VEGAS ODDS:  TULANE (-7)  vs. S. MISSISSIPPI  ~  TOTAL: (56 1/2)


S. MISS OFFENSE (#59) ~ (122 RUSH, 289 PASSING)  vs.  TULANE DEFENSE (#55) ~ (165 RUSH, 214 PASS allowed)

TULANE OFFENSE (#24) ~ (250 RUSH, 205 PASS)  vs.  S. MISS DEFENSE (#37) ~ (112 RUSH, 239 PASS allowed)

Well folks bragging rights will be on the line as two teams separated by just 111 miles will be facing off in the Armed Service Bowl in Ft. Worth, Texas where the weather should be really nice. On one side we have S. Mississippi that either wins big or loses big, nothing in between at all. I don’t recall ever seeing these type splits. Only one of 7 wins by less than 2 TD’s and all 5 losses by no less than 15 points. WTF?  Tulane somewhat same as all 6 wins by TD or more and 3 losses by 17 or more. Tulane did lose close games to very solid Offensive Teams Central Florida and Navy, both by just 3 points each. They struggled mightily by High Octane Offenses, allowing C. Florida 34 points, Navy 41 points, Memphis 47 points and SMU 37 points. Luckily for Tulane they have an Offense that can also light the scoreboard up, scoring 31 points or more eight games and 38 points or more five times. S. Mississippi allowed 38, 42, 49, 45 and 34 points to basically the five very good Offenses they faced. Now they face one of the best Passing teams in the country. 

S. Mississippi averages 28 points per game and allows 256 points per game. Tulane averages 33 points per game and allows 27 points per game. Tulane Offense is much more balanced and one of the better rush units in the country. Tulane is very deep in running backs who offset the heavy load QB McMillan uses rushing the ball (704 rush yards and 12 Rush TD’s). 

In the 5 Losses by S. Miss, they allowed 28 points or more each loss. In Tulane’s final 5 games they allowed 37.6 points per game. In the past 5 Armed Forces Bowl games there were at least 65 points per game, with the winner scoring at least 40 points in each of the five.  Tulane started red hot (5-1) before going (1-5) in it’s final 6. 

I feel S. Miss QB J. Abraham is very capable of a big game from a clearly fading Tulane Defense, as he’s completed 67% of his passes for 3, 329 yards and a solid (8.7) yards per attempt. He did pass for 18 TD’s but he’s another risky gunslinger with 15 Interceptions. Tulane’s QB McMillan is also a risk taker with his 10 interceptions very costly, especially in the close losses.

Let’s face it, these teams had extra time to prepare and likely throw in some wrinkles on Offense. Tulane normally runs it 75% of time but they aren’t likely to have their way vs. S Miss Defense that allows only 112 rushing yards per game. S. Miss does give up some big Plays on Defense and McMillan does have a strong arm to possibly catch them off guard once the run game is going well. 

I think both teams come to play since this is a rivalry type game and bragging rights and a chance for both to end season on high notes and we shouldn’t get a dud here. The NFL Playoffs may dominate the weekend but this game may be the most exciting of the 3 Football games on Saturday. The key really is which team turns the ball over less? 

Tulane’s Offense scored 39x inside the red zone in 44 trips, with 33 TD’s. S. Miss Offense scored 34x in 40 red zone trips, with 19 TD’s. Clear FG edge in a close game goes to S. Miss whose Kicker has 15 FG’s this season, compared to just 6 for Tulane. S. Miss Defense only allowed 32 red zone trips the entire season, whereas Tulane’s Defense allowed 47 red zone chances. 

S. Mississippi Offense has played 5 Overs and 6 Unders and Tulane has played 6 Overs and 6 Unders. 

This game should be a fun start to the weekend. Here’s to hoping all your weekend wagers are WINNING ones.

Gary Greene