The Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin’ Cajuns square off with the Tulane Green Wave in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, on Saturday. 

According to college football betting odds the game is a pick’em, and there’s been no total posted at the time of this writing.

Home field Advantage for Tulane

The Tulane Green Wave will have the benefit of playing in a bowl on the same field in which their regular season home games take place. Although this isn’t a first, it’s somewhat of rare occurrence, and one that can greatly benefit a Tulane program that had endured 10 straight losing seasons prior to 2013.  UL-Lafayette finished the season by winning 4 of their last 5 road games.

Tremendous Turnaround

Tulane finished the season 4th in the 6-team CUSA West. Tulane became bowl eligible in game 8 of the season after defeating Tulsa 14-7 which made them 6-2 on the year. The Green Wave finished the regular season by losing 3 of their last 4. They do own a couple of wins this season over bowl participants North Texas and East Carolina. Head coach Curtis Johnson had done a remarkable job of turning things around at Tulane in just his 2nd year on the job. The Green Wave especially improved on the defensive side of the ball. They went from last in Conference USA in total and scoring defense, to the best in the conference this season. They allow just 21.2 points per game which is 20th nationally as well.

Rajin’ Cajuns Return

Image previewThis will be the 3rd straight appearance for UL-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl. After opening the season with losses on the road versus Arkansas and Kansas State, the Rajin’ Cajuns reeled off 8 wins in a row, and were in prime position be the undisputed Sun Belt Conference champions. Unfortunately, they hit a brick wall in their final 2-games losing to in state rival UL-Monroe as a 17.5-point home favorite, and then getting walloped in their regular season finale at South Alabama 30-8. In doing so they had to share the conference crown with Arkansas St.

Return on Broadway

It’s no coincidence that the loss of starting quarterback Terrence Broadway to a broken left arm occurred versus UL-Monroe, and coincided with their 2-game losing streak to finish the season. Head coach Mark Hudspeth has indicated he’s confident that Broadway will be able to play in the bowl game. Broadway finished the 2013 regular season by throwing for 2276 yards for 19 touchdowns, and just 10 interceptions, all while completing 62.1% of his pass attempts. The junior also ran for 421 yards and 8 touchdowns as well. He was replaced in the South Alabama game by redshirt freshmen Brooks Haack who was just 5-14 for 49 yards, with no touchdowns, and 1 interception. During the Rajin’ Cajuns 8-game winning streak they scored 35-points or more in 7 of those 8 contests.

Make sure to check out SBR's NCAAF Bowl Contest and see how you can win $5000!

Final Analysis

It’s much too early for me to make a definitive call on this game, especially with the status of Broadway being uncertain. It will definitely be a contrast of styles, with Tulane relying heavily on their stout defense, and UL-Lafayette leaning on a very potent rushing attack. The home field advantage for Tulane in this contest isn’t as big of an advantage as it would be for the majority of programs. It will also be offset by the fact that the Rajin’ Cajuns will be making their 3rd straight appearance in the New Orleans Bowl. I have the smallest of leans at this juncture toward UL-Lafayette for my college football picks.

College Football Bowl Pick: UL-Lafayette (Pick) over Tulane