Boise State 2009 opponent preview: Tulsa

Boise State's nonconference schedule is not all cupcakes and warm fuzzies. There is some meat to it. Somewhere.

The question for Tulsa is which category they fall into.

Last year's top college offense, Tulsa is known to put points on the scoreboard in a big way, has made a living the last two years at the top of the conference, and looks to be a perennial contender in CUSA for years to come. Meat. At the same time, the Golden defense is sieve-like, there's no clear-cut quarterback, and they'll be replacing their highly regarded offensive coordinator with their line coach. Cupcake.

Tulsa could put up a good fight when the Broncos travel down to Oklahoma in October. Or they could roll over to the Kellsy machine and a dominant Bronco defense. We'll see. But at the very least, the Golden Hurricane is no cupcake. They might be more like a Kwanzaa cake.

Wins in 2008: 11
Pythagorean Wins in 2008: 9.9
Translation: Tulsa overachieved and wasn't as good as it looked
Returning starters: Offense: 5, Defense: 8
Strength of Schedule: 86
Recruiting ranking 2005-2009: 82, 83, 92, 86, 73 (nat'l ranking from Scout.com)

Five questions

Tom Scott would like to know if local boy Jacob Bower will be Tulsa's starting quarterback this season because he has some pretty good anecdotes he'd like to work into his Scott Slant.

I wish I could give you an answer, but the truth is that no one knows who Tulsa's quarterback will be on September 4 at Tulane. Bower, a star junior college transfer, is certainly in the mix. So, too, is Texas transfer G.J. Kinne and stud recruit Shavodrick Beaver, who somewhat famously decommitted from Michigan. Regardless of who is chosen, Tulsa should be in fine shape. The Scott Slant, I'm not so sure.

Tulsa's defense is bad. No?

Well, it's not good. The Golden Hurricane gave up nearly 30 points per game and 250 passing yards per game and allowed Houston to hang a 70-spot on them in an important late-season conference showdown. They play a rare 3-3-5, which is awfully kind of them because opposing offenses seem to love it. The biggest challenge this season will be creating a pass rush out of thin air, considering the team returns zero of its starting ends and moved a former end to nose tackle. Or they can just scrap the whole defense thing and hope to defeat opponents 60-56 every week.

Is the Tulsa - Boise State game the greatest interconference, non-BCS matchup of the entire season?

Quite possibly, assuming I used the term "interconference" correctly. I fully expect Graham Watson to be in attendance.

Anyone on Tulsa's offense I should know about?

Here's one: WR Damaris Johnson. The sophomore had a great true freshman season, finishing fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards. Here's another: FB Charles Clay. I hear he's good, for a fullback. And one more: WR Slick Shelley. Fortunately for him, Tulsa passes a lot.

Who is Tulsa's most famous alumnus?

Only Mr. The Rest of the Story himself, Paul Harvey

Schedule around the Boise State game

  • 9/23 vs. Sam Houston State
  • 10/3 @ Rice
  • 10/14 vs. Boise State
  • 10/21 @ UTEP

By the numbers

  • 1-6 - Tulsa's record when scoring 30 or fewer points over the past two years
  • 21-1 - Tulsa's record when scoring more than 30 points over the past two years
  • 32 - passing touchdowns allowed by Tulsa last season

Tulsa has the tools to cause many Bronco fans many a restless night prior to the game in mid-October. Even worse, the Wednesday night showdown is preceded on the Broncos' schedule by UC Davis on October 3, making the Bowling Green visit on September 26 the last competitive game until Tulsa nearly three weeks later.

Does the Golden Hurricane have the tools to pull off the upset? Most likely. The pieces are in place on a potent offense, and with eight returning starters on defense, that unit should be improved from a year ago.

Will the Golden Hurricane be able to make those tools work against the Broncos? There's the real question. Boise State was stellar at shutting down spread offenses, and the Broncos can hit the Hurricane early and often through the air. The matchup doesn't seem to be in Tulsa's favor, but a lot can happen between now and October 14.

At the very least, expect Graham Watson to call the game a pick 'em.

Perfect situation:
Tulsa hangs tight with Oklahoma and Boise State, sweeps the CUSA, and goes big-time bowling

Reality:
Oklahoma kills them, Boise State kills them, Houston slips past them, and the Golden Hurricane go podunk bowling

Final record:
8-4

Previous previews of 2009 opponents: Oregon. Miami (Ohio). Bowling Green. UC Davis. Still to come: the WAC.

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