Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#217 Tulane vs.
#218 Memphis
Saturday, November 27, 2021 at 7:30pm EST
Written by Ben the Pen

Tulane (1-6 AAC) and Memphis (2-5) face each other on Saturday in the conference finale for both teams. This will be the final game for Tulane, but Memphis still has a chance to go bowling if they win since it will be their sixth win.

Tulane is coming off a 45-14 win over USF, while the Tigers were crushed by Houston 31-13 last Friday on the road.

Tulane breaks losing streak

Tulane had lost eight straight games before finally beating South Florida. Some of the losses were tight (20-13ot loss to Tulsa), but most were blowouts to the top AAC teams like Cincinnati (31-12), SMU (55-26), Houston (40-22) and East Carolina (52-29). Last week against the Bulls, the Green Wave were a rare favorite (5.5) and after allowing an early touchdown, they scored 45 unanswered points. The offense was led by Michael Pratt with 311 yards passing, three TDs and one pick. Running back Tyjae Spears rushed for 111 yards with two TDs. But was the defense that stole the show. They held USF to just 174 yards passing and 123 yards rushing on 40 attempts. Defensive coordinator Chris Hampton has the team playing an aggressive style that has allowed them to record 15 sacks over their last four games.

The Green Wave allowed just 10 points in a recent loss to UCF, 20 to Tulsa in overtime and 31 to a high-powered Cincinnati offense. That defense has allowed 433.8 yards per game (102nd) and 265.4 passing yards, though it has improved tremendously over the last few weeks. Maybe some of that has to do with playing Tulsa, UCF and USF, but it's a good sign that the program is improving on that end.

The offense has been solid, averaging 27.5 points per game, 228.5 passing yards (72nd) and 152.2 rushing yards (76th). Pratt has completed 59.3% of his passes for 2,243 yards with 20 TDs and six INTs. Spears leads in rushing with 599 yards (6.1ypc) and seven TDs.

Disappointing season in Memphis

The Tigers have a boatload of talent, but they have won just two conference games. It starts on the defensive end, where they have struggled against the pass (260.4ypg) and the AAC has plenty of strong passing attacks that can take advantage of a weak pass defense. Houston threw for 264 yards last week, though Memphis picked off quarterback Clayton Tune twice. They still allowed 30 points because Tune scored on a 20-yard touchdown run and the Cougars rushed for 198 yards.

On the Memphis side, Seth Henigan struggled, completing 21 of 45 for 208 yards with one TD and two picks. The running game once was dormant as the Tigers rushed for just 106 yards. A talented offense wound up with just one touchdown and two field goals against No. 17 Houston, who has now won 10 straight games.

Hennigan is completing 59.3% of his passes for 2,986 yards with 22 TDs and eight picks. Running back Brandon Thomas leads with 669 yards and eight TDs (5.8ypc). Calvin Austin leads in catches with 72 and receiving yards with 1,1289 (8 TDs). Thomas is listed as questionable with an undisclosed injury. The passing game is elite with Austin (295.4 yards per game, 18th), but the running game is just pedestrian (144.1ypg).

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Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


I like the way the Tulane defense is playing, but the intangibles go to Memphis. They need this win to get to a bowl game. They have one of the best quarterback-wide receiver combos in the American with Hennigan-to-Austin. Tulane has to win with defense since they don't have a very explosive offense. Memphis is a tough team to slow down, especially at home, where they beat SMU on Nov. 6 (28-25). They also put up 35 on Navy so offense isn't a major problem. Take the Tigers to cover

Prediction: Memphis -5.5

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


This is a tougher pick, because you have to factor in how well Tulane's defense has been playing. But it's not like Hennigan hasn't seen pressure before. That same defense allowed 55 points at SMU on Oct. 21. They haven't faced an explosive offense since playing Cincinnati on Oct. 30. It's tough to go under because I don't trust the Memphis defense. They have to outscore most teams because they allow 260 yards in the air per game. Tulane should be able to take advantage and put up the 27.5 points that they average, while Memphis will score well in the 30s, if not 40+ points.

Prediction: Over 57.5

Written By Ben Hayes , "Ben the Pen"

Ben has been a sports writer for over 35 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for nearly 30 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13! Ben has had great success in handicapping college football, the NFL, college basketball, the NBA and MLB for 27+ years. His Twitter handle is @BenHayesWAW