Coming off a bowl-eligible year in 2015, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane football team looks to have a great 2016 as well. However, there is some tough competition standing in the way.
To begin the year, the Golden Hurricane get a visit from out west, as the San Jose State Spartans visit H.A. Chapman Stadium in the first game of the year. Then, Tulsa forgoes the usual opponent of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State to face another top college football team, traveling to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Hurricane round out their out-of-conference schedule with a visit from North Carolina A&T (of the lower-division Football Championship Series), followed by a road trip to Fresno State, in Fresno, California.
“We have an exciting non-conference schedule with two west coast teams, one at home, San Jose State and one on the road Fresno State, from a strong conference. Then you have a traditionally strong Ohio State team on the road and a 10-win team with North Carolina A&T at home,” said Head Coach Philip Montgomery.
“When the preseason rankings come out, I believe Ohio State will be a top-5 team. They have such an outstanding program with a very strong, talented team playing in the Big 10 Conference plus a great crowd environment that always makes it tough for an opponent in Columbus.”
After the first bye week of the year, Tulsa has home and away games on alternating weeks for the middle six weeks. Home games will be against SMU, Tulane (the homecoming game) and East Carolina, while the away games in between will be against Houston, Memphis and Navy, three of the conference’s top football teams last year. The final two games of the year are a home game against UCF for the second consecutive season, then the final game at home against Cincinnati.
“In conference play we start off with SMU who, in year two with Coach Morris, will be much improved. Then we have to travel to defending champion Houston, back home for Homecoming against Tulane, then back on the road at Memphis. Once we get into the month of November, we start off with East Carolina and a new coach, and back-to-back games at Navy and UCF. Playing consecutive road games is always difficult for the players to bounce back, so that will be a tough stretch.”
It’s interesting that TU doesn’t have either of the big Oklahoma schools as an opponent, but it’s certainly an exciting change to play a historic program such as Ohio State. It’ll also be exciting to see how the Hurricane fare on the road against last year’s top teams (keeping in mind that Memphis and Navy both had their star quarterback graduate). Obviously, we won’t see how the Golden Hurricane are until they set foot on the field, but the schedule suggests some exciting football matchups next fall.
“We want to make this city proud. We need Tulsans to come out and help us win football games and be a part of what we have going on. We’re going to try to create that brand of football that will keep fans coming back for more,” said Montgomery.