Tulsa is loaded on offense and suspect on defense like the majority of Conference USA. Sportsbook.com has the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes listed at 15 to 1 odds to win the 2009 BCS National Championship. The Hurricane has the talent pool to really light up the scoreboard and not many other teams will be able to keep up. Expert Football Handicapper Dave Price's 2008 Tulsa Golden Hurricane College Football Predictions and season preview article for Point-Spreads.com will tell you why they look like the class of Conference USA.
Offense – Head coach Todd Graham proved he was a winner when he took over a Rice program in the shambles and made it a winner. He inherited a solid Tulsa team last season and posted a 10-4 record while tying for first in the West. Now, expectations are even higher. Tulsa put the nation's leading offense on the field in 2007, and with nine starters returning, it's hard to imagine that it won't be even better. The top four rushers and the top six receivers return, including the trio that each had over 1,000 receiving yards. That feat marked just the third time in NCAA history that a team had three 1,000 yards receivers. Tulsa's running game should get even stronger with the NCAA granting Courtney Tennial a sixth year of eligibility after missing last season with an Achilles injury. He had 14 touchdowns in 2006 and will team up with 1,200-yard rusher Tarrion Adams and the explosive Brennan Marion. The Hurricane must replace the school's all-time leading passer Paul Smith. The job is David Johnson's for now, but sophomore Clark Harrell, whose older brother Graham is rewriting the Texas Tech record books, will give him a run for the money. With as talented as the receiving core is, they'll make things easy on either passer.
Defense – The defense has plenty of experience up front and in the back, but three linebackers who each had over 100 tackles in 2007 must be replaced. Mike Bryan, George Clinkscale, and Tanner Antle enter the season as the starters. The team is expecting big things from second-team all-conference selection Moton Hopkins, who had 10 tackles for loss at the end position. He'll team with capable tackles Terrel Nemons and Wilson Garrison to form a formidable front. Odrick Ray is still young, but has the makings of a star. He'll likely start at right end. Roy Roberts moves from corner to safety to quarterback the defensive secondary.
Special Teams – Place kicker Jarod Tracy didn't get much use outside of PAT's in 2007 because of the amount of touchdowns the offense was scoring. He made seven of 12 attempts. Punter Michael Such was little used also. He averaged 39 yards per punt on 43 attempts. If the Hurricane can improve their punt return and kickoff return units, which ranked 61st and 83rd respectively, the offense will be even more potent.
College Football Predictions for the 2008 Tulsa Golden Hurricanes – 1st Conference USA West
Tulsa will be the best in the West and the best team in Conference USA overall. Expect another season of the Golden Hurricane racking up more than 500 yards of offense a game and scoring over 40 points. If the defense can make major strides, Tulsa could be even better than last year despite losing QB Paul Smith.
Get the latest odds to win the 2009 BCS National Championship from Sportsbook.com.