Tulane (7-6) opened the 2018-2019 bowl season in college football by recording the first bowl victory for the school since 2002. Tulane defeated Louisiana (7-7) in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando on Saturday afternoon, 41-24.
Tulane had a 24-10 lead at halftime but started to feel pressure from Louisiana as the Ragin Cajuns battled back in the second half, cutting the Tulane lead to 27-24 early in the fourth quarter. But just when it seemed as though Tulane may let one slip through their fingers, a pair of fourth-down gambles paid off in a big way. On 4th-and-7 from the Louisiana 30-yard line, Willie Fritz decided to go for a first down and was rewarded with Justin McMillan completing a 15-yard pass to keep the drive going. A few plays later, Darius Bradwell scored a four-yard touchdown to give Tulane a two-score lead. After the defense came through with a quick series, Tulane once again faced a 4th-and-7 that worked out for the best. McMillan put the game away with just over three minutes to play on a keeper for a 16-yard touchdown run to extend Tulane’s lead to a 17-point margin on a fourth and seven.
One last offensive gasp by Louisiana came to an end with an interception in the endzone by Chris Joyce.
Despite a pair of turnovers, Tulane was called for just one five-yard penalty in the game and the Green Wave out-gained Louisiana 483-258. Bradwell rushed for a game-high 150 yards with two scores and McMillan combined for a pair of touchdowns in the win. The defense was a big factor in the first half, allowing just over 100 yards of offense before halftime despite giving up 75 yards on the first drive of the game. Louisiana scored a touchdown on the game’s opening possession but then struggled to move the ball against the Tulane defense until the second half.
Prior to Saturday’s win in the Cure Bowl, Tulane’s last bowl victory came in the 2002 Hawaii Bowl. This was the second bowl victory for Fritz, who previously won his only bowl game coached at Georgia Southern before coming to Tulane. Fritz is 2-0 in bowl games.
Tulane will head into 2019 season looking to take another step forward as a program as Fritz enters his fourth year on the job. The Green Wave have improved their win total each year with Fritz as the head coach as Tulane continues to try building itself into a contender in the AAC. The 2019 season will begin on Aug. 31, 2019 at home against FIU, followed by a road trip to Auburn the following week. Tulane will get home games in conference play against Houston and UCF and will make road trips to Memphis, Navy, and Temple as part of the conference schedule.
Louisiana will get to open their 2019 season in New Orleans with a matchup against Mississippi State on Aug. 31, 2019. The Ragin’ Cajuns also get home games against Liberty and Texas Southern in non-conference play and will get some big Sun Belt games at home against Appalachian State, Troy and rival ULM. Louisiana will travel to Arkansas State and Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt schedule next fall as well, with conference dates to be announced.
It did not take long for people to start talking about who the next head coach at Ole Miss will be following the Thursday night resignation of Hugh Freeze. And somehow, one of the betting favorites has quickly become former Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley.
As noted by Rocky Top Talk, the Tennessee blog on SB Nation, the former Vols coach and current assistant with the Dallas Cowboys is listed as the second most-favored coach to take over at Ole Miss, listed at +500 according to BetOnline. SMU head coach Chad Morris is the current betting favorite on the betting website, with Morris listed at +300 to be the next coach of the Rebels.
Other names on the board include former LSU head coach Les Miles (+800), and former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly (+1400). FAU head coach Lane Kiffin has been having fun trolling about the Ole Miss fallout on Twitter, yet he is also on the board at +1600.
For what it is worth, interim head coach Matt Luke has also been given odds to keep the job, and he is listed at +1200.
Here are the latest odds as listed by BetOnline;
- Chad Morris +300
- Derek Dooley +500
- Blake Anderson +700
- Les Miles +800
- Mike Norvell +1000
- Brent Venables +1200
- Scott Frost +1400
- Chip Kelly +1400
- Neal Brown +1600
- Lane Kiffin +1600
- Mike MacIntyre +1600
- Charlie Strong +1600
- Willie Fritz +2000
- Bryan Harsin +2000
- Bobby Petrino +2500
So place your bets wisely. But if you choose to place your money on Dooley, you might as well just send me your money instead.
With Louisiana-Monroe getting their new head coach all settled, this year’s FBS college football coaching carousel appears to be slowing down and coming to a close. There are just two more spots to fill, for now.BYU and Georgia Southern are the last two schools with vacancies currently open at this moment.
BYU and Georgia Southern are the last two schools with vacancies currently open at this moment. BYU is reportedly meeting with Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo, who has explained why he might be interested in at least hearing what the school has to say about the job. Bronco Mendenhall is leaving BYU for Virginia but will remain in charge of the program through BYU’s bowl game matchup against Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. Perhaps Mendenhall will give Niumatalolo his endorsement of the job on his way out, although it should be noted Niumatalolo has a pretty good situation already with the Navy program.
At Georgia Southern, the search is on to replace Willie Fritz, who has accepted a position as head coach at Tulane. For now, Dell McGee is taking on the role of interim head coach as Georgia Southern prepares for its first bowl game in program history, the GoDaddy Bowl against Bowling Green (who, coincidently is also undergoing a coaching change). Which direction the school goes from here remains unknown, whether it promotes from within from anyone who sticks around, finds an FCS coach ready to take the next step or finds an assistant coach from somewhere else ready to try their hand at head coaching.
These two spots are still left unfilled, but it remains to be seen just what could happen to open up another position or two. With the NFL season coming down its home stretch, the NFL coaching carousel figures to once again keep some college coaches in the discussion, whether legitimate or not. Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly and UCLA’s Jim Mora have been names mentioned before, and could very well be thrown around once more. Keep an eye on the NFL coaching changes, because until that is filled, the coaching carousel will continue to be in motion, just in case.
The coaching carousel continues to spin with one spot being filled only to open one more seat on this season’s ride. Tulane has reportedly hired Georgia Southern head coach Willie Fritz to be the next head coach of the program. The announcement has yet to be officially announced, but the Associated Press is reporting the deal between the two, and others are confirming the information as well on Friday. An announcement could be made Saturday.
Fritz will leave Georgia Southern after a two-year run as head coach with the program moving into the Sun Belt Conference and making the transition from FCS to FBS. Fritz coached Georgia Southern to a Sun Belt championship last season, the first season as a member of the FBS.
Tulane fired Curtis Johnson following a disappointing 3-9 season. Tulane moved from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference last year. The AAC proved to be a highly competitive conference this season, with Houston, Navy and Temple all ending the regular season ranked in the top 25 of the polls, and Memphis making a number of appearances earlier in the year. Tulane has gone 6-18 since joining the conference and has had losing season all but one year since 2002. Fritz will have plenty fo work to do in building the foundation for a winning program at Tulane, but after going 40-15 in regular season games and showing what he can do with Georgia Southern, he could be a good hire for Tulane in the years to come.