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Posts Tagged ‘Tulsa’

Conference USA Nosedives to Rock Bottom

Rewind eight months. Houston capped one of the finest seasons in program history by decimating Penn State, 30-14, during bowl play. Southern Mississippi won its program-record 12th game against Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl – and in their last time out, the Golden Eagles had harassed Case Keenum and the Cougars out of the B.C.S. conversation. Tulsa, S.M.U. and Marshall acquitted themselves well in the postseason, with the Mustangs beating Pittsburgh, Marshall beating Florida International and the Golden Hurricane leading B.Y.U. for 59 minutes before a late collapse. Was last season the finest in the history of Conference USA? It’s not hard to make that case.

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    No. 39: Tulsa

    Tulsa lost to Oklahoma. Lost to Oklahoma State. Lost to Boise State. Lost to Houston. Lost to B.Y.U. in bowl play. Five losses to teams that combined for – let’s do the math – 57 wins. Both Oklahoma and B.Y.U. went 10-3. Oklahoma State and Boise State went 12-1, both losing disappointing conference games in November; without those losses, one of the two would have met L.S.U. in the national title game. Houston went 13-1, coming within a win in the Conference USA championship of earning an automatic B.C.S. berth, if not its own date with the Tigers in New Orleans. Only one of Tulsa’s eight wins came by less 17 points. So, the question: Was Tulsa that good, or was Conference USA that bad? There’s no doubt that the league as a whole was weaker than in the past, even if Conference USA put forth a pair of national contenders; however, this shouldn’t detract too much from what the Golden Hurricane were able to achieve under Bill Blankenship, the former Todd Graham assistant who has ably steered T.U. through another coaching change without a hiccup.

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      A.P.R. Scores Viewed at 2014-15 Level

      The latest Academic Progress Rates, released yesterday by the N.C.A.A., uses the baseline of a four-year score of 900 for postseason eligibility. By that standard, all 120 F.B.S. programs – not yet 124 when this data was compiled – earn a passing grade.

      But beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, the baseline to avoid penalties will increase to 930, putting a few F.B.S. programs in danger of suffering one or more of several potential penalties: a postseason ban, a loss of scholarships or a loss of practice time, for example.

      According to the N.C.A.A., an A.P.R. score of 930 equates to a graduation rate of roughly 50 percent. While the current rate of 900 remains in place for the next two years, the increased standard has the potential to impact a handful of B.C.S. and non-B.C.S. conference programs.

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        Revisiting the Coaching Class of 2007

        We’re now five years removed from the coaching class of 2007. This 24-member group included Neil Callaway, who was discussed yesterday today as part of the U.A.B. preview, as well as more than a few coaching luminaries: Nick Saban, Brian Kelly, Mark Dantonio and Jim Harbaugh, for example. Callaway, who won 18 games over five years with the Blazers, is the impetus for the idea behind the post, as well as just one member of the class of 2007 who never came to close to matching the promises made at their initial press conference. No coach loses his introductory press conference; for many, however, it’s all downhill from there.

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          The Year in Review: Tulsa (8-5, 7-1)

          Tulsa lost to Oklahoma. Lost to Oklahoma State. Lost to Boise State. Lost to Houston. Lost to B.Y.U. in bowl play. Five losses to teams that combined for – let’s do the math – 57 wins. Both Oklahoma and B.Y.U. went 10-3. Oklahoma State and Boise State went 12-1, both losing disappointing conference games in November; without those losses, one of the two would have met L.S.U. in the national title game. Houston went 13-1, coming within a win in the Conference USA championship of earning an automatic B.C.S. berth, if not its own date with the Tigers in New Orleans. Only one of Tulsa’s eight wins came by less 17 points. These facts say much about Tulsa, its 2011 season and Conference USA at large.

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            Nelson Channels His Inner Dan Marino

            I remember it well: Nov. 27, 1994, and Dan Marino, along with Bernie Kosar, a forgotten collaborator, shocked the flummoxed New York Jets by pulling the most brazen and audacious of post-snap stunts. Down by a field goal, 24-21, at the Jets’ eight-yard line with 22 seconds left and no timeouts, Marino made the universal signal for spiking the football — yelling “Fire!” and miming the spike, for example — as his team rushed to the line of scrimmage. Up to the moment when the ball was supposed to leave his hands, stopping the clock, all went according to plan for Dolphins and Jets alike. Then it didn’t, and I can still remember the call from the Jets’ radio team: “He stood there like a house on the side of the road!”

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              Missing: A Much-Needed Marquee Win

              If we know anything, it’s that B.Y.U. is going to lose to Tulsa. Huh? Well, the Cougars have beat only one bowl team all season, Utah State, and the team’s remaining seven F.B.S. wins came against squads that combined for 30 victories on the season. Ergo, one can make the following conclusion: B.Y.U. is not good against good teams. And yes, Tulsa is a good team; a very good team, depending on which team shows up, and more than capable of blowing the Cougars’ doors off. B.Y.U. needs to batten down the hatches.

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                A Look Back at the One-and-Done Coach

                With the move official, let’s put Todd Graham’s second one-and-done stay into a historical perspective. Among the current 120-strong group, there are only two other head coaches with one such tenure, let alone two. This list doesn’t include those coaches currently in their first season at a specific program – coaches like Colorado’s Jon Embree, in the first year of a newly-minted contract. No active coach, other than Graham, has had two one-year stints.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.