Nov 27, 201808:05 AM
Full Sport Press
'The games we play in New Orleans and beyond'
Tulane is bowl-bound!
Parker Waters - tulanegreenwave.com
Thanksgiving weekend in New Orleans is sort of like St. Patty’s Day — seemingly infinite. The days blur into a hodgepodge (or should I say mod podge?) of turkey, football, horse racing, complaining about everyone rushing into the Christmas season, and day drinking at Ms. Mae’s. It just gets foggy, folks. So, here are some things that might have happened.
Tulane Goes Bowling
Start with the craziest one, right? Unbelievably, the Green Wave are going to a bowl game. And, yes, I did go back on Sunday and check that this actually happened. For the second year straight, Tulane’s bowl dreams came down to their final possession and, unlike last year, they didn’t get robbed by the referees. Oddly enough, they almost robbed themselves, which actually isn’t odd at all. This is just a team no mere mortal can figure out.
Coach Fritz and Tulane rolled the dice and converted a two-point conversion in the final minute to knock off Navy 29-28 and finish the season 6-6. The Green Wave had led 21-3 at halftime before almost nose diving into a sad offseason. Luckily, Tulane woke up in time to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2013.
Guerry Smith of The Advocate compiled this list of bowl possibilities. The list includes such tantalizing names as the Cherry Bowl, the Cure Bowl for you Robert Smith fans, the Frisco Bowl and something called the Gasparilla Bowl. The bowl game could be played in the courtyard of Pat O’Brien’s for all Uptown cares. Everything is roses at this point with Tulane. They’ve jumped a significant hurdle in Fritz’s third year. Roll Wave.
Nicholls State Returns to FCS Playoffs
Chase Fourcade, the Southland Conference player of the year, lived up to that honor in the #13 Nicholls State Colonels (9-3) first playoff victory in 32 years. Fourcade kept the San Diego Toreros off-balance throughout the night in Thibodaux by not only going for 337 yards and two touchdowns through the air but also adding 95 yards on the ground and another two touchdowns.
Shout out to Coach Tim Rebowe, who inherited a program that was in absolute shambles, vanquished an 18-game losing streak in 2015, surpassed the perennial powers McNeese State and Sam Houston State and has now taken the Colonels to the FCS Playoffs the past two years. That’s a heckuva three-year run.
The Colonels move into the “Sweet 16” round of the FCS Playoffs and will head out west to take on the #3 Eastern Washington Eagles (9-2). Kickoff is at 4 p.m. on Dec. 1. There is no overlap in opponents so it is hard to tell what the Colonels are in for but the Eagles did take Washington State into the fourth quarter only trailing 35-24 earlier this year. Look for a shootout.
Thanksgiving at The Fair Grounds
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for celebrating Thanksgiving at the Fair Grounds, the unofficial opening of the horse racing season in New Orleans. Sure, Nov. 15 was officially the opening day but Thanksgiving is the day to be at races.
Along with our friends, festooned in hats and dressed to the nines, we did our part. We met at 10 a.m., for a brunch picnic in City Park. Champagne bubbles were greeted with smiles and Happy Thanksgivings were thrown about with beers and shots of bourbon. After turkey with all of the trimmings, our merry band made its way to the venerable track and into the large crowd around noon (I think) and I’m sure plenty of suspect bets followed thereafter (I think). In short, it was another beautiful day in New Orleans.
Now you’re sad that you spent Thanksgiving listening to Uncle Larry retell his “The Season We Won It All,” football story for at least the 13th time. Fret not my friends. I assure you half of that story never happened and, better yet, there are still a few big days on the racing calendar at the Fair Grounds.
If you’re a fan of the Kentucky Derby trail make sure not to miss the Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 19, the Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 16 and the biggest race of the year at the Fair Grounds, the Louisiana Derby on March 23. All three races will help determine the Kentucky Derby field and, hell, maybe you’ll see the next Justify or American Pharoah along the way. See you at the rail.
Saints Closing In On Division Title
The Saints are picking up accolades at a phenomenal pace at this point in the season and Thursday night’s game in Dallas versus “America’s Team” will likely serve as the national coronation of the Saints being the team to beat this year.
However, there is still a ton of hard football to be played with a schedule that is positively relentless. With only five games to go the Saints still have three games (at least) against teams likely to join them in the playoffs. Two of those are against the Carolina Panthers who will be fighting for a wild card. A game versus the always-deadly Pittsburgh Steelers is sandwiched between the pair of Carolina games as well. That’s yet another nasty stretch in the schedule but, hey, its worked out so far.
Now bring on that Christmas music!
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Squatters Brewing “Hop Rising” Double IPA
Playlist Recommendation: Squirrel Nut Zippers – “Hot Christmas”
Around the Way
The New Orleans Pelicans are sitting in the eighth spot of the West at 10-10. As with any team at the .500 mark some nights are great and others … not so much. But it’s a fun product to check out on the court with Anthony Davis playing at an MVP level as usual.
The coolest thing about the NBA in New Orleans is the price of tickets. You can get into a game for only nine bucks! That’s less than a beer at the Super Dome. Go!