• SMU Linked With #2 Cincinnati’s College Football Playoff Bid
  • Looks Like a Potential Mismatch
  • The American Has More Ranked Teams Than the Pac-12

Although there is a game between Tulane and SMU Thursday night, the bigger story looming over college football is the prospect of Cincinnati becoming the first team from a Group of Five conferences to crash the College Football Playoff (CFP) party. Currently, Cincinnati is 6-0 and ranked second in the nation, but is heading toward a showdown with undefeated and 21st ranked SMU on the next to last weekend of the regular season. 

For that game to have its highest impact, SMU has to continue to win, beginning with a win over a Tulane team that is winless in the American Athletic Conference and has an overall record of 1-5. On paper, the contest looks lopsided as SMU looks to stay in the rankings and even sneak up into the top Group of Five spot by the end of the season from a conference that has more ranked teams than the Power Five Pac-12.

Tulane vs SMU Matchup at a Glance

  • Sport: College Football
  • Teams: Tulane at SMU
  • Where: Dallas, Texas, Gerald J. Ford Stadium
  • Date: October 21
  • Betting Odds: at PointsBet
    • Spread: Tulane +14 (-110), SMU -14 (-110)
    • Moneyline: Tulane +410, SMU -560
    • Total: 70.5 (-110 o/u)

Tulane Preview: Just Can’t Stop Anyone

In their five losses to FBS teams, Tulane has allowed an average of 44 points a game, and that includes holding UAB to 28 points. Even when their 69-20 thrashing of FCS Morgan State is counted in the numbers, they are still 127th out of 130 FBS teams in the number of points given up per game and only nine are giving up more total yards per game than Tulane.

The Green Wave is respectable offensively, but since that offensive explosion in Week 2, they’ve failed to break the 30 point barrier and have lost by an average of 22 points. If they can’t figure out a way to slow down SMU, Tulane will have a difficult time winning a shootout without more offensive firepower.

SMU Preview: The Mustangs Could Be Underrated

Even though SMU is 21st in the polls, they may actually be better than their ranking indicates. They have a significant 42-34 win over TCU from the Big 12 and despite a 31-24 scare from Navy in their last outing, SMU is 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference while putting up almost 41 points a game, 10th in the country.

Head coach Sonny Dykes runs a balanced offense that is seventh in the nation in total yards per game at 513, with 197 of that coming on the ground for an average of 5.2 yards per attempt. If they continue to execute without turning the ball over the way they did against the Navy when they allowed the Midshipmen to score on a recovered fumble, SMU should be able to take care of business against Tulane.

Odds & Free Betting Analysis for This College Football Game

The line for this game is probably influenced by the close score of SMU’s result against Nave as well as Tulane’s comeback bid against Oklahoma in Week 1 when the Green Wave stormed back from a 37-14 halftime deficit to fall short 40-35. Neither outcome was indicative of the way these teams have played in their other games, so a victory by SMU to beat the spread is likely, although that total of 70.5 will be difficult for these teams to get to. 

Tulane vs SMU Pick

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Kevin Krest is the author of the PK Frazier series of four novels and the Beyond the Commentary blog with over 500 posts about the world of sports. Kevin covers golf, football and horse racing for and holds media credentials from the USGA, PGA, LPGA and Oaklawn Park.
As a media member, Kevin has attended and written in depth pieces about the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women's Open and several other LPGA and PGA Tour Champions events.