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2018

Tulane

College Football

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Tulane probably should’ve been in a bowl game last year, but two close losses to Cincy and SMU left the Green Wave with a 5-7 record. They’ll hope to get that extra win this season, which should be in the cards with quarterback Jonathan Banks expected to have a better overall year after coming on late in 2017. Still, the bookmakers are wary, and opened Tulane with an over/under of 5.5 wins at 5Dimes Sportsbook and +4000 odds to win the AAC.

Banks closed last season with 200-plus passing yards in four of his final six games to go with 592 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns for the year. The assumption is that he can continue to progress with his arm, while remaining a threat on the ground. That’s possible because all of the Green Wave’s top receivers are back from standout Terren Encalade (730 yards, 4 TDs) to Darnell Mooney and Jabril Clewis. Even with some new faces on the left side of the line, the group isn’t expected to take a step back. Running back will be fine, as well, with Darius Bradwell (411 yards) taking up a bigger role and Texas Tech transfer Corey Dauphine in the mix. This group scored 27.5 points per game last year and should be close to the 30-point mark in 2018 if all goes well.

The bigger question is on the defensive side that could take a step back with only four starters returning. The Wave gave up a brutal 210 rushing yards per game and return no one relevant on the line with three underclassmen set to start. There are seniors throughout the group that will be relied upon, but they’ll all need to step up. Donnie Lewis slots into the top cornerback role with linebacker Zachary Harris and safety Roderic Teamer needed for bigger seasons. This group got exploited numerous times last year and ended up costing the team a bowl game as seen in the finale, a 41-38 loss to SMU. 

To reach a bowl game, Tulane has to steal a game against Wake or UAB because the trip to Columbus isn’t going to end well. If the Wave can get two non-conference wins, that means only four AAC wins are needed. Unfortunately, outside of the home game against ECU, nothing will be guaranteed for them unless Banks really takes a big step forward. The defense could have problems against every offense in the conference. The best spots for road wins are the trips to Cincy and Tulsa. Tulane may have a better offense than a year ago with a more experienced Banks, but after losing key AAC games last season, it’ll be hard to bet on the Green Wave to turn their fortunes, especially if the defense takes a step back from a subpar year. Willie Fritz has Tulane going in the right direction, but until the defense comes around, it’ll be hard to project a bowl game for the Wave.  

 

2018 Tulane Green Wave Football Schedule

Aug. 30 vs. Wake Forest

Sept. 8 vs. Nicholls State

Sept. 15 at UAB

Sept. 22 at Ohio State

Sept. 28 vs. Memphis

Oct. 6 at Cincinnati

Oct. 20 vs. SMU

Oct. 27 at Tulsa

Nov. 3 at South Florida

Nov. 10 vs. East Carolina

Nov. 15 at Houston

Nov. 24 vs. Navy

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