Tulane Green Wave at Army Black Knights
Location: Michie Stadium (West Point, New York)
Date: Saturday, November 14
Time: 11 a.m. CT
TV: CBS Sports Network
Records: Tulane 2-7; Army 2-7
Betting Line: Army -2.5 (O/U - 44)
All-Time Series: Tied 9-9-1
Last Meeting: Army 45, Tulane 6 (October 1, 2011)
When Tulane put together its 2015 schedule, the powers-that-be had to notice a trend.
And no, it's not that a bunch of losses would pile up — seven through nine games and five in a row, to be exact.
Out of the 12 games the Green Wave would play this season, three would be against teams that run an option offense — Army, Georgia Tech and Navy. No small feat, figuring only five teams in the FBS still use the flexbone as its base attack (Air Force and Georgia Southern are the others).
Tulane got two of those games out of the way early (Georgia Tech and Navy) and proved that repetition is the best teacher.
The Green Wave failed its first test miserably and justifiably so. Tulane wasn't prepared in the slightest and the Yellow Jackets gashed Curtis Johnson's team for 439 yards in a 65-10 romp.
After hitting the books harder the second time around, the Green Wave improved by leaps and bounds. Tulane took away the dive, delivered some punishing hits and held the Midshipmen to a season-low 133 rushing yards.
Each game provided the Green Wave with a new wrinkle to add to the game plan. This week Tulane faces the Black Knights in West Point.
"We learned a lot from Georgia Tech to Navy, and I hope we can learn a little bit more from Navy to Army and bring home a victory," Johnson told the media during his weekly luncheon. "I’m excited about playing the option and seeing our guys play, because they played well against Navy, and this a tough Army team."
Here's the difference between the Black Knights and say, the Midshipmen: Army's rushing attack isn't as good — and is more in line with the Yellow Jackets'. Navy is ranked third nationally, while Georgia Tech and the Black Knights are eighth and ninth, respectively.
If the Green Wave defense plays about as well as it did at Navy — or even last week when it shut out UConn — Tulane should win its third game. Then again, that's reliant on the offense — which is horrendous — scoring points.
Johnson, though, has called this game a must-win.
"We have to finish strong, so I can at least sleep a little bit," Johnson said. "We have to win this one, and you take it one game at time. We have to go up to West Point, and we have to win this weekend, then we will talk about SMU and Tulsa after that."
Something has got to give, right? Will the third time be the charm for Tulane? I sincerely doubt it, because I don't trust the Green Wave's offense one bit. Expect another valiant effort by the defense, but another tough loss. Army 10, Tulane 6.