IT's Tulane Game Picks

IT's Bill Frisbie, Michael Pearle and Clendon Ross give you their picks, and the reasoning behind those picks, in Saturday's game between Texas and Tulane.

IT Picks:

Frisbie -- Texas players and coaches compare Tulane’s offense to Texas Tech’s, and some have compared Tulane’s defense to Arkansas. I don’t have to remind you that those are the last two teams to beat the Horns. Nor do I have to remind you that this kind of coach-speak is typical of game week.

Even so, Tulane QB J. P. Losman will be playing Sundays next year. Personally, I don’t know that he’s a first-rounder but I do know that his stock can significantly rise with a sterling performance Saturday at DKR. The 6-3, 220-pounder has been on the rise since last year’s loss at Texas, head coach Mack Brown said.

"He scrambles well, he makes plays with his feet, he’s got a really quick release, he seems much more comfortable in the pocket this year than he was last year," Brown said. "He’s been very accurate."

His 1,355 yards and 15 TDs leads the nation while directing college footballs No. 8 passing attack (338 ypg). Texas’ pass defense tops the charts this week, surrendering just 91.7 ypg -- but don’t let that stat fool you. It also means teams are running on you.

The key, defensively, is whether Texas’ down linemen can get to Losman in a manner that they absolutely failed to do in losses to Tech and Arkansas. Tulane RB Mewelde Moore and WR Roydell Williams could start for most D-I programs, but success is predicated on harassing Losman. Take him out of his game and Texas can name the score.

"We’re going to go offensively as our quarterback goes," Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo said. "He’s got to have a lot of help and he got that Saturday (at Army). We had two dropped balls, but he wasn’t getting hit every play. When he has time to operate he can do it."

If Texas can’t run on Tulane, then you might as well sell your OU tickets and spare yourself a miserable weekend. The Green Wave surrenders 378 yards per game and returned just three starters (all linebackers) from last year’s squad. Tulane’s D-backs are inexperienced and undersized, and SE Roy Williams has yet to detonate this season. (He absolutely has to the next two weeks, but Saturday’s mismatch in the secondary is another chance for Roy to rewrite his own record books.)

Tulane has too much offensive firepower to expect a fifth straight Texas shutout in this 18 game, on-again, off-again series. But I will be pleased with, and will expect, a Longhorn win along the lines of Texas 45, Tulane 16.

Pearle -- I’m trying to decide if Saturday’s game against Tulane is going to transpire like the ‘90 Houston game, in which the Horns laid waste to David Klingler and the vaunted Houston Cougar O in route to a big W, or more like last year’s Texas Tech game, in which neither hapless defense could stop the other offense ‘til the final whistle. It could be like either one, but my gut tells me it’s gonna be more like Tech, with Green Wave QB J.P. Losman dissecting Texas’ confused secondary to put up mucho points to make the game a free-for-all. Visions of the Horns’ wretched defensive performance against Arkansas are still dancing in my memory, which seems to be recalling very little about the D’s performance against Rice. Maybe that’s because the Owl offense seemed about as lethal as my 5th grade SVAA team’s, the one that scored one TD on the season. Given that Rice was hopelessly outmatched, it’s impossible to tell if the Texas defense has truly hardened up since the swine meltdown, or if Tulane will dance up and down the field tossing Mardi Gras beads en route to the goal line. As I say, my sense is that Losman is gonna have a big night against Texas, which badly needs to find a pass-rush out of its front four to keep as many men in coverage as possible and gets some INTs to blow the thing open. The thing that will make this game so much fun, though, is that the porous Green Wave defense does not figure to slow the Horns down in the least. I am seeing a wild scoring spree that will leave our tongues hanging out, but one that the Horns will wind up winning with ease. Let’s call it Texas 55, Tulane 24.

Ross -- Sound the air raid sirens. Tulane, with its NFL-caliber QB and talented receiving corps, is a comin' to Austin sportin' a 3-1 record and one of the nation's top offensive attacks. Should Orangebloods be worried? The answer, in the form of a question: should Orangebloods have been worried last year vs. Tech? Of course, yes. If the Horns have as little success at getting in the face of J.P. Losman as they did Kliff Kingsbury last November, Carl Reese's D will be in for a long evening. And frankly, I'm not convinced that the front four (or front seven) will provide consistent pressure. So I see Tulane putting points on the board. The flip-side, luckily, is that Texas should score early and often against an extremely porous Green Wave D. Cedric Benson will crack the 100-yard mark for the second consecutive game and, if the Texas coaches allow it, Chance Mock will have a huge day throwing down the field (rather than down the line of scrimmage). Texas 52, Tulane 28.

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