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Roll Green Wave

With an illustrious roster of Tulane University Football alums there’s no doubt the university can produce quality players. But can they win games this year?

Head Coach Bob Toledo, heading into his second season coaching at TU, has a decent record. The 62-year-old San Jose, Calif., native heads into 2008 for his second season coaching The Wave. Toledo has coached a few teams in his day: Cal Riverside, USC, University of the Pacific, Oregon, Texas A&M and UCLA, and more than 10 subsequent bowl games. A dismal stint at U. Pac., in the 1980s stunted Toledo’s .520 pct. career record, totaling 82 wins and 76 losses over 14 years of coaching.

Toledo’s first season with the Wave in 2007 admittedly wasn’t that great – 4 wins (3 conference, 1 non) – to 8 losses. Toledo and the Wave’s latest initiative has been focused on new player recruitment, namely Louisiana athletes. This measure, Tulane’s Associate Director of Athletics/External Affairs Travis Goff says, was devised to boost fan attendance at games.

This season, Tulane plays four conference games at home in the Superdome: East Carolina, Southern Methodist University, Rice, Army (at Tad Gormley stadium) and University of Alabama at Birmingham. Opposing last year’s schedule, East Carolina is first on deck for Tulane’s 2008 season. Last year, playing at East Carolina for the last game of the season, Tulane lost 12-35. The Pirates edged out a close one in ’04 too, beating TU 27-25, a turnaround from the ’03 28-18 loss to Tulane. It’s anyone’s game.

Not necessarily the same case for Tulane vs. SMU. Last year, the Green Wave won 41-34 in overtime at SMU in October. (However Tulane did kick serious SMU ass at a Dallas game in ‘05, winning 31-10.)

 Tulane vs. Rice, now there’s a happy history. The Wave won at Rice in Nov. 2007, 45-31, and at home against the Owls, 38-24, in ’06.

Tulane vs. UAB seems a historically even match-up: The UAB Blazers barely squeaked out a win on their home turf, beating out the Wave 21-26 in 2007. UAB proved to be very rude guests in ’04, beating the Wave 27-25, homecoming weekend.

Hopefully Tulane will earn redemption on October 4 ,when they play a televised game against Army at Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park. Army squeaked by with a three-point victory over Tulane in Oct. 2007, an outcome that can certainly be reversed with the ’08 game’s home advantage.

Tulane’s November 1 game against LSU at Baton Rouge is another match-up guaranteed to be a Battle Royale. (They’re even busing in the marching band for this one.) The Tigers have beaten Tulane in some painful games in the past (34-9 vs. LSU at home in 2007, 34-9 at LSU in ’06) but hopefully the Wave will step it up this year and finally turn it around … with a little support from New Orleans fans, that is.

Tulane is offering a bunch of discounts on 2008 football tickets: Season tickets are $180 for sideline, $90 for end zone and $72 for youth end zone. Families can purchase season family pack tickets – 2 adults, 2 youths – for just $240, guaranteeing seating for your brood in one of four designated family zones. Recent (four years ago or less) Tulane graduates are being offered 50 percent discounts – grads can get season tickets for $90 on the sideline or $45 at the end zone.

Single game tickets go on sale August 18. Cost will be $30 for a sideline seat, $15 for end zone. Tickets can be ordered through Ticketmaster, the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-9283 (WAVE), or at the Superdome (game days only).

Formed in 1995, Conference USA currently comprises 12 member schools, each with Division I-A football: East Carolina University, University of Houston, Marshall University, University of Memphis, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, University of Southern Mississippi, Tulane University, University of Tulsa, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Central Florida and University of Texas at El Paso. The U.S. Military Academy (Army) was briefly a football member from 1997-2005.

C-USA is split into eastern and western divisions, six teams on each. During the regular season, each C-USA team plays 8 conference games – 5 against the teams in their own division, 3 against teams from the opposing division. The best two teams in each conference then battle it out at the C-USA Championships, hosted by the team with the greater overall record.

To bring it home, the New Orleans Saints have a few former C-USA stars including side receiver Terrance Copper and safety Rocky Schwartz, from East Carolina; Mike McKenzie, defensive back from Memphis; and defensive tackle Brian Young from UTEP, just to name a few.

Tulane alone has contributed their fair share to pro teams. Take for example 2008 second round draft pick Matt Forté, running back. After fighting down the field for the Olive and Blue, Forté is now with the Chicago Bears.

Then of course there’s first-round pick J.P. Losman, quarterback, drafted to the Buffalo Bills in 2004. (Losman’s Tulane teammate, running back Mewelde Moore, was drafted to the Minnesota Vikings that same year.)

2006 draftee Anthony Cannon, linebacker, went to the Detroit Lions. 2005 fourth round draft pick Roydell Williams, wide receiver, left the Big Easy to join the Tennessee Titans. The Denver Broncos scooped up Patrick Ramsey, Lester Ricard became a free agent and Israel Route is now a cornerback for the Detroit Lions.

“There was no marching band at Tulane for three decades,” Barry Spanier, director of the Tulane University Marching Band, said, noting the newness of his program. “We began our rebuilding effort in 2005, but that first season was cancelled due to Katrina.”

Now embarking upon their third football season, Spanier said he expects to have 65 or more band members, with 14 trumpeters in the band’s single largest section.
After auditions (completed by many high school seniors, as early January, while visiting Tulane’s campus as prospective students), the pace picks up 10-fold.

Band and color guard members report to campus as early as Aug. 11 for Band Camp (through Aug. 23) and are kept busy with full schedules from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Once classes start, band members have to hit three practices a week, including a weekly Friday afternoon (aka Happy Hour at The Boot). These trumpeting troopers are even hitting the road with the team, heading to Houston and Baton Rouge in November. Talk about team spirit!

When asked if the TUMB has surprises in store for 2008, Spanier replied, “Yes, but we need to keep them surprises!”

For more details, visit  at www.tulane.edu/~band

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