WHO: 7-5 Tulane (Conference USA) vs. 8-4 UL Lafayette (Sun Belt)
WHAT: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (13th year)
WHERE: Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana
WHEN: Dec. 21 at 9 p.m. ET
WHY: Get some extra shrimp gumbo ready because we have a fun match-up cooking. The bowl season does not always serve up some good in-state match-ups, but it will this time with Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette in the most fitting setting, New Orleans. It took 12 years to get these two schools back on the same football field last season in the regular season, but now they face off in the postseason for the first time in the history of the series that dates back to 1911.
Both teams will be familiar with the setting for this bowl game of course. Tulane plays their home game sin the Superdome and Louisiana has made a trip to the Superdome the past two years to play in the New Orleans Bowl. The Ragin’ Cajuns have scored a couple of victories as well, with a thriller against San Diego State two years ago and a victory over East Carolina last season.
One of the big questions for this game will be just what the status for the starting quarterbacks is. Louisiana’s Terrance Broadway missed some playing time late in the season due to a broken arm but could be available for the bowl game. Tulane’s Nick Montana, son to NFL icon Joe Montana, also dealt with a shoulder injury down the stretch but could be ready to go as well.
There are many reasons to like the Ragin’ Cajuns in this one. The offense is more productive and efficient on third downs (converting 51 percent to Tulane’s 36.2 percent) and inside the red zone (touchdowns on 71.4 percent of red zone drives compared to Tulane’s 60.5 percent). Louisiana is also the more experienced team in this situation, having been in this bowl game each of the past two seasons while Tulane is playing their first bowl game in over a decade. Tulane does have a defense, but the offense will likely struggle to keep up with Louisiana enough to take the win.
PREDICTION: UL Lafayette 31, Tulane 23