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Tulsa kind of came out of nowhere in 2016 – with the help of a favorable schedule – to finish second in the West division, one game behind Navy. The Golden Hurricane managed a 10-3 overall record that included a blowout bowl win over Central Michigan. With a new quarterback, expectations may be a bit lower, but with the West wide open, Tulsa can’t be completely discredited in the division.

Replacing quarterback Dane Evans is the obvious issue for an offense that was one of the best in the country, scoring 42.5 points per game and 527 yards per contest. To help in the process, the Tulsa offensive line may be one of the best in the conference with four starters back, which means the Golden Hurricane will likely run the ball plenty again with D’Angelo Brewer (1,425 yards, 7 TDs). Quarterback will be decided in the fall between two inexperienced players in Chad President and Luke Skipper. Both got plenty of praise in the spring, but with neither taking the job, they couldn’t have been that overwhelming. Receiver will have some new faces as well, which doesn’t help, as Justin Hobbs (685 yards) and Keenen Johnson (305 yards) step into bigger roles.

If the offense can’t reach last year’s levels, that means the defense will have to pick it up, which is far from a guarantee for this team. The Golden Hurricane have been average defensively for a while and that will probably be the case again. The line will be a strong suit with senior ends Jeremy Smith and Jesse Brubaker expected to cause plenty of quarterbacks’ issues. A couple sophomores will be asked to start at linebacker along with senior Craig Suits. The secondary should be improved with three starters returning including at corner with Kerwin Thomas and Reggie Robinson. Yet, Tulsa’s defense has never been relied upon, so there’s no reason to start now.

Once again, Tulsa has a tough non-conference game with a trip to OK State standing out and the road game at Toledo also being quietly difficult. Helping in their quest to win the West division, Tulsa hosts Navy, Houston and Memphis, its biggest competition and where two of last year’s losses came from. Of course, a trip to USF will probably be a loss, but their other three road games are winnable.

If the Golden Hurricane can figure out quarterback, they’ll remain competitive, but it’s hard to see this group stealing the West division from one of the other teams even with decent schedule. Eight wins is a good starting point for Tulsa with a new quarterback and betting on more than that would require the offense to be just as good as a year ago.


2017 Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football Schedule

Aug. 31 at Oklahoma State
Sept. 9 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Sept. 16 at Toledo
Sept. 23 vs. New Mexico

Sept. 30 vs. Navy
Oct. 7 at Tulane
Oct. 14 vs. Houston

Oct. 21 at Connecticut
Oct. 27 at SMU
Nov. 3 vs. Memphis
Nov. 16 at South Florida
Nov. 25 vs. Temple

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