OCTOBER 30, 2017
At 3-5, Tulane's hopes of a "Bowl Wave" season remain very much alive but are contingent on a 3-1 (or better) finish in their final four conference games.
We knew going into this year that the margin would be thin, and we've arrived at make or break time.
As FTW followers on Twitter know, we like to follow SB Nation / Bill Connelly's S&P+ Advanced Stats for ranking teams. A useful feature -- you can see Tulane's full profile here -- is the game-by-game projections.
The good news? The numbers solidly like Tulane in a Homecoming bout with Cincinnati, where Bill says the Green Wave would win 66% of the time (expected margin: 7.2 points, so a TD advantage).
Likewise, winning against East Carolina has historically been tough, but the Wave has a great chance to get that monkey off their back against the struggling Pirates. We have a 70% chance of winning on the road. Expected margin: 9.1 points.
The bad news? Those final two games are looking awfully tough. Houston, which has simultaneously done things like beating a PAC 12 contender (Arizona) and ending the nation's longest winning streak (USF) while also getting stomped by a bad, bad, bad Tulsa. That said, Bill's numbers think this would be the best shot for Win 6 if we were to convert on those first two with a 38% chance.
Finally, the season will end with a road trip to SMU who is certainly not unbeatable (Tulsa likely would have won if a touchdown had not been called back by, I kid you not, an early celebration call) but has already punched their bowl ticket. That's the toughest game ahead with a 23% win opportunity (about the same as we had against USF).
So that should help set the stage for what needs to happen in this final last month of the season: get the job done while showing progress in these next two, and you're setup for an "all-in" battle for bowl eligibility against the two Texas teams.