TU Football To Open Season Against American Athletic Foe

Tuesday, March 11th 2014, 4:23 pm
By: News On 6

The University of Tulsa wastes no time in getting right into American Athletic Conference competition in its inaugural season in the conference. Tulsa kicks off the 2014 campaign at home against another new league member, the Tulane Green Wave, the first weekend of the college football season.

Tulsa's 2014 schedule features two teams that captured BCS Bowl victories and finished the season ranked among the nation's top-10 last year. Oklahoma defeated No. 3-ranked Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, while UCF defeated No. 6-ranked Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and finished the season ranked 10th in the final Associated Press poll.

Tulane (R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl), Colorado State (New Mexico Bowl), Houston (BBVA Compass Bowl) and East Carolina (Beef O'Brady's Bowl) also played in bowl games in 2013.

"We have a really competitive non-conference schedule highlighted by Oklahoma at Chapman Stadium, and road games at Colorado State and Florida Atlantic," said Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship. "We're excited about moving into the American Athletic Conference this season and renewing some old rivalries with teams like Houston, Memphis, SMU, and UCF and continuing rivalries with Tulane and East Carolina."

"It will be fun to begin a new rivalry with first-time opponent South Florida and to renew a series against Temple, a game that hasn't been played since the 1980s," added Blankenship.

Tulsa will play three home games in the first month of the season. The season opener has Tulsa facing Tulane to kick off the 2014 campaign at H.A. Chapman Stadium. The game is set for Saturday, August 30th. Both teams are in their first seasons as members of The American, moving from Conference USA. Tulsa holds an 8-2 series lead against the Green Wave, winning eight straight before losing last year's game in New Orleans.

This is the first time since 2006 that Tulsa has opened the season at home, opening on the road in each of the last seven seasons, and the first time that the Hurricane has had two consecutive home games to begin the season since 2001.

In game two, Tulsa hosts Oklahoma (Sept. 6) for the 26th time in school history and the first time in Tulsa since the 2007 campaign. The Sooners are coming off an 11-2 season and finished the campaign ranked No. 6 in the final AP poll.

The Hurricane continues non-conference play against Florida Atlantic a week later, Sept. 13th, in Boca Raton, Florida. Although the two schools were members of Conference USA in the 2013-14 season, this will be the first meeting on the football field for the two teams. The Owls posted an overall 6-6 mark a year ago in their first season of competition in C-USA.

After an open week, Tulsa returns to Chapman Stadium to close out the month of September against Texas State (Sept. 27). The only other meeting in the series came in the 2003 campaign when Tulsa defeated the Bobcats 41-15 at home.

Tulsa visits Colorado State a week later on Oct. 4th for the return game in the two-game series. The game in 2013 was an exciting one that came down to the wire as Tulsa's Carl Salazar knocked through a 34-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. Tulsa leads the overall series 4-3, but CSU has a 3-1 record in Fort Collins. Colorado State went on to post an overall 8-6 record a year ago, including a bowl game victory against Washington State.

Tulsa gets back into American Athletic Conference action when the Hurricane travels to Philadelphia, Pa. to face the Temple Owls on Oct. 11th. It will be only the third meeting between the two schools, as the previous two meetings came in back-to-back years with Tulsa claiming a 24-17 road win in 1987 and a 15-10 home victory a year later.

A first-time meeting between Tulsa and South Florida takes place on Homecoming for the Hurricane, as the two teams meet at Chapman Stadium on Oct. 18th.

Following another open week, Tulsa will renew its series against Memphis on Halloween night, Friday, Oct. 31st, at Liberty Bowl Stadium in Memphis, Tenn. The two teams will meet as members of The American, the third conference the two schools have been members of together –– Conference USA and Missouri Valley Conference are the other two leagues that Tulsa and Memphis competed against each other. Memphis leads the overall series 14-10, but the Hurricane has won the last four contests.

Tulsa returns home to host the SMU Mustangs on Nov. 8th, renewing another rivalry from when the two teams played together in the Western Athletic Conference and C-USA. SMU leads the series 13-7.

Tulsa then goes on the road for two straight weeks to face the defending American Athletic Conference Champion UCF and rival Houston.

Tulsa and UCF renew a rivalry that saw the two teams battle twice in the 2012 season for the C-USA Championship, as Tulsa garnered both wins, including a 33-27 overtime victory in the C-USA title game. Tulsa travels to Orlando to face the Knights on Friday, Nov. 14th. UCF finished the 2013 season with a 12-1 record and won The American title in its first year in the league.

A week later, Tulsa travels to Houston to face the Cougars on Nov. 22nd at Houston's new first-year stadium. This will be the 39th meeting in the series and the third different conference that the two teams have been a part of together –– Missouri Valley Conference and Conference USA.

The Tulsa-Houston 38-game series is the longest for the Hurricane among all of the American Athletic Conference members. UH leads the series 20-18 with the first meeting coming in 1950 and the last meeting in 2012, as Tulsa captured a 27-10 victory in that game.

Tulsa closes out the regular season on Friday, Nov. 28th with a home game against East Carolina. The Pirates join Tulsa and Tulane as first-year members in the American Athletic Conference. ECU leads the series 6-5 after claiming a home win in Greenville, NC last season while posting an overall 10-3 record.