The Tulsa Golden Hurricane have everything a bowl search committee is looking for: an electric offense, a defense that will ensure a high scoring game, and a fun style of play. The only thing missing is a six or higher in the win column.
Tulsa sits at 3-4 after seven games played, scoring at least 30 points an all but two games. With five games remaining, is it possible, or probable for the Golden Hurricane to get to six wins and in the discussion for a bowl berth?
Offensively, they were only shut down on one occasion, a 30-17 loss to East Carolina. The weapons on the offensive side of the ball are tough to stop when quarterback Dane Evans is on the mark.
Wide receiver Keyarris Garrett is one of only two players in the nation with 100 or more targets on the season. His 101 targets and 59 catches for 966 yard and five touchdowns rank him in the top three nationally, behind Roger Lewis and Josh Doctson. Joshua Atkinson, with 40 catches for 675 yards and three touchdowns, gives Tulsa one of the best one-two punches in the nation.
With a defense that is not very good at all, it is up to the offense to outscore opponents down the stretch.
With that in mind, let's take a look at Tulsa's remaining schedule, a stretch in which they need to go 3-2 in order to get to six wins. The Golden Hurricane play SMU, UCF, Cincinnati, Navy, and Tulane in their final five games of the season.
SMU: The Mustangs have been much more effective on offense under Chad Morris, but are just as bad on defense as in 2014. They are giving up 44.1 points per game. This Halloween matchup should be a high scoring affair, but Tulsa is the better team and should win, moving them to 4-4.
Central Florida: The Knights are a mess. With a head coach that recently stepped down, an 0-8 record, and an offense that may be the worst in the nation, this should be rout. Expect very gaudy offensive numbers and a solid performance from the defense. Tulsa gets to 5-4 with this win.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats are a very good 4-3 team. Their three losses are to Temple, Memphis, and BYU. Even though advanced statistics say that this should be a close game, it's tough to envision a scenario in which Tulsa stays within single digits. Tulsa falls to 5-5 with this loss.
Navy: The Midshipmen make for a very tough matchup for Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane defense has trouble stopping the run, and Navy is a run oriented team. The offense should score, but the defense will let Tulsa down in this game. Tulsa falls to 5-6 with this loss.
Tulane: Finally, we end up as Tulsa makes the trip south to New Orleans with bowl aspirations on the line. Other than wins over Maine and UCF, the Green Wave have not been very competitive this fall. Short of a complete collapse from Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane should become bowl eligible with this win.
Nearly every bowl projection that has Tulsa included puts them in the Cure Bowl versus a Sun Belt Conference foe. The Cure Bowl is a first year bowl played in the Citrus Bowl between teams from the AAC and Sun Belt. This is one of three bowls to be played at that site, joining the Capital One Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl.
I am predicting the Golden Hurricane to land in Orlando for their first bowl trip since 2015, so pack your bags Tulsa, you will be in Orlando.