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Tulsa vs. Tulane: Preview & Prediction

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The Golden Hurricane opens their campaign for redemption against former Conference-USA foe Tulane. The Green Wave also made the move from C-USA to the AAC this offseason in search of a more stable conference.

This game is a rarity for TU as the Golden Hurricane hasn't opened the season at home since 2006; a 45-7 win over Stephen F. Austin.

The Hurricane will look for better luck on this Thursday night than they had last season when they went 0-3 in such contests. TU has an all-time record of 65-48-1 in season openers and will look for win No. 66 in just a few hours.

RELATED STORY: Devon Walker's Return To Tulsa Gives Football Proper Perspective

Scouting The Green Wave

This is a new year and a new conference, and for Tulane, it might not go quite as well. The Wave lost its top quarterback (Nick Montana), running back (Orleans Darkwa) and wide receiver (Ryan Grant) from last season. In addition, Tulane will only return five defensive starters.

We were expecting to see senior running back Robert Kelley shoulder the load offensively, but that won't be the case on Thursday night. Kelley has been suspended indefinitely for criminal charges surrounding a stolen bicycle.

In other words, don't expect the Green Wave offense to be a smooth operation.

Prior to last season's 7-6 finish, Tulane hadn't registered a winning season since 2002. The Green Wave is looking to establish a winning tradition and that starts by stringing together back-to-back winning campaigns.

How Tulsa Can Win

Normally in this section, you'll read about game-planning and tactical strategy, but it's hard to give an accurate scouting report for two teams with so many question marks. But, you, the reader, deserves more than the generic “protect the ball and play good defense” bailout line.

So for Week 1, it's more important for the Golden Hurricane to discover who they are. TU needs to see if Dane Evans can really be the “franchise” quarterback. They need to sort through the pack of running backs and discover who they can rely on to shoulder the load. They need to find out whether a veteran defense can hold the fort until the younger offense figures things out.

With that said, Evans likely holds the key to this game. TU went most of last season with terrible quarterback play. The Hurricane needs stability at that position if they want to beat quality teams like Tulane.

Prediction

The Golden Hurricane will have history on their side – TU's all-time record against the Wave is an impressive 8-2. Also, the last time Tulsa opened the season against Tulane was on a Friday night in 2009. TU ran away with that game, 37-13.

There will be a lot riding on this one. Revenge from last season, a Thursday-night season-opener on national television, not to mention TU's first-ever AAC contest.

I think Tulsa takes care of business on the home turf. TU wins, 27-21

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