Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Barnhouse's Bottom 25: Tulane

Legendary sportswriter Wendell Barnhouse recently left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is now a correspondent for Big 12 With 30 years experience of observing the college scene, his expertise is unmatched. In the spirit of Steve Harvey's Bottom Ten, Wendell will provide us a capsule look at college football's less fortunate, counting down the Bottom 25 teams in Division I-A football.

No. 11 Tulane
Location: New Orleans.
Nickname: Green Wave.
Conference: Conference USA, West Division.
Coach: Bob Toledo, 4-8 in one season, 82-46 overall in 14 seasons.
Division I-A history: 482-555-38 in 114 seasons, .466 winning percentage.
Last bowl season: 2002.
Best record last five years: 5-6 in 2004.
Rank(ed) because: Considering this program's home city is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, putting Tulane in the Bottom 25 smacks of cruel and unusual punishment. But the Green Wave has always struggled to survive. Tulane's defense has made winning as difficult as surviving — over the last five seasons, the team has never given up fewer than 31.3 points per game.
Negative numbers: 115 and 114. That's where Tulane was nationally ranked, respectively, in punt returns and kickoff returns. The special teams just weren't special.
Possible victory: Louisiana Monroe on Sept. 20. This Sun Belt Conference foe won't be a pushover but this is a nonconference home game the Green Wave should win.
Biggest blowout: At Alabama, Sept. 6. For the second consecutive season, Tulane isn't playing on the first weekend of the season. Opening on the road in Tuscaloosa against a Crimson Tide team that's already played a game (against Clemson) is a losing combination.
Is there hope?: Toledo has proven to be a winner and he is concentrating on in-state recruiting. Tulane won two of its last three games and three of last season's losses were by five or fewer points. Tulane can improve and move above .500 ... just don't expect any 12-0 seasons like 1998.

Thanks to the Helmet Project.

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