milestone for both the conference and Tulane. For the American to get a conference game to compete against Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff game is a big statement. This is different from most of the conference’s prior network TV appearances as there is no Power 5 school to “anchor” or “justify” the appearance.
Additionally, it is encouraging it is not the usual suspects in UCF, Memphis, or Cincinnati, getting this appearance, but rather a team that is emerging in the deep 11-team league. Even Navy has tallied few ABC spots in their time in the league, only notching two since 2015, versus Houston in 2015 and in the AAC Title Game the next year.
For Tulane, it’s just another sign of the great job Willie Fritz has done in the Big Easy. If the two consecutive bowl victories or his extension to the 2026 season failed to get your attention, hopefully this will.
This Saturday, grab a Po’ Boy and your favorite Bacon Wave hat and enjoy the moment. Many Green Wave legends worked hard, whether it be King, Ramsey, Losman, Forte, but none experienced the glamour of being on ABC.