Sports bettors should keep a close eye on Tulane this season as head coach Curtis Johnson Johnson welcomes back 16 starters in what is expected to be one of the most improved teams in college football. Since 2003, the Green Wave has suffered ten losing seasons, but I expect a breakout year that ultimately ends with a bowl bid for the first time in eleven seasons.
- The loss of four-year starter Ryan Griffin is certainly a concern, but Nick Cannon arrives with an unlimited amount of potential. Cannon led his junior college team to an 11-1 record last season wherein he threw for 2,652 yards (63.2%) and 22 touchdowns under a New Orleans Saints’ style offense. That last fact is significant in that head coach Curtis Johnson is a New Orleans native who previously served as the Saints’ wide receivers coach before arriving at Tulane in 2012.
- Cannon will have an assortment of talented receivers to work with this season, including Xavier Rush, Ryan Grant and Justyn Shackelford. Tulane has one of the most improved wide receiving units in college football this season.
- Cannon will further be be aided by a solid backfield led by Orleans Darkwa, who is finally healthy and looked outstanding during the spring. Similar to its receiving corp., Tulane also takes the field with one of the most improved backfields in all of college football.
- While I am starting to sound like a broken record, Tulane also enters the 2013 season with one of the most improved offensive lines that welcomes back 78 career starts. Seniors Zach Morgan and Rio Mares provide the experience and leadership necessary to make Tulane’s offensive line one of Conference USA’s best in 2013.
- Tulane’s vastly improved defense is anchored by an outstanding secondary that coach Johnson continues to rave about during the offseason. Clearly, Tulane has one of the best secondaries in the conference this season.
- The Green Wave also return many starters from last year’s defensive line, and I believe this unit is one of the most improved in college football. With that said, improvement is not difficult to come by after allowing 223 yards per game (5.1 yards per carry) last season.
Tulane Special Teams:
- Many sports bettors will be surprised to learn that Tulane has one of the best special team’s units in the nation. In fact, place kicker Cairo Santos hit a perfect 21-for-21 field goals and broke the school record for the longest field goal made (57 yards). To no one surprise, Santos won the Lou Groza Award and seeks to break Washington’s Chuck Nelson’s record of 30 consecutive field goals in 2013.
With sixteen returning starters and dramatic improvement on both sides of the ball, I am going to call for the Green Wave to become bowl eligible in 2013. Head coach Johnson accepted the challenge of turning around Tulane’s football program in 2012, and I firmly believe he will bring hope to Green Wave fans everywhere with a winning campaign in 2013.