The Oklahoma No.2 was due to travel on Saturday to face Tulane in a scheduled game in New Orleans in a showdown early in Week 1 that would have been one of the biggest home games of the Green wave for years. However, after Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana last weekend, the two programs agreed to move the game to Norman, Oklahoma. But while the location of the game between the Sooners and the Green Wave may be different, the plot remains the same.
Oklahoma’s preseason ranking in the Top 25 AP is the highest since 2011, when it opened as the nation’s No.1 team. Quarterback Spencer Rattler is a popular choice for the Heisman Trophy, and wide receiver Marvin Mims presents a devastating explosive threat away from home. However, the improvement in the defensive side of the ball is why the Sooners hid the rise.
Tulane is well coached, however. Veteran coach Willie Fritz has won everywhere – from national championships at Blinn Junior College in the 1990s to three straight bowls at Tulane for the first time in program history. With promising young quarterback Michael Pratt under center, the future is bright for the Green Wave.
Oklahoma won their only clash against Tulane 56-14 in 2017. It was Fritz’s second season in New Orleans and Lincoln Riley’s first as a coach in Oklahoma. Both programs have grown considerably since then.
Oklahoma vs Tulane: Need to Know
National title hopes: Oklahoma may have their best chance of winning a national championship in 15 years, and the Heisman favorite is playing Norman again. Rattler completed 67.5% of passes for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season. He should be even better with a full offseason to work on his game. The Sooners are also returning 76% of their production to a team that finished 2020 as hot as any college football schedule. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has elevated the once awful defense to the top 30.
Tulane is young: The biggest lag of the day is ahead. Oklahoma has one of the best offensive return lines in college football. On the other side, Tulane could start four underclassmen in the top six, including a pair of freshmen on the defensive line. Although the Sooners have depth issues in the semifinals, almost anyone can knock down the Green Wave defense. Add to that two potential newbies in high school for Rattler to attack, and there could be some serious trouble.
The game contains: Fritz’s offensive system works similar to the triple option, right out of the shotgun. It’s critical that Oklahoma’s top seven stay consistent with their assignments, especially against running. Tulane’s rushing offense led the American to 217.1 yards per carry and 5.1 yards per attempt last season. More impressive still, the Green Wave gained at least 10 yards on 17.6% of its attempts on the ground, good enough for the national No. 11. Oklahoma placed in the top 10 running defense last season, but the Sooners haven’t played such a diverse offense in a while.
How to watch Oklahoma vs. Tulane live
Dated: Saturday 4 Sep | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Site: Gaylord Memorial Stadium – Norman, Oklahoma
TV: ABC | Direct: fuboTV (Try for free)
Oklahoma vs Tulane prediction, pick
Featured Game | Oklahoma Sooners vs. Tulane Green Wave
The bookies have put together a solid line for this game. Fritz’s teams are characterized by controlling the pace of play, but Oklahoma is going to be too much, especially now that the game is in front of the Norman faithful. This is one of the most anticipated seasons in recent memory for the Sooners. Saturday represents an opportunity to showcase the nation. I see no reason why they should deprive themselves of it. Prediction: Oklahoma (-27.5)
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