When I first saw Tulsa on the football schedule, I glossed over it and confidently thought Ole Miss would finish September with a 4-0 record.
But the crippling anxiety of waiting for football coupled with the passage of time from last season has left me mindlessly scrolling Tulsa stats, facts and figures though the game is more than six weeks away.
This game has all the trappings of a Memphis game from a talent standpoint. The good news is the Golden Hurricane shouldn’t have quite the enormous regional rivalry chip on its shoulder arriving in Oxford.
Here’s a few nuggets of information on the Hurricane:
- Head coach: Phillip Montgomery, seventh season (37-46 overall)
- First season: 1895
- All-time program record: 626-509-28
- Prior to the Golden Hurricane moniker, the team was known as “Orange and Black”, “Presbyterians”, “Tigers” and “Tulsans” - you know, just in case you thought Golden Hurricane was a bad nickname, it can be worse
- Home facility: Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium, capacity 30,000
- Member of the American Athletic Conference since 2014
- Championships: 35 claimed conference championships, but most recently the 2012 Conference USA champions
- Last bowl game appearance: 2021 Myrtle Beach Bowl, win vs. Old Dominion 30-17
Prior to this game, Tulsa will have traveled to Wyoming and hosted Northern Illinois and Jacksonville St., so it is fair to say this will be the toughest game of the season to date at this time. Ole Miss meanwhile will be a little more tested with Troy, Central Arkansas and a road trip to Georgia Tech.
By the fourth game, fans should know who the quarterback for this season will be. I think the first two games will sort it out, but certainly if there is going to be a shake up, it would happen during a road trip to Atlanta against what should be a somewhat improved Georgia Tech team.
Tulsa has shown at times the last few years it is capable of playing with anyone, so I have a fear this game will end up closer than fans are anticipating. Senior QB Davis Brin is likely to be the starter for the Golden Hurricane and passed for more than 3,200 yards last season with 18 TD’s and 16 interceptions - he’ll certainly at least give his team a chance. Last season against Cincinnati, Brin went 18 of 27 passing for 160 yards and a touchdown while relying on its run game to keep the game close until the final minute in a 28-20 loss.
Deneric Prince will lead a running back by committee for Tulsa as a former Texas A&M transfer. He has piled up nearly 1,000 yards in the last two seasons while averaging over five yards per carry.
So offensively, Tulsa may be able to control the ball for a bit and keep the game close, however I think where it will stumble should be on its defensive line. If the Rebels can get a solid push from its experienced offensive line, this game should be able to provide a sigh of relief before the fourth quarter.
But you heard it here first, don’t count out Tulsa to make this game a little uncomfortable for Ole Miss when it’s all said and done. I still give the Rebels 10 points at home.