Posted: 5:53 pm Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Tech opponent preview: Tulane 

By Ken Sugiura

The second in a series of blog posts taking a look at Georgia Tech’s opponents this season, courtesy of writers covering those teams. We’ll put the Tulane Green Wave under the microscope today. The teams will play Sept. 6 in New Orleans. Analysis is provided by Tammy Nunez, Tulane beat writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and NOLA.com. You can read her stuff here and follow her on Twitter here. Many thanks to Tammy.

Tulane

Record in 2013: 7-6

Conference: American Athletic (Tulane left Conference USA this summer)

Sagarin rating in 2013: 91

Semi-interesting fact: Tulane’s men’s basketball team was the first opponent to play in Tech’s McCamish Pavilion in November 2012. Tech’s football team will return the favor when Tulane opens Yulman Stadium. Not only that, but when Tech’s softball team opened Shirley Mewborn Field in 2009, it was against, you guessed it – Tennessee-Martin.

Tulane against the ACC in recent years: 52-17 loss to Syracuse in 2013, 48-27 loss to Duke in 2011.

Q: Tulane seems like a place that can either hire coaches that have been fired from bigger schools (Bob Toledo) or up-and-comers who won’t stay long (Tommy Bowden and, I confess I didn’t realize this, Mack Brown). What’s your gut on how Curtis Johnson (formerly a New Orleans Saints assistant hired before the 2012 season) will work out?

A: Johnson is intriguing because he had never been a head coach before nor even a coordinator. It made his selection seem like a bold choice to those outside Johnson’s coaching and players circle. Johnson was a heavy-hitting recruiter when he was an assistant for the national champion Miami Hurricanes—so Tulane knew he could bring in talent. But his ability to manage a program overall and guide it to success was a big question mark.

But his first year answered all questions for me. One of his players was paralyzed from the neck down by a blow in game at Tulsa. His team was evacuated to Birmingham during a hurricane. His best linebacker was arrested before fall camp for armed robbery. He navigated the team and program through all of that and had the Green Wave in its first bowl game since 2002 by the following season.

My instinct is he is a perfect fit for the rising program and it will take enough time for him to build the program up that he won’t be a flight risk—particularly after his salary upgrade in the offseason to the tune of  about $1.5 million a year.

Q: What, to you, is particularly noteworthy about the new stadium, and is it going to be completed on time?

A: The new stadium has an extremely intimate feel— the stands are lower to the ground and closer to the sidelines than the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s. It gives the venue a more college football feel instead of the pro feeling of a big dome. The sight lines are outstanding but it is a small facility with a 30,000 capacity.

Q: What is moving to the American Athletic Conference expected to do for Tulane? And is there a segment of the fan base (like with Tech) that rues the day the school left the SEC?

A: The biggest impact for Tulane on the new conference is increased television exposure. All of Tulane’s football games will be televised and all its men’s basketball conference games will be TV as well. There were approximately three or four TV games in the regular season for the men’s basketball program last season. The TV package won’t net Tulane a huge increase in payout, but the combination of increased exposure and payouts from the AAC from the NCAA basketball tournament will provide a significant boost to the Green Wave.

Q: Does having Georgia Tech at home move the meter much for Tulane fans?

A: Absolutely. Fans went crazy when it looked like the game might get dropped because of construction concerns with Tulane’s new stadium. It is supremely important for Tulane to play a nationally known opponent on its first football game on campus in 40 years. Georgia Tech puts legs on Tulane’s schedule and gives fans the nationally respected launch for a new era of Tulane football home games.

Q: What are one or two reasons for Tech fans to worry that Tulane can pull the upset, and what are one or two reasons to not be concerned?

A: To me the answer could be the same on both sides. Tulane will likely end up starting Tanner Lee at quarterback – a redshirt freshman who has not take a college snap. His trajectory is immense as a tall, lanky, sure-firing armed passer with superior mental makeup. He is backed by an arsenal of little heard of but heavily talented running backs like redshirt freshman Sherman Badie and fullback Robert Kelley. Along with Lorenzo Doss—who is already filling up his preseason watchlist card— returning to the Green Wave secondary, Tulane certainly has talent for upsets including against the Yellow Jackets.

But just how big of a jump can some of these inexperienced players make in such short time? That’s where Georgia Tech can take advantage. Tulane’s starting lineup is still riddled with younger players with little college experience. I imagine that if Georgia Tech came out and scored quickly and played physically, the young Tulane bunch would have trouble responding.

Tech opponent previews

Wofford, Aug. 30

53 comments
BSNBC
BSNBC

Who knew Tecch still plays football!

GTDude
GTDude

This is the one OOC game that I am actually looking forward to.  We will be there in person helping break in the new stadium and having a celebratory hurricane after the game.

Woofer
Woofer

The Green Tsunami will wash over the Humble Bumbles!

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

I'd be shocked if Tulane upset GT.

But I said the same thing about MTSU.  Tulane does have some big boys on their OL.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

So let me get this straight.

Tech follows up Wofford with Tulane? :(

Tech fans deserve better!

This is outrageous!

Y'all blame it all on D-Rad(cause he bolted for Clemson) -- so what was the thought process?

Why feel the need a couple yrs into PJs regime to schedule patsies?

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@BSNBC

You apparently did, or you wouldn't be trolling out boards making a fool out of yourself with stupid comments like that.  Obsess much, bubba?

BearCasey
BearCasey

@Woofer  Comments like this mean nothing unless you are willing put money on it.  I'll take GT straight up for $1,000.  Get back to me.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@Woofer 

Well, isn't that just the most clever thing you've ever read.  Did they teach you little witticisms like that in the cesspool?  Boy, our tax dollars are really being well spent, aren't they? TROLL ON !!!

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

@BigCrimson75 

Meanwhile, Alabama opens up against national powerhouse West Virginia.  Then follows up with 2014's dark hoarse, Florida Atlantic.  Then get you popcorn ready as they go to war with Southern Miss who is riding their longest win streak since the 2011 season............1.  Did I forget to mention all three games are at home??? 

GaTechOldTimer
GaTechOldTimer

@BigCrimson75

Ask Mike Bobinski the "new" Tech AD. It was either he or DRad who did the scheduling - NOT CPJ. But then I've told you this before and you still don't get it. CPJ's job isn't to schedule teams - just show up and play them. 


So, let me get this straight.


2008 - Alabama plays Tulane and follows up with the mighty Western Kentucky :(


2009 - Alabama plays three power houses - FIU, North Texas and Chattanooga :(


2010 - Alabama plays power houses San Jose State and Georgia State :(


2011 - Alabama plays power houses Kent State and Georgia Southern :(


2012 - Alabama plays power houses Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic :(


2013 - Alabama plays power houses Georgia State and Chattanooga :( 


Bama fans deserve better!


This is outrageous!


Y'all blame it on your AD - so what's the thought process?


Why feel the need a few years into NS's regime to schedule patsies?


If you're the bad a$$ of college football - prove it EVERY game. Stop scheduling patsies!!

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@BigCrimson75 

You don't think it is equally outrageous for Bama to play Florida Atlantic one week and Southern Miss the next.  And then to play Western Carolina late in the season?  Are you really that hypocritical?  Why does a NC contender feed the need to schedule patsies?

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@BigCrimson75 

Could be worse - GT could be playing Florida Atlantic and Western Carolina as home games.  Western Carolina has averaged just over 1 win a year in the last 5 years - sure to be a tough game for the Tide..

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@BigCrimson75

Exactly.  I don't see anything really positive about playing the game.  If we win, so what?  If we lose, huge Buzz kill to start the season.

One thing for sure...VT in Blacksburg will probably feel like we're playing The Baltimore Ravens after Wofford, Tulane and Ga. Southern.

Short answer to your question:  The game will likely be necessary to get us bowl eligible and keep Johnson for another year.

GTLee
GTLee

At least the moron got the BS part of his name right.....

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

@BearCasey @Woofer  "straight up"!!!

That's the cowards way out.

Let's bet the spread -- I'll get back to you on that any time.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

OldTimer -- Our conference games are littered with top 5, top 10, top 15-20 teams all of which will be fighting for Bowl Games.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

SuperSize --- Yea but we gotta suit up against LSU, Auburn, UT, Fla, A&M, Ole Miss, Missy St......that's a group of natl title contenders & fringe top 15-20 teams. Plus WVU!

Our SoS takes a backseat to few.

Jmonty
Jmonty

No using the spread is a cowards way out.  If you say a team is going to upset the other, that's a straight up win.  But, I seriously doubt that anyone is honorable enough to pay up.  So it's a moot point.

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

@BigCrimson75 

When they were playing in the Big Least, sure they were.  Since they moved to the Big 12, mediocre at best.

GaTechOldTimer
GaTechOldTimer

@BigCrimson75


I thought the topic of discussion was scheduling patsies - not which teams play other teams ranked in the top 20. Make up your mind. Don't get caught losing the original argument and then shift the focus of discussion to something entirely different trying to save face.


By the way - sorry to be the bearer of bad news - I just heard that Alabama had to cancel their drivers training course for the 2014 school year. The MULE died!

jquick5342
jquick5342

@BigCrimson75 Your conference games are littered with out of shape Bama players gasping as they watch opponents fly down the field. Got a second?

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@BigCrimson75 

Usually - not so much this year.  I guess it can't be helped that your traditional rival in the East has fallen on hard times.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@BigCrimson75 As i have said more than once, take your "like" buddy BHam Jacket and go watch some old Bama games or something. GT will be fine without you.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

@jquick5342 @BigCrimson75  Once in a millennia play. I'm glad it happened. We can't win every year. It's necessary to give the less fortunate "Hope" occasionally.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Paulie -- Everyday the Vols spend in hell is a great day! :)

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@gtcaryd @BigCrimson75

What Alabama and others do with their schedules is completely irrelevant.  Alabama also has admission standards far below that of Georgia Tech and easy majors for their players.  Why don't we follow suit there also so we aren't at such a competitive disadvantage?

I hope there are enough Tech fans like myself that have told the representatives from the AD who call asking for $ offering more season tickets the same thing I tell them:  GET THE CUPCAKES OFF THE SCHEDULE.  If we need those glorified scrimmages in order to get bowl eligible, then we don't belong in a bowl game anyway!

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

@BigCrimson75 

That would be this past season when they were down 30-0 to a mediocre Maryland team at halftime.  Must have forgotten about that one, huh?

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@Birmingham__Jacket 

We don't follow suit by adding meaningless majors to our curriculum because we are not, and never have been, a football factory; we are an institute of higher learning.  And even if we wanted to add meaningless drivel courses like they offer at the football factories, the Ga BOR would never allow it.  As far as scheduling the cupcakes, let's see how MBob approaches things.  Thus far, on a few other matters, he has addressed some very key issues addressed to him by the fans; hopefully, he will listen here too.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Bleed -- I forgot that game. Who ended up winning? Did MD have to play their 4th string QB/MLB that day?

---

Obviously I was referring to the Geno Smith Tavon Austin show stopper in Miami!

Tough night for the ACC. :(

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

@BigCrimson75 

Too bad a couple of seasons have passed and West Virginia is nowhere near as good anymore and Clemson is nowhere near as bad on defense. You trying to say West Virginia is going to give Bama a game? 

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@BigCrimson75 I was referring to the disparity in the way in which people (like you!) judge the schedules.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@BigCrimson75 @GeorgeStein @Birmingham__Jacket 

Actually, the STANDARDS between Bama's and Tech's football programs have always been vastly different.  But in the past, that disparity didn't affect Tech the way it has since the late 50s.  Ask Bobby Dodd if he had the same STANDARDS that Bear Bryant had.  NO WAY !!!

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @BigCrimson75 @GeorgeStein @Birmingham__Jacket  "Ask Bobby Dodd if he had the same STANDARDS that Bear Bryant had"

----

First, I wouldn't be able considering both are dead.

Also, I already know the answer ----- No.

Bryant wasn't the type to "cut & run" like Dodd. Dodd's message to the masses when he "quit" basically set a horrible precedent for Tech Football for decades to come. :(