by Matt Mangum
email@example.com or on twitter @matt_mangum
If we had all just read Rivals.com in August, we would have known that this was coming. BYU and Tulsa are officially going to square off in the Armed Forces Bowl.
BYU and Tulsa have played 7 times. BYU holds a 6-1 advantage in those matchups. Many of you will best remember the 2007 matchup. Max Hall threw for 537 yards. It was a 55-47 shootout that ended with a gut punch in the final minute when Andrew George fumbled the football. (George totally redeemed himself later) I’m not sure I can even talk about it without getting upset. So here we are in 2011 preparing to face Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas, Texas. This season Tulsa’s losses came against the following schools: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State (who should be playing for a title), Boise State and Houston. Those are all decent teams and Tulsa doesn’t have much to be ashamed of there. In 2011 BYU lost to Texas, Utah and TCU. Neither of the team’s complete schedules shed much light on the matchup. There is one common opponent, Central Florida, and both teams beat the Golden Knights by a score of 24-17.
Tulsa boasts a quarterback, G.J. Kinne who has thrown for over 2800 yards and 25 TDs. Jake Heaps and Riley Nelson’s combined statistics are over 2800 yards and 25 TDs. Kinne threw for over 300 yards in five different games. As individuals, Nelson and Heaps only topped 300 yards a couple of times. That is an eery stat to me when I think about this game in the context if the 2007 matchup. The good news is that these are almost entirely different teams and the comparison is purely historical. The bad news is that Tulsa is not UTEP. This is a serious matchup against a team that can score points and move the football. This is a good chance for BYU to measure how far they have actually come this season. It should be exciting for fans and players. There are going to be alot of decisions to be made this offseason and this game may provide a good measuring stick to make quality decisions. If it does not go well, BYU heads into an offseason of uncertainty. If it does go well, it provides some serious framework for this offseason and next year.