Just like the first season of American Athletic Conference football in 2013, there will be some fresh faces around the league. And just like before they'll be coming from Conference USA, which means they will be a little familiar to some. One of the teams coming to the AAC in 2014 is the Tulane Green Wave, who we will be focusing on today.
The Green Wave come into the American facing a pretty tough schedule, but their season will be highlighted by a brand new on-campus football stadium. It is a big change for the program as Tulane has called the Superdome home for almost 40 years until now. Yulman Stadium is scheduled to be done just in time to be ready for Tulane's home opener against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on September 6th (week 2). One of the positives that Tulane brings to the American, besides expanding the conference's footprint, is that the school will replace a departing program that had a losing record in football (Rutgers, 6-7) with one that had a winning record last year (Tulane, 7-6).
Speaking of Rutgers, the Green Wave will face the Scarlet Knights in a non-conference match-up on September 27th as RU transitions into the Big Ten. Rutgers and Georgia Tech aren't the only tough teams on Tulane's schedule either. They will be facing seven bowl teams in total, which is something that comes with the territory when you enter a competitive league like the American.
As we mentioned, over half of the Wave's schedule are teams that played in bowls and the seven squads that played in bowl games last season are Georgia Tech (Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl), Duke (Chick-fil-A Bowl), Rutgers (New Era Pinstripe Bowl), UCF (Tostitos Fiesta Bowl), East Carolina (Beef O' Brady's Bowl), Houston (BBVA Compass Bowl) and Cincinnati (Belk Bowl). They do play one FCS opponent in 2014 and that is Southeastern Louisiana who made it to the semifinals of the FCS playoffs.
"This is a very demanding and challenging schedule, but one we will be prepared to play," said the head coach of Tulane football, Curtis Johnson. "I am looking forward to stepping foot in our new stadium on September, 6th and cannot wait to start league play. This is going to be a fantastic league with great teams and will quickly be considered one of the best in the country."
Luckily for Tulane and coach Johnson, the league has already proved it is a top conference in every way, going undefeated in BCS bowls and of course the two national championships in basketball. But we're talking football today. But we just can't help pointing those titles out.
2014 Tulane Football Schedule Preview:
The first game on Tulane's schedule features Tulsa, another program entering its first season in the American. That contest will be on the road at H.A. Chapman Stadium on Aug. 30 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The last time the two teams met, the Green Wave got the best of the Golden Hurricane with a 14-7 win.
Next up is the home opener and first game in the brand new Yulman Stadium when Tulane hosts Georgia Tech on September, 6th. The Green Wave last played on campus when it hosted Ole Miss in the regular season finale in 1974. Tulane hasn't played Georgia Tech since Ronald Reagan was in his first term as President.
Week 3 has the Green Wave staying at home to face Southeastern Louisiana on September, 13th. Tulane leads the series, 6-0, and the teams last met back in 2011.
They then hit the road to face the Duke Blue Devils on the 20th of September followed by a trip to Rutgers the next week on the 27th. The Duke game will be only the fourth time the two schools have ever met. The Wave will be facing the Scarlet Knights for the seventh time in program history with a little American pride on the line as a new member faces a former member. Last time the two played in 2010, Tulane beat Rutgers, 17-14.
From a former AAC member to a current one, Tulane faces its first American opponent in its new stadium when the UConn Huskies travel to new Orleans for a mid-October match-up on the 11th. It will be the first time these two have ever played each other in football. After that, it's back to the road as TU travels to UCF to face the Fiesta Bowl winning Knights in Orlando on the 18th of October.
Tulane will close out October hosting the Cincinnati Bearcats on Halloween with a nationally-televised game on ESPN2 highlighting the networks' Friday night football lineup. The Bearcats have the longest history with TU of any program on the schedule as the Wave first played Cincinnati in 1909 in New Orleans. Tulane leads the overall series, 11-3.
From there the Green Wave begins November on the road against Houston, a familiar foe from C-USA. It will be the 19th time the two have played one another, but the first in Houston's new stadium which also opens for the 2014 college football season. The Wave then returns home to host the Memphis Tigers on November 15th marking the 31st time the to have played.
Then TU heads to ECU to face the Pirates for their final road game of the 2014 season on November 22nd. It will be their 15th meeting all-time. The last time these two met, the game went into triple overtime and the Green Wave came out on top, 36-33 marking the longest football game Tulane ever played.
The final game of the 2014 regular season will pit Tulane against the Owls from Philadelphia. This will be the first the Green Wave finished up the regular season at home since George W. Bush was re-elected to a second term in 2004. One of the advantages of moving from the Superdome is not having to work around the NFL schedule of the New Orleans Saints. The last (and only) time these two played each other was in the 1935 Sugar Bowl and Tulane won that game, 20-14. The good news for Temple is that Tulane isn't returning any starters from that 1935 team.
Key Tulane Players To Know*:
#11 Nick Montana - QB -Completed 53.4% of passes for 1717 yds and 14 TDs to 10 INTs.
#28 Rob Kelley - RB - Top returning RB who totaled 420 yds, avg 4.3 yds per game, 3 TDs.
#80 Justyn Shackleford - WR - Caught 36 passes for 419 YDs while averaging 11.6 a game.
#6 Lorenzo Doss - CB - 7 INTs, 1 fumble recovery, 25 solo tackles, 9 assisted tackles
#35 Sam Scofield - S - 74 solo tackles, 30 assisted (104 total), 1.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
#48 Royce LaFrance - DE - 6.5 sacks for 53 YDs, 19 solo tackles, 27 total tackles
*All statistics listed for Tulane players represent their performances during the 2013 college football season.
Below is the complete schedule for the 2014 Tulane Green Wave football team:
Sat - August 30 at Tulsa
Sat - September 6 vs Georgia Tech
Sat - September 13 vs SE Louisiana
Sat - September 20 at Duke
Sat - September 27 at Rutgers
Sat - October 11 vs UConn
Sat - October 18 at UCF
Fri - October 31 vs Cincinnati
Sat - November 8 at Houston
Sat - November 15 vs Memphis
Sat - November 22 at ECU
Sat - December 6 vs Temple
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