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College Football Countdown: No. 20 Tulane Green Wave

QB Pratt Returns to Lead Offense

What a turnaround for the Tulane Green Wave a season ago. After going 2-10 (1-10 versus Football Bowl Subdivision competition) and losing by at least 18 points on four occasions in 2021, Tulane stunned those making college football predictions by winning the American Athletic Conference championship and then topped USC in the Cotton Bowl to finish 12-2, with the two losses by three points to Southern Miss and by seven points to UCF.

Tulane is the preseason favorite to win an American Athletic Conference that will look much different now that Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF are in the Big 12. Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UTSA, and UAB have joined the conference.

NCAAF Countdown: No. 20 Tulane Green Wave
Aidan McCahill #47 of the Tulane Green Wave |tom pennington/getty images/afp

Quarterback Michael Pratt is back for his fourth season as the Tulane starting quarterback. Pratt has 68 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions at Green Wave and has also run for 23 additional touchdowns. He is one of the reasons why Tulane comes in at No. 20 in our Top 25 college football countdown.

When looking at the college football news, Tulane wasn’t very active in the transfer portal. Cornerback Kameron Pedescleaux and receiver Dontae Fleming both transferred to Tulane from Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns while edge rusherTrey Fite comes in from SMU.

Running back Trey Cornist, offensive lineman Darion Reed and linebacker Makai Williams are the top-ranked high school recruits coming to Tulane.

Tulane went 4-2 in one-score games after losing eight of those games in the previous two seasons so keep that in mind when making college football picks.

According to the college football picks, Tulane is a little undervalued at +25000 in the odds to win the national title.


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Tulane Green Wave

  • 2022 record: 12-2
  • 2022 American Athletic Conference record: 8-1
  • Head coach: Willie Fritz
  • Odds to win conference title: +200

Pratt is a dynamic player who threw for more than 350 yards three times a season ago. All-conference center Sincere Haynesworth is one of four returning starting offensive lineman.

Receiver Yulkeith Brown (112 yards on six catches in six games) comes in from Texas A&M to join Fleming (19 catches, three touchdowns in 2022), and South Florida Chris Carter could emerge as pass catchers for Pratt.

Shae Wyatt and DueceWatts are gone after combining for 15 touchdown catches and were the only two receivers with more than 600 receiving yards. However, Pratt spread the ball around with seven players finishing with 22 to 35 catches.

Jha’Quan Jackson and Lawrence Keys are among the top returning receivers.

The biggest loss is running back Tyjae Spears had more than 1,500 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns a season ago. Five freshmen running backs got carries last season so the opportunity could be there for them to step up, especially with perhaps the best offensive line in the conference.

Tulane went from allowing 429.7 yards per game and 5.8 yards per play in 2021 to 360.4 yards and 5.0 yards per play last season.

There are some holes to fill with linebackers Dorian Williams and Nick Anderson, who combined for 244 tackles, among the key losses.

Cornerback Jarius Monroe (49 tackles), defensive lineman Darius Hodges (37 tackles, five sacks), and linebacker Patrick Jenkins (39 tackles) are among the key returnees on defense. Thirteen of the 21 players with at least 10 tackles in 2022 were either freshmen or sophomores.

With all the returning players, it is not a surprise that Tulane received 20 of the 33 first-place votes in the AAC preseason poll.

Those who bet online might be interested to know that Tulane covered in each of the 12 wins a season ago and failed to cover in the two losses. Seven of the last eight games played by the Green Wave finished over the total.


With so many new teams in the conference, it is hard to know what to expect in the American Athletic Conference this season. Obviously, Tulane will have much more pressure moving forward after winning the AAC title. Now the Green Wave are viewed as one of the better teams from outside of the Power-5 conferences.

Pratt is well down in the Heisman Trophy odds and that could be a result of Tulane running the ball more than 60% of the time. The absence of Spears might make it more challenging for the Tulane passing offense because not as much attention will be paid to stopping the run.

Pedescleaux had 74 tackles and six pass breakups at Louisiana. Fellow cornerback A.J. Hampton (21 tackles in seven games) and Louisiana Tech linebacker Tyler Grubbs (48 tackles) could help fill some of the departures. There will be a new defensive play call with Chris Hampton now at Oregon and ShielWood was brought in from Troy. A year ago, Troy finished second in the Sun Belt in the fewest yards allowed per play.

After opening the season against a 10-win South Alabama team, Tulane gets an even bigger test when Ole Miss comes to New Orleans. Four of the first five games will be played at home so it is worth watching how Tulane comes out of that stretch. The regular-season finale against UTSA could be for the regular-season title in the American Athletic Conference.

Tulane is listed by the college football spreads as a seven-point favorite against South Alabama in the season opener.

With the loss of the leading rusher and a pair of 100-tackle linebackers, the expectations are for a single-digit win season as the price is set at +130 for Tulane to go over the expected regular-season total of 9½ wins with -140 to finish under that total.

2023 Schedule

  • Sept. 2 vs South Alabama
  • Sept. 9 vs Ole Miss
  • Sept. 16 at Southern Mississippi
  • Sept. 23 vs Nicholls
  • Sept. 30 vs UAB
  • Oct. 13 at Memphis
  • Oct. 21 vs North Texas
  • Oct. 28 at Rice
  • Nov. 4 at East Carolina
  • Nov. 11 vs Tulsa
  • Nov. 18 at Florida Atlantic
  • Nov. 24 vs UTSA

Get ready for the upcoming college football season with the most competitive college football odds and college football lines available. Stay ahead of the game and make informed bets with our comprehensive NCAA football odds, giving you the edge you need to win big.

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