Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Associated Press

No. 17 South Florida breaks AP Poll-era record of consecutive games with 30-plus points

1 Comment

South Florida has been viewed by most as a bit of a disappointment this season. Such is the burden of perfection, because a so-called disappointing start still sees Charlie Strong‘s Bulls sitting at No. 16 in the AP poll with a 6-0 start and its streak of scoring 30-plus points still intact.

Correction: South Florida’s AP Poll-era record streak of scoring 30-plus points is still intact.

The Bulls beat Tulane 34-28 on Saturday, pushing the streak to 24 games. And according to ESPN’s Stats and Information department, that is now the FBS record for the AP poll era, which dates back to 1936.

For the year, South Florida is tied for ninth in FBS with a 41.6 scoring average. The Bulls are one of seven FBS teams to average more than 300 rushing yards per game, and one of just three non-triple option teams to accomplish the feat, joining Arizona and No. 13 Notre Dame.

The streak could actually be at 25 games right now if not for Hurricane Irma. The storm forced South Florida to push back at trip to Connecticut from Sept. 9 to Nov. 4 and in the process eliminated a scheduled Oct. 14 game against UMass. UConn and UMass both allow more than 30 points per game.

As it stands, South Florida has a great shot to push the record to at least 27 games. The Bulls’ next opponent, Houston, allows 24 points a game and just surrendered 42 points in one half in a home loss to No. 25 Memphis. USF visits UConn on Nov. 4, and then concludes its home schedule against Tulsa, who ranks No. 117 nationally with a 37.6 scoring defense average.

Then comes the big test: the regular season finale at No. 20 Central Florida. The Knights rank 16th nationally with 17.5 points per game allowed and have not allowed more than 23 points in a game this season (a game in which they scored 51).

AAC West undergoes shakeup as Houston, Navy fall in Week 7

Associated Press
1 Comment

Entering Week 7, Houston and Navy were 1-2 in the AAC West.  Exiting it?  Not so much.

At 2-0, Houston led the conference’s West division.  At 3-1, No. 25 Navy was right behind.  In a span of about a half-hour Saturday, however, both teams put the finishing touches on losses, the former to Tulsa 45-17 and the latter to Memphis 30-27.

The Cougars’ loss, especially the margin, is borderline stunning as the Golden Hurricane came into the contest sporting a 1-5 overall record and a 0-2 mark in conference play.  Just a week ago, Tulsa was taken to the woodshed by West rival Tulane in a 62-28 whooping.

Meanwhile, the Tigers’ win over the Midshipmen, coupled with the Cougars’ loss, pushes the U of M to the top of the division with a 3-1 record in conference play.  While unranked, Memphis could replace Navy in the Top 25 when the new set of rankings are released Sunday afternoon.

Also lurking in the division are SMU, which enters the weekend 1-1 and will leave with the same mark as the Mustangs are on their bye, and Tulane, also 1-1 and will be that way entering Week 8 as they face Conference USA’s Florida International Saturday night.

Big weekend for the AAC and Mountain West Conference

Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

For a conference trying to sell itself as the nation’s sixth power conference, Week 3 looks to be a pretty big one to do its best to prove it. The American Athletic Conference, which is going all in on its belief it is the sixth power conference and not one of the Group of Five conferences, will play games against the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, and Pac-12 this weekend. And that includes games against four ranked opponents, two of which will be played in an AAC stadium.

It all gets started tonight with preseason favorite South Florida hosting Illinois from the Big Ten. The Bulls are a prohibitive favorite, which comes as no surprise. Quarterback Quinton Flowers could go off against the Illini, who have a record of 2-0 thanks to wins against Ball State and Western Kentucky. With Charlie Strong as head coach, the Bulls have not looked quite as automatic through the first two weeks as many predicted, but this could be their opportunity to put it all together on a national stage.

On Saturday, Memphis will look to score a significant upset at home against No. 25 UCLA. The Bruins are off to a 2-0 start but cross-country trip for a noon eastern kickoff has been known to give a west coast team trouble in the past. If the Tigers can catch the Bruins off to a slumbering start, Memphis may have to hope Josh Rosen and company don’t wake up in the fourth quarter the way they did against Texas A&M. A Memphis win would be key to the AAC as a whole too, as a win against a ranked opponent from a power conference gives the AAC a strength of schedule argument to boost itself up in the long run.

The AAC will have a few other cracks at ranked opponents. The team with the best chance, most likely, to score a win against a ranked team may be SMU. The Mustangs visit rival TCU, ranked 20th in the AP poll and coming off a win on the road against Arkansas. East Carolina hosts No. 16 Virginia Tech, and Tulane visits No. 2 Oklahoma. Either AAC team picking up a win in those games would be a shocker.

One other game against an ACC school was scratched due to Hurricane Irma recovery efforts. UCF, who looked really good in their opener, was to host Georgia Tech. Instead, the Knights will get a week off before returning to action next week on the road against Maryland.

The one game that should probably be the most interesting to watch, however, may take place in Ohio. MAC favorite Toledo is hosting Tulsa in a key Group of 5 vs. Group of 5 matchup. The Rockets have looked good and are a solid favorite, but Tulsa is a team to keep an eye on in the AAC. A year after an undefeated MAC champion grabbed the New Years Six spot in the bowl lineup, the AAC delivering a blow to the preseason MAC favorites could knock the MAC out of contention entirely before even getting to October.

AAC vs. Power 5 In Week 3

  • No. 22 USF vs. Illinois (FRI)
  • Memphis vs. No. 25 UCLA
  • Virginia vs. UConn
  • East Carolina vs. No. 16 Virginia Tech
  • No. 20 TCU vs. SMU
  • No. 2 Oklahoma vs. Tulane

Not to be outdone, the Mountain West Conference has a healthy diet of games against power conference competition this weekend as well. Air Force travels to No. 7 Michigan, Utah State visits Wake Forest, Colorado State is in Tuscaloosa to face No. 1 Alabama, Wyoming is hosting Oregon, Fresno State visits No. 6 Washington, San Jose State visits Utah, and San Diego State hosts No. 19 Stanford. That is seven games against power conference teams, including games against three top 10 teams. Most of those matchups do not appear to give the MWC many favors, although San Diego State hosting Stanford could be interesting.

Before conference play begins in these conferences, this will be the last major opportunities for the AAC and MWC to showcase their stuff in non-conference play. These games could make or break the conference’s chances of getting in the lucrative New Years Six lineup at the end of the year, so neither conference will want to squander their opportunities this weekend.

Mason Rudolph and No. 10 Oklahoma State roll over Tulsa in blowout win to open the season

Getty Images
2 Comments

During the offseason, Mike Gundy’s mullet dominated the conversation in Stillwater. Now that the season is officially here for Oklahoma State though, it’s Mason Rudolph’s turn to steal the headlines.

The Cowboys quarterback was nearly perfect in dropping deep pass after deep pass over an exhausted Tulsa secondary on Thursday night and helped tenth-ranked OSU roll to a 59-24 win over their in-state rival in Stillwater. Rudolph didn’t play much in the second half and finished the night with nearly as many incompletions as touchdowns, posting a 20-of-24 stat line for a whopping 303 yards and three scores.

As expected, the high-powered offense relied a lot on what might be the best wide receiving corps in the country. James Washington led the way and showed no signs of pain despite playing with a hernia, catching six passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns (the longest of which checked in at 77 yards). LSU transfer Tyron Johnson had a pretty good debut in orange and white, scoring on a 44 yard touchdown pass from Rudolph.

Despite those pass-happy numbers, OSU was not one-dimensional. Tailback Justice Hill (132 yards, one touchdown) was one of three — count them, three — players with over 90 yards rushing on the night.

The story was not quite the same for the other high-powered offense on the field as head coach Philip Montgomery’s attack had a ton of trouble getting going despite high hopes coming into the season. All-name first-teamer Chad President made his first start at quarterback for the Hurricanes but finished with under 200 yards passing and will need to regroup if the team is to contend for the AAC title as many expect them to in 2017.

Either way, it wasn’t Tulsa’s night. Instead it was a showcase opener for Oklahoma State and their star signal-caller, who will only continue to hear the buzz build about making an early impression in the race for the Heisman Trophy and, possibly, the Big 12 title.

Report: there will be a Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl this year

Getty Images
5 Comments

I think we can all agree with this: it’s about damn time.

Since the St. Petersburg Bowl was launched in 2008, it’s undergone several name changes, from the magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl (2008) to the St. Petersburg Bowl presented by Beef O’Brady’s (2009) to the Beef O’Grady’s Bowl (2010-13) to the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl (2014).  Now, the game that’s been known as the St. Petersburg Bowl the past two seasons is set to undergo its most glorious name change yet as Brett McMurphy is reporting that it will now be known as the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.

See, absolutely and utterly glorious.  In a similar vein, move over Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl as we have a new king wearing the “Greatest Bowl Game Name Ever” crown.

Bad Boy Mowers bills itself as “delivering the finest cut lawn care professionals and serious landowners demand;” the fact that the home of the bowl game, Tropicana Field, utilizes Shaw Sports Turf as its playing surface merely serves to add to the greatness of the name. And from where does Gasparilla come? McMurphy describes it as “an attempt to make the bowl seem more regional for the Tampa Bay area since the annual Gasparilla Parade is held each year in Tampa.”

The name change for the game, which pits teams from the AAC and Conference USA against each other, is expected to officially be announced Monday.