Last Thursday night, the Green Wave and the Houston Cougars treated us all to perhaps the best game of this season’s college football slate up to this point. If you like offense, long plays and a whole lot of drama, that was the one for you.
It took Willie Fritz’s Tulane squad every bit of grit, tenacity and magic it could muster up to earn the 38-31 victory over division foe Houston but by golly the Wave did it and now they sit at a lofty 3-1 perch atop the AAC West. Yulman Stadium experienced the highest of highs and I’m sure several still haven’t come down from it.
Fret not, they’ll have some extended time to do so.
The Green Wave enters their bye week that comes in September for the first time since 2017 and... while it is early... it’s exactly what the team needs right now.
During Fritz’s four-year tenure with the Wave, Tulane has not fared well immediately following their most emotional wins. Last year, the Greenies shocked Memphis with a 40-24 beatdown under the prime-time Friday night lights only to crumble in Cincinnati just a week later. In 2017, after upsetting Houston at home in a Saturday nightcap, Tulane went on to suffer their most heartbreaking loss in the Fritz era to SMU. That goal-line defeat, of course, kept the Wave out of a possible bowl berth.
Simply put, it’s hard to come down from such a high and continue to play at a competitive level both mentally and physically. The curtain call is never easy.
Coming out of an off week, though, Fritz’s Wave have done much better. In 2016 Tulane beat Louisiana-Lafayette after four overtime periods and that was right after a bye. You’ve got to believe that if they hadn’t had an extra week of rest and prep, they couldn’t have hung around for that much bonus football.
A year later, the Wave thumped Tulsa 62-28 after their bye. Yes, we know it was just Tulsa but dropping 60+ on anyone is always a good day at the office.
So, the fact that the Green Wave are given their bye week right after their heart-stopping win over another formidable conference rival is nothing but good news. Besides, the team will need every extra second of preparation it can get as Army awaits. This is a Black Knights squad that is also 3-1 thus far and that only loss was in 2OT to Michigan. There’s a tough one just ahead.
Thank goodness for that bye week.