The Houston Cougars hope that they can finally play football on Thursday night. I don’t want to jinx anything, but it’s looking likely that Houston will get to open their season against the Tulane Green Wave at home in Week 6. A total of five games for the Cougars have been impacted by COVID-19. North Texas was the most recent, and hopefully the last game, to be disrupted for Houston.
It’s a little easier for college football to figure things out on the fly like this. For the NFL, it is more difficult. Does it really matter if a college team misses a meaningless game or two? Probably not. But in the NFL, just one game missed for teams could throw the season into a big headache. About a month later, Houston hopes to get on the field for a real game on Thursday night.
This isn’t a game that Houston can overlook. They might have a big showdown with BYU next week, but their attention must be on Tulane this evening. I am sure the coaching staff has already started to prepare for BYU next week. Before they dive into BYU some more, it would be advised to focus on the task at hand tonight. Tulane enters this week with a record of 2-1.
Their last performance was an offensive explosion, as Tulane put up 66 points on Southern Mississippi. After Southern Mississippi went up by two touchdowns in the early stages of the first quarter, the Green Wave responded with an relentless attack offensively. They scored seven touchdowns on the ground, while Michael Pratt threw for two more.
Cameron Carroll and Stephon Huderson both rushed for 100+ yards on Southern Miss. D’Eriq King is off the roster at Houston, and instead getting plenty of attention with the Hurricanes in Miami. The grad transfer has put his face on the map and garnering Heisman hype. That leaves Dana Holgorsen with a new quarterback to run his offense.
Clayton Tune doesn’t have the legs that King possesses, but is still expected to have the offense rolling. He makes up for it with his strong arm through the air. Head below for our free Tulane vs. Houston pick for October 8, 2020.
Tulane Green Wave vs. Houston Cougars NCAAF Betting Odds:
Tulane vs. Houston Prediction:
Clayton Tune isn’t going into this game completely blindfolded with no experience. In 2018, Tune got his first taste of college football and he handled it well. He threw for 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions as a freshman, though regressed with 11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions a season ago.
D’Eriq King was injured in both seasons, thus giving Tune a chance to lead the offense. King sat the year out after suffering a knee injury early in the season. Tune took his lumps, but learned some valuable lessons going into 2020.
The coaching staff is fully expecting Tune to have a full grasp of the offense, and everything operating like a well-oiled machine. Aiding Tune is going to be an effective run game for the Cougars. Look for Mulbah Car and Kyle Porter to get off to a fast start for Houston on Thursday night.
Porter was the leading rusher on the Cougars with 616 yards, while Car needed just four games to accumulate 375 yards on the ground. The 1-2 combo of Car and Porter should prove difficult to stop for Tulane.
Southern Miss had to get away from the run against Tulane, but were gaining over 5 yards a pop. The triple-option is a whole different animal to contain, though it’s worth mentioning that Navy had a lot of success in their comeback three weeks ago as well.
Expect Car and Porter to open up the deep ball for Tune and the Cougars’ offense. The same goes for Michael Pratt and Tulane. As soon as Pratt replaced Keon Howard at quarterback last week, the Green Wave offense looked completely different. Pratt, a true freshman, who is expected to have a big career at Tulane, took command of the offense.
Pratt didn’t look like a freshman, as he threw for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. That allowed a punishing Tulane backfield to go to work. In three games, the Green Wave have already put up 882 rushing yards and 14 scores on the ground. Those are mind boggling numbers through just three games of action.
The Houston defense will be better this season, but they have a lot of stuff to improve on after getting pummeled for 467.5 yards per game a season ago. They were just about at the bottom in that regard, which included 34 points against per game.
Having failed to play at full speed in an actual game yet this season, dealing with a punishing ground game like Tulane could be a problem. This should be a better and more competitive game than many people expect. Tulane should be able to hang around, though the point spread set by the oddsmakers here is sharp. A 7 or 4-point win for Houston wouldn’t surprise me. I’m going to look at the total instead in this spot. The total looks a few points too short to me.