Why the Independence Bowl Should Root Against Tulane
A late-season collapse could have Tulane bowling in Shreveport for the first time since the Reagan Administration.
This past Saturday’s UCF-Tulane game may have had the most national implications of any game in the Group of Five. Tulane could have distanced themselves further in the Race to the Cotton Bowl with a win, while a UCF win would re-enter them into the New Year’s Six discussion. UCF defeated Tulane of course, and the blow ton Tulane may have been significant. The big winner in all of this, may not have even been UCF, but the Independence Bowl.
Tulane is still in the New Year’s Six conversation, but there is a good chance the Green Wave may not even play for the AAC title as they travel to Cincinnati on Black Friday in a defacto AAC playoff game. The Independence Bowl looks to be the Green Wave’s biggest suitors. In addition to the close proximity of Tulane to Shreveport, the Green Wave have not played in the Independence Bowl since 1987. This is despite the bowl featuring an AAC team in 2018 when the bowl opted for Temple instead of 6-6 Tulane.
Furthermore, the bowl is more attractive than it was at the beginning of the season now that Army looks to be out of contention. Earlier this month, the Sun Belt and Independence Bowl announced a backup tie-in, likely due to Army’s 3-4 record at the time of the announcement. Army is now 3-6 and needs to win out and for there to not be enough bowl eligible schools since they defeated two FCS programs.
The Independence Bowl could court Tulane by enticing one of the Sun Belt’s division champs to play in the game, whether that be Coastal Carolina, who is currently 9-1, or Troy or South Alabama, who are both 8-2. However, Tulane could be wanting to play a Power Five school if they do not reach the New Year’s Six. Tulane has not played a current Power Five school in a bowl game since the 1987 Independence Bowl against Washington.
While an Independence Bowl berth may seem like a sad consolation for Tulane, the potential of a faux New Year’s Six game has to be an enticing possibility for the Shreveport bowl. Having a matchup such as Coastal Carolina-Tulane would signify the bowl’s re-emergence to national relevance, especially after hosting #13 BYU the year before. Additionally, having Tulane play in the bowl again is decades overdue and would do wonders for the bowl’s attendance. It may seem odd, but it is in the Independence Bowl’s best interest to lose.