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Schedule and Odds
Tulsa has to build on an 11-win season with half of their starters gone. The good news is that their top skill players are back. On the other end of that, they only return three players on the defensive end where they excelled at in 2012. The Golden Hurricane face an uphill battle, but their league schedule should help with that.
Even with some starters missing, there's no reason to think Tulsa will stop scoring points almost at will against C-USA opponents. Cody Green is back under center where he did enough to get the job done last year. A 54.4 completion percentage along with 17 TDs and 11 INTs don't stand out, but they are more of a running team anyway with a spread offense. Leading rusher (1,108 yards) Trey Watts is back along with Ja'Terian Douglas (936 yards). Someone will have to step in for the bruiser Alex Singleton (24 TDs) though who was mainly a short yardage threat. Going even further, Tulsa returns its top three receiving targets, most notably Keyarris Garrett who led the team in all categories. The question with this unit will be the offensive line that returns only two starters. They have enough skill to overcome any deficiency upfront, but they won't be as good if the line struggles.
The defense has much more to do with a lot of new players in the mix, including five underclassmen being labeled as early starters. The entire line is gone along with three starting defensive backs. They will have to build around all-conference talents in linebacker Shawn Jackson and safety Marco Nelson.
2013 Tulsa Football Schedule
Aug. 29 at Bowling Green
Sept. 7 vs. Colorado State
Sept. 14 at Oklahoma
Sept. 26 vs. Iowa State
Oct. 5 vs. Rice
Oct. 12 at UTEP
Oct. 26 at Tulane
Nov. 2 vs. UTSA
Nov. 9 at East Carolina
Nov. 14 vs. Marshall
Nov. 23 at Louisiana Tech
Nov. 30 vs. North Texas
The Golden Hurricane will face a tougher non-conference schedule this year which could make things tough to reach 10 wins again. A back-to-back with a couple Big 12 schools will be rough and their opener at Bowling Green will be harder than it looks on paper. Getting that opening win will be important for Tulsa.
Their conference opener game against Rice could eventually decide the West champion. The Owls return almost all of their starters from a team that only lost by four points at Tulsa last year. The rest of Tulsa's schedule is pretty straight forward with a road game at East Carolina being a possible preview for the C-USA title game. It will be a tough game for the Golden Hurricane, especially for their defense.
Reaching last year's levels will be extremely tough for Tulsa, but they have some pieces that can put them on top of the West in their final C-USA campaign. If all goes well and the defense doesn't become a major let down, nine or 10 wins should be a good prediction.
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