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Fast 40 countdown: Tulsa

August 21, 2011  |  By Benjamin Miraski

Tulsa

Last season: 10-3, 28th in the MRI

The good: It is hard to believe that Tulsa turned in the season it did with most of the starting unit being juniors. The Golden Hurricane return 18 starters from last season, which should set them a step ahead of the rest of Conference USA on the field. CJ Ginne could become the school's all-time leading passer this season, and the offensive line is stacked with experience including transfer Joe King (Texas Tech).

Tulsa also gets SMU and Houston at home, which should give them the inside track to winning the CUSA West and send them to another conference title game.

The bad: Todd Graham left the program to become the head coach at Pitt. In his place steps Bill Blankenship who has never been a college head coach or coordinator. At Tulsa he has coached the running backs and wide receivers, plus special teams over four years, which should have him familiar with the offense. And he does have 20 years of coaching experience at the high school level.

But this is the FBS and it isn't going to be easy to repeat last season's success.

The schedule, which looks favorable in the conference, is brutal outside of it. At Oklahoma, at Boise State and Oklahoma State in Tulsa, isn't the nicest way to greet a new coach in three of the first four weeks. The Golden Hurricane could look like a spring rain before September has finished.

Best name: This should have been Shavodrick Beaver, but he transferred. The Golden Hurricane have a thing with guys named Garrett -- first name or last -- but this one goes to Colt Clontz. (Awesome putting the star with your stats over your buddy's face.)

Trending: Down - Tulsa should still compete in the conference, but the nonconference schedule is so brutal, it would be a miracle if the team was able to match last season's record. With the tough games leading off, don't expect Tulsa to be near the top 25 at all this season.

   

Posted August 21, 2011 6:56 PM

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