Tulane proves to be a team of outdoor road warriors
For those Tulane football fans who think their team doesn’t have a home-field advantage at the Superdome, my response is, the numbers say you are correct.
The numbers say, without a doubt, Tulane plays its best football away from the Superdome.
After a 31-3 loss in the Superdome to Tulsa Sept. 10, head coach Bob Toledo said his team “put too much pressure on itself.” Toledo blamed himself for calling the Tulsa game “a big game.”
For whatever reason over the past season and three games, Tulane has been a much better team on the road. The evidence is overwhelming.
Last Saturday, Tulane, a 13-point underdog, routed UAB 49-10. In 2010, Tulane was a 17-point underdog but won at Rutgers, 17-14. The Wave was a 10-point underdog and won 34-24 at UTEP.
After the UTEP game, Tulane returned home and promptly lost three of its next four games. In all three defeats, the underdog Green Wave failed to cover the point spread.
Also in 2010, 19-point underdog Tulane fell behind 21-0 at Houston. The Wave rallied to within five points in the fourth quarter before finally falling.
Despite Tulane’s scant win total in the Toledo era, since 2007 the Green Wave has covered the point spread away from home in 23 of 54 games.
For whatever reason, the Green Wave has played very poor defense indoors on Poydras Street.
Four times in 2010, the Green Wave allowed 41 points or more at home. In its last three home games, Tulane allowed an alarming 156 points – or 52 points a game.
From 2001 to 2010, Tulane’s home record was 26-34. Toss out the six “home games” Tulane played in 2005 away from the Superdome post Katrina, and the home record over a nine-year period is still a poor 25 wins, 29 defeats.
During the same 10-year window, Southern Miss won 41 of 57 home games. The University of Houston won 38 of 60 home games.
Even the Rice Owls posted a winning record (28-23) at home over the same 10-year period.
Why does the Green Wave play its worst football at home?
The litany of reasons (some would say excuses) include, “The Superdome is just too big, there is no atmosphere.”
Or, “The students don’t want to come downtown, off campus, to watch the football team play.”
That’s all theory. This is a fact. On Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, Tulane held UAB to 10 first downs. Quarterback Ryan Griffin, aided by improved play from his offensive line, threw three touchdown passes.
In one week, Tulane went from big losers to very big winners.
The reasons are many, and one of them is, away from the Dome, Tulane is a better football team.