TU released its 2013 football schedule last week and there's a lot to look forward to for the defending Conference USA champions.
Here's an initial look at what Tulsa fans should expect from each matchup in 2013.
Also, be sure to stay with us Wednesday for all of your National Signing Day coverage for TU, OU and OSU.
@ Bowling Green (Aug. 31)
The Falcons had a solid year in 2012, finishing 8-5 with no bad losses. They managed an impressive 6-2 mark in a tough Mid-American Conference, but did avoid playing the conference's best team, Northern Illinois.
BGSU returns its starting quarterback, leading rusher and top six leading receivers, so at least offensively they should be strong. This will be a tough trip to start the season for TU, but if the Hurricane wants to get back to double-digit wins again in 2013, this is probably a game they need to win.
Colorado State (Sept. 7)
This should be a nice matchup with which to open up the home slate. The Rams struggled to 4-8 record last season, which sounds a lot worse when you realize all eight losses were by double-digits. There is no Nicholls State on the schedule this season for TU, so Colorado State will be the easiest game they get.
@ Oklahoma (Sept. 14)
What an opportunity this will be. I don't have to explain the power of OU to anyone, but I can offer some good news. Landry Jones is gone and Bob Stoops will need to find a replacement at the quarterback position. If the Sooners struggle to find that guy, it could cause their offense to stall. Bottom line though, TU will have almost all of its offense back and will need to likely score 35+ if they want a chance at OU. If there's ever going to be a year the Golden Hurricane will have a chance in Norman, 2013 might be it.
Iowa State (Sept. 21)
It's the long-awaited rematch of the rematch. After opening the 2012 season in Ames and clashing again in the Liberty Bowl, TU will go to battle against the Cyclones for the third time in a little over a year. It's a crazy run considering it will be just the fourth time the two schools have ever played (the other game took place in 1961). This time though, the Golden Hurricane welcomes ISU to Chapman Stadium and it should have a much different feel to it. Home-field advantage and the good vibes from just having run the Cyclones off the field should work in Tulsa's favor.
Rice (Oct. 5)
TU will host the Owls in its first game off a bye week. That's probably bad news for Rice, although the Owls did give Tulsa one of its toughest fights of the season in 2012. TU needed late heroics to escape with a 28-24 victory, but it can't be ignored that Cody Green missed that game and backup Kalen Henderson looked very shaky. With the new makeup of the conference, this game will likely be one of TU's toughest C-USA matchups of the season, and that's sad.
@ UTEP (Oct. 12)
The Miners aren't expected to be any better in 2013 than they were in 2012, which means this game shouldn't be much of a problem. But it's games like these that can ruin a season if you're not careful. TU's dream season in 2012 wouldn't have been possible with a slipup to a team like UTEP, and the same thing goes for next season. Simple focus and execution should win this one.
@ Tulane (Oct. 26)
Speaking of bad teams, after yet another bye week, TU heads down to the bayou to face the Green Wave. Same rules as the UTEP matchup apply here, but this game will have a slightly different feel to it. It was Tulane's trip to Tulsa last season that safety Devon Walker was paralyzed, and I have a hunch we'll be hearing a lot about that story as we approach this game.
UTSA (Nov. 2)
The Golden Hurricane opens November against conference-newcomer Texas-San Antonio. The Roadrunners are entering their third season of fielding a football team, so there's really no excuse not to blow them out. Yeah, sure they won eight games last year in their first season playing FBS football, but it's easily the most deceiving 8-4 record in the history of athletic competition. Only four of those wins came over FBS opponents, and the combined record of those four FBS squads: 8-41.
@ East Carolina (Nov. 9)
Beginning with TU's first bye week prior to the Rice game and ending against UTSA, the Hurricane has a huge six-week emotional lull. There's not a dangerous or interesting opponent on the list, but that changes fast.
A trip to Greenville and ECU's rowdy pirate ship is one of the key games for TU in 2013. East Carolina is one of the only C-USA teams remaining with the firepower to beat Tulsa, and they get to host the Hurricane in the toughest environment in the conference. If TU can win this one, it has a great shot at hosting the C-USA title game again.
Marshall (Nov. 16)
Depending on the outcome at ECU, TU won't have any time to either celebrate or pout. Quarterback Rakeem Cato and the Thundering Herd will lead their high-powered offense into Tulsa in another huge inter-division matchup. Marshall led all of the FBS in passing yards last season and returns Cato and its top receiver, Tommy Shuler. The Herd also returns its top two running backs, so they should be a tough squad to stop again next season. Fortunately for TU, Marshall's defense should be just as bad as ever.
@ Louisiana Tech (Nov. 23)
LA Tech is coming off a very impressive 9-3 season, but they'll have some parts to replace if they want to repeat that success next season. The Bulldogs' passing attack will likely take a hit in 2013 as they lose starting quarterback Colby Cameron and their top two receivers. Louisiana Tech will likely be TU's toughest competition in the West division, so a head-to-head victory might be crucial for the Hurricane.
North Texas (Nov. 30)
TU gets to finish the season with another newcomer, and likely another cupcake. North Texas has averaged 2.75 wins per season since their last winning campaign back in 2004. That's awful, and while they have shown improvement (nine wins total in the past two years) they're a long way off from competing with the likes of Tulsa.
Bottom line, this should be another great season for the Golden Hurricane. Colorado State, Rice, UTEP, Tulane, UTSA and Marshall should all be money-in-the-bank wins, so worst-case scenario TU should still make a bowl game.
The wild-card games are Bowling Green, Iowa State, ECU and Louisiana Tech. Those could really go either way and will be the games that will make or break the season.
The Oklahoma game is the only one which TU will certainly be the underdog, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility. We'll have a much more in-depth look at the schedule as we get closer to the season.