Tulane at NavySaturday, 12:30 pm PT - CBSCCRIS Opener:
Navy -13 O/U 54.5CRIS Current:
Navy -13 O/U 47.5Recommendation:
Tulane struggled in Willie Fritz’s first season on the job (4-8) be he has a very distinguished history of his teams improving from Year 1 to Year 2. Central Missouri jumped from 5-6 to 8-3 in Fritz's second year. At Sam Houston State; 6-5 to 14-1. And most recently, Georgia Southern where the Eagles went 8-4 and reached the postseason. It is reasonable to expect an uptick at Tulane and I think it happens thanks to one of the better defenses in the AAC. Eight starters are back from a unit that allowed only 364.5 ypg. And in last year’s very competitive 21-14 loss to Navy, Tulane held the Midshipmen to a respectable 287 yards and 5.2 ypc on the ground
both marks below Navy’s seasonal averages (310 rypg/5.9 ypc). Offensively, Tulane may have found one of their most talented quarterback in some time with JC transfer Jonathan Banks earning the starting job in camp. When Banks was asked to throw the football last week in his first start, he completed 10-of-15 passes for 185 yards and a 3-0 TD-INT ratio. He also rushed for a team-high 69 yards.
Navy quarterback Zach Abey benefited from getting thrown into the fire late last season after starter Will Worth went down with an injury. Important to note that Worth was actually a fairly polished passer. He missed two games and still threw for nearly 1,400 yards and a stellar 11.9 ypa. But one of his worst showings of the year came against Tulane (5-of-12, 59 yards). Abey hasn’t shown nearly as much acumen in the passing game (3-for-10 in Week 1). Passing obviously isn’t a big part of either team’s game plan but whatever team is able to hit on a few big plays through the air will be on the fast track to a pointspread cover and I see Tulane as having the edge with Banks.
Tulane has outgained four of its last five opponents dating back to last season which speaks to Fritz’s ability to develop talent. And last year’s loss to. Navy came in Week 3; the infant stages of a complete program overhaul. Navy was not favored by double digits against a single FBS foe last season so this is somewhat of a rarified pointspread range. Tulane on the rise and more than capable of making this a one score affair.