Week 7 - SMU at Tulane

Posted Oct 11, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions & Game Preview - SMU at Tulane

SMU (2-3) at Tulane (0-5) Oct. 13, 1:00, CSS

Here's The Deal: Fingers are crossed on the Hilltop that SMU secured some degree of momentum with last week's pivotal shutout of UTEP in El Paso. One of three teams hoping to compete for supremacy in the West Division of Conference USA, the Mustangs will remain on the road as they travel this week to New Orleans. They'd like to take care of business in a hurry since Houston visits for a key showdown next Thursday night. Tulane is already playing for next season, knowing that it'll be fortunate to win a game or two this season. The Green Wave was defenseless versus Louisiana-Lafayette last week, and has now been outscored by an average margin of 42-9.

Why SMU Might Win: The Mustangs possess the better defense and the better option on the ground in physical RB Zach Line. SMU is second in the league in scoring D, and has been feisty in the area of turnovers. The unit is quick and feisty at the point of attack, and will harass the Green Wave with a blend of DE Margus Hunt and linebackers Taylor Reed, Ja'Gared Davis and Randall Joyner. Joyner came off the bench last week to make 14 stops and earn Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week.

Why Tulane Might Win: While there isn't a lot of good news surrounding the Green Wave these days, at least starting QB Ryan Griffin is returning from a shoulder injury. He represents a major upgrade from what the team has been using the last three weeks. With Griffin and RB Orleans Darkwa together again in the backfield, Tulane just might be able to produce enough points to outscore an SMU team averaging only 15 points in four games with FBS opponents.

What To Watch Out For: QB Garrett Gilbert, the ballyhooed transfer from Texas, continues to disappoint in his first season in Dallas. Still, June Jones plans to stick with him. In his defense, the former five-star recruit has been stunted by drops and poor pass protection. If Gilbert can evolve, SMU would take a giant step toward becoming a more complete team.

What Will Happen: The return of Griffin will help, but not nearly as much as the Green Wave needs at this point. Plus, he'll hit the field carrying a lot of rust as he faces a frenetic SMU defense. The Mustangs will claw their way back to the .500 mark using an edge in the turnover margin and Line's first 100-yard day on the ground in almost a month.

CFN Prediction: SMU 37 … Tulane 13
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) SMU -15 O/U: 48
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 1