The Tulsa Golden Hurricane won yet another Conference USA Title in 2013. They beat UCF 23-21 in their second-to-last game during the regular season to clinch the West Division. They would then go on to beat UCF 33-27 (OT) again in the conference championship game.

With only 10 returning starters for head coach Bill Blankenship, he’ll have his work cut out for him in 2013 to get the Golden Hurricane back to the C-USA Title Game. The good news is that many of his top playmakers are back on offense, which will at least give them a chance to repeat.

Seven starters return to an offense that put up 34.7 points and 457 total yards per game last year. Leading the way will be QB Cody Green, who threw for 2,592 yards and 17 touchdowns to 11 interceptions last year, while also rushing for 283 yards and 4 scores. Also back are the top two rushers in Trey Watts (1,108 yards, 3 TD) and Ja’Terian Douglas (936 yards, 7 TD), as well as the top three receivers from a year ago, including Keyarris Garrett (67 receptions, 845 yards, 9 TD).

The biggest concern comes on the other side of the ball. Tulsa only returns three starters from a unit that gave up 23.6 points and 348 total yards per game in 2012. In fact, it loses seven of its top nine tacklers, including DeAundre Brown (125 tackles, 17 for loss), Dexter McCoil (91 tackles, 5 INT) and Jared St. John (49 tackles, 11.5 sacks). The top returnee is senior LB Shawn Jackson (88 tackles, 10.5 for loss).

Last Season
C-USA West
ATS Record
Points For
Points Against
2013 Schedule
2013 Tulsa Golden Hurricane Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
8/31 @ Bowling Green
9/7 Colorado State
9/14 @ Oklahoma
9/26 Iowa State
10/5 Rice
10/12 @ UTEP
10/26 @ Tulane
11/2 UTSA
11/9 @ East Carolina
11/14 Marshall
11/23 @ Louisiana Tech
11/30 North Texas
Estimated Wins: 7.52

The non-conference schedule is far from easy. Tulsa will square off against four quality opponents in Bowling Green, Colorado State, Oklahoma and Iowa State. It will be an underdog in two, and a favorite in two.

Tulsa got a terrible break in the Conference USA schedule as it drew the top two teams from the East in Marshall and East Carolina. That fact alone will make it tough for it to repeat as conference champions.

However, the Golden Hurricane do get two of their toughest three conference games at home. They will host both Marshall and West contender Rice, while having to travel to take on East Carolina.

The rest of the conference schedule is pretty easy. They will host UTSA, and North Texas, while going on the road to face UTEP, Tulane and Louisiana Tech. There’s a good chance they go 5-0 in that slate of games.

Odds (Courtesy of Bovada)
Regular Season Win Total
C-USA Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
2 to 1
2500 to 1
Season Predictions

Tulsa has been the most consistent team in Conference USA over the last several seasons. Year in and year out, it seems to find its way into the Conference USA Title Game while winning the West.

Blankenship will certainly have his work cut out for him in 2013 in trying to get the Golden Hurricane back to the title game. That’s because only 10 starters come back from last year’s squad.

The offense will at least match last year’s numbers with seven starters back, but the defense is sure to take a big hit. There’s no way that Tulsa can match its numbers on defense from a year ago with only three starters back. It loses arguably its three best players in Brown, McCoil and St. John, not to mention Cory Dorris (51 tackles, 10 for loss) and Daeshon Bufford (44 tackles, 9.5 for loss). It will have four new starters along the defensive line, and three in the secondary.

While the Golden Hurricane get key games at home against Rice and Marshall, I have them losing at least one of those contests. I also have them falling at East Carolina. After a 2-2 record in non-conference play, that leaves Tulsa at 8-4 and in second place in Conference USA’s West Division in 2013, just behind a superior Rice team.

2013 Projections
C-USA West
C-USA Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
Under 8.5
More College Football Predictions
Conference USA