The opponents for Tulsa’s football schedule has been known for quite some time thanks to the release of the non-conference slate in January and the fact that Conference USA foes will be the same as they were in 2009, except it will be a flip-flop of the sites.
But now the dates of each match-up can be known because the 2010 schedule has been released and it will be another tough one.
“We have a very challenging overall schedule, both in Conference USA and with our non-league schedule,” Tulsa Head Coach Todd Graham said. “We’ll play four of the top-5 teams from a year ago, including first-place East Carolina and third-place Southern Miss from the east, and the top two teams from the west division, Houston and SMU. Three of those games will be on the road, so our league schedule will be extremely difficult.
“Our non-conference schedule with Bowling Green, who had a really good year last season, Oklahoma State, who was one of the top teams in the country last year, and Notre Dame, is very demanding. The overall schedule is one that creates a lot of opportunities for our football program, and one that we’ll have to be at our very best. We’re excited about our team and the schedule we’re presented with in 2010,” said Graham.
The Golden Hurricane will play six teams that played in bowl games last season. And for the third year in a row, they will open on the road against a league foe. But this time, it will be two-time defending champion East Carolina. TU will play the Pirates on Sun. Sept. 5 in Greenville, N.C. That game is slated for a 2 p.m. kickoff on ESPN2.
Tulsa opened up with road victories over conference foes in each of the past two seasons, both coming in routs — 45-22 at UAB and 37-13 at Tulane. Obviously, doing that to East Carolina won’t be as easy, especially when the Pirates have won the last two meetings over TU, both coming at Chapman Stadium, including the 2008 Conference USA title game.
The Pirates will have a new coach at the helm. They will be led by Ruffin McNeil, who served as Texas Tech’s interim coach in the Alamo Bowl after Mike Leach was fired. He replaced Skip Holtz, who left for South Florida.
Then Bowling Green comes to town for the home opener on Sept. 11. Last meeting between both schools came in the 2008 GMAC Bowl, with the Hurricane winning big, 63-7. The Falcons lost to Idaho in overtime in the Humanitarian Bowl in December.
Then it’s a trip west on the Cimarron Turnpike to Stillwater one week later for an encounter with Oklahoma State. The Hurricane and Cowboys have not squared off since 2004, when OSU was a 38-21 victor.
Central Arkansas comes to town on Sept. 25.
TU will resume Conference USA play with back-to-back road games on Oct. 2 at Memphis and Oct. 9 at SMU. Then its Tulane at home on Oct. 16.
After a week off, the Hurricane head to South Bend, Ind. on Oct. 30 to meet Notre Dame, who was bowl eligible in 2009 with six victories. It will be the first meeting between both schools.
Just like it did last season, Tulsa will spend most of November at home with three of its last four regular season games on the Skelly Field turf.
Rice will be in town on Nov. 6, followed by the last road trip of the year one week later at defending C-USA West Division Champion Houston, who will welcome back quarterback Case Keenum, who was a Heisman Trophy candidate last season. It will be a rematch of last year’s thrilling 46-45 finish, won by the Cougars on a last second field goal.
The last two home games will be Nov. 20 against UTEP and Nov. 27 against Southern Miss, who is supposed to be the East Division favorite.
TU’s 2010 football schedule
Sept. 5 — at East Carolina*
Sept. 11 — BOWLING GREEN
Sept. 18 — at Oklahoma State
Sept. 25 — CENTRAL ARKANSAS
Oct. 2 — at Memphis
Oct. 9 — at SMU
Oct. 16 — TULANE
Oct. 30 — at Notre Dame
Nov. 6 — RICE
Nov. 13 — at Houston
Nov. 20 — UTEP
Nov. 27 — SOUTHERN MISS