The SMU Mustangs will put their perfect record of 4-0 on the line against the Tulane Green Wave at Yulman Stadium. SMU has the potential to be a bowl buster for the New Year’s Six Bowls, but they are going to have to keep winning with their foot on the gas pedal. Going undefeated might not be enough given their relatively easy schedule, though.
These next two weeks are going to be crucial. They have a potential trap spot against Tulane on the road, and then welcome the Cincinnati Bearcats to SMU for homecoming next weekend. Cincinnati and Houston on November 21 might be the most difficult games ahead of them. Temple on the road on November 5 is no sure thing either for the Mustangs. You have to give SMU some credit for what they’ve done so far, though.
With the Big Ten and Pac-12 included in the AP Top 25 now, the Mustangs aren’t a ranked team. I think you remove them from the equation and SMU would be in the Top 25. What has to be important for the Mustangs on Friday night is keeping their focus on the task at hand in New Orleans.
They have a matchup against the No. 8 team in the country next weekend. That’s a big time matchup for SMU, and if they take their eyes off Tulane and lookahead to Cincinnati, an opening is going to be there for the Green Wave. SMU are coming off a 30-27 win against a competent Memphis Tigers team last week. Former Texas Longhorn, Shane Buechele, passed for 474 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions.
His transfer to SMU was a match made in heaven. The Mustangs provide the perfect offense for Buechele, who has plenty of opportunities to throw the ball around and show off his big arm. On the season, Buechele has had success through four games and should be able to do more damage on Friday night in New Orleans.
Tulane are a 2-2 team coming off a 49-31 loss against Houston. This is a rough three week stretch for Tulane, as they played Houston last week, SMU tonight, and then have to deal with the UCF Knights next week. Even their matchup following the UCF game is no gimme against Temple at home. Head below for our free SMU vs. Tulane pick for October 16, 2020.
SMU Mustangs vs. Tulane Green Wave NCAAF Betting Odds:
SMU vs. Tulane Prediction:
Shane Buechele saw the writing on the wall with Sam Ehlinger at Texas. They were sharing snaps, but Ehlinger was slowly inching ahead in the quarterback battle. Buechele transferred to SMU where he had a clear opportunity to be a starting quarterback. He passed for 3,929 yards with 34 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first season with the Mustangs last season.
Buechele saw a lot of playing time as a freshman in 2016 with the Longhorns. He was solid with 2,958 yards and 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Ehlinger was the more dynamic quarterback of the two, so he ultimately won the starting job in 2018.
He’s off to a fast start with the Mustangs in 2020, this being his second season at SMU. Buechele has passed for 1,326 yards with 10 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. It’s hard to envision the Green Wave holding Buechele down for four quarters in this contest. He should be able to operate smoothly against a beatable Tulane defense. The Green Wave have yielded 395.3 yards per game, while allowing 271.3 passing yards per game.
Houston is really the only respected offense that they’ve played so far, and the Cougs made it look easy. The Cougars scored 49 points on Tulane, as Clayton Tune passed for 319 yards with 2 touchdowns. It took him a minute to get into a groove, but once he did in the second half, Houston made a tight game turn into a blowout. Buechele is a better quarterback than Tune with a much stronger arm. I have to expect a nice performance out of Buechele and the SMU offense in this one.
This game and the spread will come down to whether Tulane can move the ball well enough to keep up with Buechele. The Green Wave have been hit and miss offensively so far. They ran all over Southern Mississippi in a 66-24 win on September 26. However, that might have been more of a byproduct of Southern Mississippi playing terribly on defense. They weren’t wrapping up or completing tackles at all.
In their three other games this year, Tulane scored 27 against South Alabama, 24 against Navy, and 31 against Houston. Besides the Southern Mississippi outing, Tulane has been just okay on offense. Freshman Michael Pratt has the starting keys at quarterback for Tulane. For a first-year quarterback, he’s been alright with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.
However, he’s completing only 45.5% of his passes. Tulane might need Pratt to have a big game tonight, and I just don’t see him keeping pace with Buechele. The Mustangs have been solid against the pass with 248.3 passing yards allowed per game. Don’t expect the Green Wave to be limited completely offensively at home, though there likely won’t be enough in the tank to go blow for blow with SMU. I like a SMU win and cover.