Game-By-Game Predictions for Tulsa's 2014 Season
No, the defense wasn’t overwhelming. It lacked a consistent pass rush, was forced to play freshmen all year in the secondary, and gave up a ton of big plays. But it played with aggression and tenacity, and kept Tulsa in games where it should have been blown out.
There’s little turnover for the defense, meaning it could be improved in every facet and should be stout against the run. But unfortunately, it’s looking like the same ‘ol story for an offensive unit that has completely broken down.
Tulsa’s offense has been built around efficiency, but was completely disoriented at the quarterback position; Cody Green and Dane Evans threw for an average of 6.1 and 4.2 yards per attempt respectively, combining for 11 touchdown passes to 18 interceptions last season.
It’s not a terrible thing to move the ball bit-by-bit, especially when you have a strong defense. However, it’s never a good thing when you’re second-to-last in the FBS in big plays (30-plus yards or more), and the Golden Hurricane don’t seem to have anyone on the roster that can step up and become a go-to playmaker.
Basically, Tulsa isn’t efficient enough to rely on efficiency, which bodes for another long, error-prone, scoring-deficient season. A move to the American Athletic Conference doesn’t help the cause, either, where defenses are slightly better than those of Conference USA.
Welcome to the hot seat, coach Bill Blankenship.
8/28 – vs. Tulane: LOSS
Tulsa was 4-for-15 (26.7 percent) on third down and coughed up the ball four times in a 14-7 loss against Tulane in 2013. Evans does a decent job getting the ball out quickly (which is the whole point of an “efficiency-attack”) but was rattled by the Green Wave’s all-or-nothing defensive approach. This is a bad mismatch.
9/6 – vs. Oklahoma: LOSS
Sorry, but a Top-50 defense can only take you so far. Oklahoma has too many weapons on both side of the ball, and a dominant defensive line with the likes of Charles Tapper and company should disrupt the backfield with ease against a rebuilding Tulsa offensive line. I expect at least one score on defense for the Sooners.
9/13 – at Florida Atlantic: LOSS
FAU won four straight games to end the 2013 season and has a lot of promise under Charlie Partridge, with a huge chance for a bowl bid and possibly even contention for the C-USA East Division. These are two programs heading in different directions.
9/27 – vs. Texas State: WIN
With similar issues on the offensive side of things, Texas State does not have the same level of quality play on defense. If Tulsa wants to win a game this season, it needs to be here.
10/4 – at Colorado State: LOSS
Running back Trey Watts had a lot of success finding space on the ground against Colorado State in a close 30-27 home win last year, but he’s gone and so is the majority of Tulsa offensive line. The Rams get revenge at Sonny Lubick Field.
10/11 – at Temple: LOSS
This is actually not too bad of a matchup for Tulsa, but I’ll take Temple in a tight one for one reason: P.J. Walker.
10/18 – vs. South Florida: LOSS
Ah, the clash of the offensive juggernauts. More like juggerNOTs. Both teams ranked in the 100s in terms of points scored, but I expect USF to have progressed significantly and should be a lot better at moving the ball through the air (which still might not be saying much).
10/31 – at Memphis: LOSS
Memphis will force Tulsa to throw the ball more than it wants to, which will make the Golden Hurricane turnover-prone. There are some real playmakers on the Tigers’ defense that could give Evans quite the headache (both literally and metaphorically).
11/8 – vs. SMU: LOSS
June Jones won’t get the same production from his offense as we’re used to seeing, but it’ll be enough to outscore Tulsa.
11/14 – at Central Florida: LOSS
I would not be surprised to see UCF come away with a shutout here. In fact, I expect it – or at least something very close.
11/22 – at Houston: LOSS
Houston led the country with a +25 turnover margin in 2013 and returns a good amount of players from a defense that flat out made plays. That’s not good news for Tulsa, which gave the ball up a whopping 34 times (t-120th).
11/28 – vs. East Carolina: LOSS
While Evans and a lackluster receiving corps might actually be able to find some success (and efficiency!!!) against a feeble ECU secondary, there’s just no way they’ll be able to keep up with a Pirate offense that has the potential to finish the season Top 10 in points scored.
2014 Tulsa Projected Record: 1-11 (0-8)
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