Bobby Lewis, NewsOn6.com
This season the Golden Hurricane will face Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the same year for the 15th time in school history. Tulsa travels to play the Sooners in the season opener and hosts the Cowboys in week 3.
In the grand scheme of things, those two non-conference games have no bearing on Tulsa's goal of winning a conference championship. But, don't tell the players those games don't matter.
"It's something special because those are great teams," said quarterback G.J. Kinne. "I'm just anxious to see how we stack up against those guys."
Tulsa last beat the Pokes 35-20 in 1998 and hasn't downed the Sooners since a 31-24 win in 1996. Those games this season present the Golden Hurricane with an opportunity to elevate the program to new heights in everyone's eyes.
"For future teams, it just puts us on the map," said linebacker Curnelius Arnick. "I think (winning) will have a tremendous affect on the state of Oklahoma because if you go to your local neighborhood Walmart, you see Oklahoma and Oklahoma State stuff but you never see TU stuff."
Arnick called the recruiting impact of a win over one or both of the two in-state schools huge. Players noticed increased interest in the program soon after Tulsa beat Notre Dame in 2010. The ripple effect made its way onto the 2011 roster.
Playing up to its Big 12 competition won't be hard for Tulsa to do.
"You sign a Division-I scholarship, you want to come here to play big time football," said freshman lineman Jake Alexander. "So, we get that opportunity in September.
"The last couple of years, I think we're getting to that level," Alexander added when asked about being as talented as the Sooners and Cowboys. "I can see it now. We're starting to get recruits coming in. People are just starting to recognize Tulsa. I think we're definitely getting up to that level."
Sandwiched between the opener at Oklahoma and hosting the Pokes in Week 3, the Golden Hurricane will travel to New Orleans for its first conference game of the season against Tulane.