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3/25/2011

Question of the Day #1: The Team to Come From Nowhere

Q: Which team is most likely to be a top 25 dark horse near the end of the 2011 season?

A: Tulsa.

Tulsa is going to be a hot pick to do a lot of damage this year. The reason being 19 starters come back, 10 on one of the nation's most potent offenses. However, there are a few set backs and reasons to be worried. First off, there's the schedule. The odds of Tulsa competing for a spot in the BCS are extremely slim considering they face Oklahoma and Boise State in the non-conference schedule on the road with a pretty solid Oklahoma State team tossed in for good measure. However, in C-USA, this is a team that will likely have a margin of victory hovering around 20+ points per game. Houston and SMU have to come to Skelly Stadium and for the rest of their slate, C-USA has notoriously put up some of the leakier defenses in the nation. Secondly, Todd Graham has abandoned ship and taken over the Pitt Panthers, so there will a bit of a transition with Bill Blankenship getting his first college head coaching job after building a powerhouse high school program at Union High, although Blakenship has been on this staff for the last three seasons. Just ask Todd Dodge how easy going from high school to college is.


But Tulsa put on an offensive fireworks show in their last game against Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl thanks to an uncharacteristic game from Moniz and the Warriors' run n' shoot, but it is momentum nonetheless. As mentioned, there is experience aplenty on the nation's 5th ranked total offense and 6th ranked scoring offense. Damaris Johnson is back as well and ready to return kicks and punts as well as being a stud as far as all-purpose yardage goes. While Houston and SMU will be very, very dangerous threats to win this division and/or finish in the top 25, I think Tulsa will roll through October and November with an undefeated conference record; that'll be impressive enough for them to enter the top 25 heading into bowl season.

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