The Broncos face a difficult (or is it?) road test tomorrow night against Tulsa under the bright lights of ESPN. Boise State is coming off a quasi-bye week and a lackluster performance against UC Davis—We'll call Tulsa's 27-10 win over Rice lackluster as well since Rice is 0-5 and Navy hung 60+ on them. Tulsa is known to sling it and Boise State will do well to reconnect with their week 1 defense. The last time Boise State and Tulsa met, in 2004, both teams were in the WAC and it took a last second field goal to seal the win for the good guys (us). Tulsa has only improved since 2004...fortunately, so have the Broncos. Needless to say, there is a lot to be learned about this week's foe (don't worry, Kellen Moore already knows their defense intimately)...so let's all give the Golden Hurricane a closer look through the magic of factoids and childish jokes. It's time to get to know your enemy, Bronco Nation...so take notes.
Ten things Bronco fans probably didn't know about Tulsa or their dusty, drawling den
10) The University of Tulsa was actually founded in Muskogee, Indian Territory in 1882 as a Presbyterian boarding school for Indian girls. Later, in 1894, the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian church elevated the school's status and renamed it the Henry Kendall College, after the Home Missions general secretary. Financial difficulties saw the college pull up stakes and move to oil-rich Tulsa in 1907 (the same year Oklahoma became a state). A few years later, Tulsa was planning on creating a new college named after local oilman Robert McFarlin, but didn't want to compete with Kendall College. An alliance was born, and the University of Tulsa got its start in November of 1920. Just your basic Presbyterian School for Indian Girls-to-riches story, really.
9) Tulsa is home to what is claimed to be the largest free-standing statue in the world. At 76-feet tall, the Golden Driller (must everything be "golden" in Tulsa?) features an enormous "Tulsa" emblazoned belt buckle and was built for the 1953 International Petroleum Exhibition (great corndogs I've heard). Now standing at the entrance to the County Fairgrounds,the statue, which is dedicated to the oil industry, was voted "quirkiest destination spot" in a 2006 contest. Throw in "statue most likely to be spat upon by Al Gore" accolades and the Golden Driller really has come into its own.
"I can see your house from here"
8) The University of Tulsa has the first on-campus mosque in the United States...which brings to mind a joke that I read on a Laffy Taffy Ghadafi (the Middle East's top-selling candy) wrapper: What is the most pious blood-sucking insect in the Amazon? A mosque-ito.
7) Houston, we have a problem. The University of Houston holds 4 of the top 6 spots for the most points given up by the Tulsa football program all time. As recently as last year, Tulsa allowed the Cougars to drop 70 points on them and in 1968, Houston hit the century mark against the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa's 1968 smackdown might've been karma served cold for the squad as 50 years earlier they'd been on the winning end of a 152-0 beating of Oklahoma Baptist. If you beat a baptist that bad, that's what you get...just ask Salome.
6) The coach with the highest win percentage (86%) in Tulsa history is a fellow named Francis A. Schmidt who coached the squad from 1919 to 1921. Schmidt got his start at Tulsa, but became a bit of a journeyman after, with stops at Arkansas, TCU, and Ohio State before finishing his career at Idaho in 1941 and 1942. Schmidt was successful wherever he went and was fond of running up the score, causing the press to give him the brevity-hating nickname of Francis "Close the gates of mercy" Schmidt. Not surprisingly, Schmidt's only bad stint came at Idaho, where his career fizzled out to the tune of 7-12 in two years at the helm. I said he was successful, I didn't say he was a miracle worker.
5) Prior to 1994, Tulsa's mascot was known as "Huffy", but afterwards was reborn as "Captain Cane". Originally an anthropomorphic hurricane with a red cape and a head shaped like a Frosted Mini Wheat—Captain Cane was reborn last month as a square-jawed, lumpy superhero that wields a lightning shaped "storm summoning sword" and wears platform shoes. My next five Halloween outfits are now set.
4) Dr. Phil attended the University of Tulsa in the late 60s. It was there that he met his mustache, who was playing noseguard on the Tulsa football team at the time. They've been inseparable ever since.
"That dog don't hunt"
3) Prior to 1922, Tulsa's nickname status was still in limbo. The school had been competing for years under a variety of different monikers including: the Kendallites, the Presbyterians, the Tigers, the Orange, and the Black (that's right...they went black and went back). The nickname "Golden Tornadoes" was picked in the early 20s and looked like a winner until it was found out that Georgia Tech (now the Yellow Jackets) had already snagged the name. Not wanting to miss their "golden" opportunity, the university tried out other golden weather phenomena (not showers, hopefully) before landing on the stately hurricane. The name stuck, despite the fact that Tulsa is landlocked and a hurricane couldn't possibly hit there. The weak economy had school officials briefly flirting with sending their nickname into Cash4Gold.com and just becoming the Hurricane, but they decided to just have a yard sale instead.
2) In the 1930s, a lad named Paul Aurandt attended the University of Tulsa. While attending school, he worked nights at the KVOO radio station and later became a program director there. Big deal, right? Well, this fellow's middle name was Harvey...and that's the professional surname he chose when he went into broadcasting full-time. And now you know...the rrrrest of the story. Good day.
1) Tulsa plays their home football games at Skelly Field (now located at H.A. Chapman Stadium). The field is named, like most things at Tulsa, after an oilman...specifically William Grove Skelly, the founder of Skelly Oil. Skelly Oil (now Texaco) was a major player from the early 1919 until about 1977. Skelly's main claim to fame in their heyday? They were the title sponsor of the radio serials The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen and Captain Midnight. What...no Captain Cane?