Tag:East Carolina
Posted on: October 20, 2009 3:43 pm

C-USA Power Rankings: Week 8

1 Houston(5-1, 1-1) - They did their job and beat an SEC team to wrap up a 4-0 out-of-conference record and are currently ranked. This team is 1-1 in conference, where it really counts. Interesting fact: If you only include C-USA records, Houston is 8th place in the conference. They now begin a tough stretch which will determine their season including: SMU, USM, @TU & @UCF. The season will end with 2 "gimme" home games vs Memphis & Rice (although Houston proved capable of losing to anyone @ UTEP).

2 Tulsa(4-2, 2-0) - Despite any criticisms, this team remains #1 in C-USA play with a 2-0 conference record & 4-2 overall record. In C-USA, this team is #1 in scoring defense & total defense. Tulsa proved they can compete with elite teams as they were driving down the field down 7 in the final minutes against #5 Boise State. Now they face a "daunting" test which Houston failed: win @ UTEP. Then, like Houston, they will begin a tough 4-game stretch which includes SMU, Houston, ECU & @USM. After UTEP, they'll have 4 home games left and only 1 away.

3 ECU (4-3, 3-1) - A close loss at SMU is not as bad as it may sound. Despite another loss, this team is the favorite to win the East. This team will be 5-3 before Virginia Tech comes to town. They showed they are still in it to win it with a dominating performance vs Rice. Barring drastic changes, this team should finish 7-5 or 8-4 and should win the East again.

4 Marshall (4-3, 2-1) - This team is gaining respect as held on with WVU until the 4th quarter, only down 10-7. Most of their games have been unimpressive, but they've won most. They have a decent looking record at the moment, but there is no reason to put them above ECU as they probably won't win the East. Unless this team improves drastically, they'll be fortunate to finish around the 6-6 or 7-5.

5 UCF(4-3, 1-2)- They lost to ECU and So Miss, but they did play USM at their best. Miami game wasn't as bad as it could've been. This team has a great D, but their O can't keep up. Games vs Marshall, @Texas and vs Houston are coming up. This team is another which will be fortunate to finish 7-5. When your O can't score, it often doesn't matter how good your D is.

6 SMU (3-3, 2-0) - SMU may be for real, but they are the only team who has lost Washington State this year. A 'W' over ECU was huge. Taking Navy into OT showed that this team can play with tough teams. This team is 2-0 in C-USA, but only 3-2 overall. If they keep winning they could jump to #1 in the West (where SMU is currently #2). Critical games @Houston and @Tulsa are next.

7 So Miss(4-3, 2-1) - The new starting QB did well @ Louisville and against Memphis. If USM is to have a chance at winning the East, the defense must start stepping up in critical situations. Is this team rebounding, or did they just start the easiest 4-game-streak on their schedule 1-2? Tulane is the 4th. Win it and work out any kinks before Houston. 

8 UAB(2-4, 2-1) - Their conference record keeps them in the East title race, along with ECU, Marshall & USM. They probably need to win out to win, but you never know, the East winner will likely have 2 conference losses.

9 UTEP (2-4, 1-1) - So they probably aren't a good overall team. Maybe they are only decent at home. They can stir up trouble vs Tulsa. Like, UAB, this team is still alive in their divisional title race. Sure it would take a lot of miracle wins, but they've already pulled off one great win. What's another 6? Problem is they have 3 home and 3 away left. This team is looking like they'll finish about like last year, at 5-7.

10 Tulane (2-4, 0-3) - Have they won all the games they will this year? They beat Army. They do have UTEP and Rice on the schedule. Houston is coming to town followed by So Miss (which could be winnable) and then LSU (not winnable).

11 Memphis (2-5, 1-3) - Their resume includes beating Tenn-Martin and beating the team that beat Houston... awesome.

12 Rice (0-7, 0-3) - No change here.

Posted on: October 8, 2009 10:45 am
Edited on: October 8, 2009 10:48 am

Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football Preview 2009


What happened to Tulsa?

Nearly every preseason ranking for C-USA has Tulsa finishing 3rd or worse. Most predict Tulsa will go 7-5, but several have listed them at 6-6. This is for a team which went 10-4 in 2007 and 11-3 last year. 

Tulsa has gone to the C-USA Championship game 3 of the last four years and made a mockery of the No. 18 12-1 Ball State Cardinals in January with a 45-13 roasting at the GMAC bowl. Tulsa hasn't gone anywhere and they certainly won't sit out this season.


Why no love?

Tulsa lost an invaluable off-the-field asset, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, to Auburn. Time will tell how that affects the team. While it will change things some this year, the real effects will be later on (especially in recruiting). Meanwhile, the core of Gus' recruits are just beginning to sprout for Tulsa.


What about the players?

Many believe Tulsa lost too much on offense. With 2008 starters QB David Johnson, RB Tarion Adams, and WR Brennan Marion gone, some think Tulsa isn't capable of continuing the success. History lesson: Tulsa lost their starting QB in 2007, yet the offense drastically improved in 2008 and they won 11 games.

Last year, the back-up QB's, WR's and RB's were just as talented if not more talented than the senior starters, they just didn't have the experience/seniority. This year, they do.

  • The No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 & No. 5 RB's had a combined 223 carries for 1551 yards (6.96 ypc) and 12 TDs. They each had over 300 yards and they ALL return.
  • With the WR's, its the same situation: the No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 & No. 6 WR's had a combined 177 catches for 2570 yards (14.5 ypc) and 32 TDs and they ALL return.

So what about the quarterback? Last spring, a four-star recruit, and top-20 QB, who was headed to Michigan changed his mind and joined Tulsa. He is considered third place in the starting quarterback competition. G.J. Kinne, a redshirt sophomore Texas transfer, is set to take over from David Johnson.

He apparently has the ability to be every bit as good as his predecessors, plus the ability to scramble. He played very well in the spring scrimmage.

Tulsa also lost three linemen, and that is the biggest question mark on offense. The replacements show promise and could be nearly as good as last year, but the line will, at least initially, be worse.



Tulsa's defense was No. 1 in C-USA in 2006 and No. 2 when they won the championship in 2005. In 2007, they implemented the spread no-huddle hurry-up offense (the name does justice to the complexity of the offense). The defense dropped to No. 7. In 2008, the offense remained No. 1 while the defense improved to No. 5.

Nationally speaking, you can see the transition in Tulsa from a balanced offense and defense (in '05 and '06) to the top offense in the nation two years in a row with bad defense. The defense drastically improved from '07 to '08.

The defense returns nine starters. Coach Todd Graham has historically been a defensive guy (he was a defensive coordinator at West Virginia). This year, I'd expect the improving-D trend to continue as Tulsa returns nine starters.

Tulsa may not be the No. 1 offense in the country this year, but they will improve defensively and should be at least No. 2 in defense in C-USA (and at least in the 50s nationally).


Season Prediction

As for the season, I'm predicting two losses (OU & BSU) and then one more against either ECU or Southern Miss (Yes, UofH beat Tulsa by 40 in Houston last year, but Tulsa slaughtered UofH at home by 49 in '07 and it should be similar in '09).

I predict 9-3 for the regular season. That may or may not be good enough to beat Houston for first place in the West.


What will be answered on Gameday?

The question is how quickly the new QB clicks with the offense. Another question is how well they play through the stretch. Last year Tulsa started out 8-0 only to finish 3-3. They will play three tough games in in November against ECU, Southern Miss and Houston. 

That won't be easy. The good news for Tulsa is they are playing most of the road games early on so they will be playing mostly at home at the end of the season when they typically don't play as well.

If the new QB comes out (like Johnson did) immediately playing great, and the defense has improved some (as it did in 2008 over 2007) TU could go 10-2, but if the offense doesn't click (due to the loss of Marion, Adams, Johnson, Malzahn and the offensive linemen) the season may be as bad as 7-5 like others have said. 

All will be shocked and amazed if TU can get through that schedule with only 1 loss (OU). Tulsa's out-of-conference schedule is among the toughest in the nation. OU's OOC is top-10 and includes: Tulsa, Miami (top-25 in some polls), BYU (No. 20) and Idaho State. Tulsa's schedule is comparable from top to bottom with OU (No. 3), Boise State (No. 14), New Mexico, and Sam Houston. OU's OOC includes a cupcake and 3 tough games while Tulsa's OOC includes 1 cupcake and two elite opponents. Tulsa's home game against Boise State on October 14 could be huge. Tulsa can make a big statement by winning or by giving Kellen Moore and the Boise State Broncos a hard time.

We will find out if TU has lost its offensive edge in the C-USA. TU's recruiting ranking is pretty low (ranked in the 70s), even for a C-USA team. Tulsa has relied on its ridiculously productive offense based on Malzahn's creative schemes to propel it beyond other, "more talented" teams (i.e. those with higher ranked recruits like SMU).

Other teams have started to mimic Tulsa-style spread-no huddle hurry-up offense and produced similarly impressive numbers. The secret is out and that could be bad for Tulsa. 

Nevertheless, any team who thinks Tulsa's offense is inexperienced or can't hang half-a-hundred on them could be in for a surprise.

AFTER 5 GAMES (1 against OU) UPDATE ON TULSA C-USA rankings:
In C-USA, Tulsa is: 
#1 in scoring defense 
#2 in pass efficiency defense 
#3 in pass defense
#2 in rushing defense
#2 total defense
#1 in sacks 
#1 in tackles for loss
#2 in turnover margin
#2 in allowing third-down conversions
#2 in allowing first downs
#1 in passing effeciency offense
#2 in scoring offense
#3 in total offense

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Posted on: October 7, 2009 1:58 pm

C-USA Power Rankings: Week Six

1) Houston (3-1, 0-1)

No one in C-USA has two higher quality wins. A loss at UTEP has narrowed the (perceived) gap between Houston and everyone else in C-USA.

Starting out 0-1 in C-USA is not the statement the previously 12th-ranked Houston Cougars wanted to make.

The UTEP game was the first of five for Houston in October. Hats off to the AD at Houston for a tough out-of-conference schedule. Hats off to Houston for winning the first three of those. If they win this next one, this team could be right back in the top 25, ready to take C-USA by storm.

It won't be easy for Houston to win out as they are in a stretch of 10 games in 10 weeks...zero bye weeks in there. That is something the AD shouldn't be congratulated for.

Bigger games remaining include @ Mississippi State, vs. So Miss, and @ Tulsa.

Up next: @ Mississippi State


2) Tulsa (4-1, 2-0)

Four of Tulsa's first five games were on the road. Tulsa has five more games to play at home. Tulsa is a home team.

Tulsa has four wins against the four opponents they should have beat. That is more than Houston or Southern Miss can say about games they should have won.

Tulsa has the inside track to win C-USA West. If Tulsa can win at UTEP, they could be favorites for the remainder of the schedule.

Tulsa has a championship-level schedule with both OU and Boise State. Their defense is playing championship defense (No. 1 in C-USA), but their offense is a shell of what we've seen in 2007 and 2008 when Tulsa was the No. 1 offense in the nation. Also, Tulsa is yet to beat a team with a winning record. The teams Tulsa beat are a combined 4-14.

Undefeated Boise State is coming to Tulsa Oct. 14.

Up next: vs. No. 6 Boise State


3) East Carolina (3-2, 2-0)

Is ECU back? Maybe they never went anywhere, but their previous 2-2 record full of dismal performances was unimpressive. Defeating 3-1 Marshall at Marshall is impressive. ECU will have its hands full vying with USM to win C-USA East.

Up next: @ SMU


4) Southern Miss (3-2, 1-1)

Do not be mistaken: Southern Miss was missing two star players when they were upset by UAB. That may or may not be a good excuse, but they will both be back next week. Unfortunately, the starting QB, Austin Davis, is out for the season after a 4th quarter injury in that game. Don't count So Miss out yet. Their backup is very capable and surrounded by great talent. They should still win most of their remaining games.

So Miss needs to make a statement against a very bad Louisville team. They will then have two easier games at home they must win. Then they'll play a brutal four-game stretch to end the season that includes games @ Houston, @ Marshall, Tulsa, and @ ECU. It may not be likely, but if USM can win three of those, they should be in the C-USA Championship game. Nevertheless, look for USM to drop behind Marshall and perhaps even UCF, if things get really bad without Davis.

Up next: vs. @ Louisville


5) Marshall (3-2, 1-1)

This team isn't supposed to lose at home, or at least not that easily. ECU came from behind to win. Why is this team so underwhelming? Is it the three-point win vs. Southern Illinois, the 42-point loss to Virginia Tech, the seven-point win over Bowling Green, or the 27-16 win over Memphis? A disappointing finish to a marginal beginning awaits...

Up next: @ Tulane


6) UCF (3-2, 1-2)

This team is on the rise. The two losses were very close and were to teams that were supposed to beat them (ECU and USM). This may be the wrong time to host Miami (or maybe not). This team will need to win the ones it is supposed to (Rice and Tulane) and then one other in order to gain bowl eligibility

Up next: vs. Miami


8) UTEP (2-3, 1-0)

The loss to Buffalo (now 1-4) was bad. The losses to Kansas and Texas (although expected) were a bit too embarrassing to be forgotten, even after scoring 58 in a victory over No. 12 Houston.

This may be the toughest home team in C-USA. They have a great opportunity to win this next one to go 3-3 before playing Tulsa at home. Thanks to three very beatable teams coming to El Paso in November, this team could realistically be bowl eligible by Nov. 21.

Up next: @ Memphis


7) UAB (2-3, 2-1)

This team may be better than its record. Maybe. The offense has been incredible at times. With a few more wins (which won't come until after this week), they will easily climb the rankings.

Up next: vs. @ Ole Miss


9) SMU (2-2, 1-0)

I bet SMU fans got excited after SMU matched their win total from the previous two years in just two weeks...

Up next: vs. ECU


10) Tulane (2-2, 0-1)

The victory over Army may be the last of the season. They do have about four winnable games left.

Up next: vs. Marshall


11) Memphis (1-4, 0-2)

This team is dropping—and fast. It was a bad time to have UCF, who is on the rise, come to town.

Up next: vs. UTEP


12) Rice (0-5, 0-2)

The big question everyone in Houston is asking is, "Will Rice win a game?" Not really. No one is talking about this team. They have put up good fights against Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, and Tulsa. Until they can start winning some of these "good fights," they will be the punching bag of C-USA. Injuries have plagued this team.

Rice has four games left in which a win would not be a spectacular upset.

Up next: vs. Navy

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com