I'm a fan. You will see others with fancy titles such as sports journalist, sports writers, senior sports columnists and sports editors. Many thanks to my editor and publisher for my fancy title, but at the end of the day, I am simply a sports enthusiast.
I just wish others would have grasped the greatness in Tulsa the past four years. We may be forced to wait another 10 or 15 years. It may take that long for someone as special as Paul "Sneaky" Smith graces Tulsa's presence.
Eleventh in passing attempts. Thirteenth in completions. Second in passing yards. Forty-two passing TDs rank second in the nation. A quarterback rating of 160.3 ranks sixth in the nation. We're talking nation, not just C-USA.
The raw numbers tell but a third of the story. I warned everyone about my man crush. No worries, Mrs. Smith. I am happily married myself. To a woman. The reason this seems awkward is because we typically spout off about the person who can jump the highest or run the fastest. Smith just wins.
He also received a gluttony of awards in this, his senior season. C-USA All-Academic Team, C-USA Offensive Player of the Year, the third annual Wuerffel Trophy by the All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach and first-team all-C-USA selection. He was money.
Awards typically go to the best player on the best team. This is the criteria voters utilize for MVP and Heisman selections. The fact that Smith hauled in the multitude of hardware speaks volumes of his athletic acumen but also about the team in which he led.
You may recall my rebuff of the proposed playoff system conjured up by football pundits. Tulsa is the absolute perfect example of the reason why a playoff system would ruin college football as we know it. Ok, ruin is a strong term but devalue for sure.
The Golden Hurricane takes center stage for all the nations to witness. Their GMAC Bowl showdown with Bowling Green is Sun., Jan. 6 at 7pm. The game is the second to last on the bowl season's robust schedule.
The Falcons of Bowling Green are not an ideal opponent for TU. Tulsa would have benefited from stiffer competition. A middle-tier BCS conference school would have cast more eyes on the game in primetime.
Alas, the time slot is still fantastic. The second to last bowl game of the year means college football junkies will be tuning in for their last dose of gridiron action this year. It doesn't hurt to play on the world wide leader's main channel as well. Gamblers can also attempt to break even.
Typically, I would spout off about the weapons on the other side of the field. Honestly, the Falcons are not at TU's level. Coach Graham will do everything possible to keep his troops from being overconfident, but a victory is within grasp. Even Vegas has Tulsa favored by five going in.
The main cog of the Bowling Green attack, ahem, would be their quarterback. Tyler Sheehan's completions percentage is slightly higher than Smith's. That's it. That's the one area BG is better off than TU.
Tulsa, on the other hand, holds advantages in practically every other category. Total yards, passing yards, rushing yards and points scored. Defense? Pfft.
Vegas understands. The over/under is 75. By comparison, let's look at a few other bowl lines. The Ohio State versus LSU championship contest is set with a 49.5 O/U line. OU and West Virginia? A paltry 64. High scoring Hawaii and SEC powerhouse Georgia? 68.5. The numbers (usually) don't lie.
As much as my man crush gravitates me toward watching #12 conduct the offense, he has help o' plenty. Tarrion Adams and Jamad Williams have carried the load in the backfield. When Courtney Tenial suffered a season ending injury, people questioned the ability of this team to produce on the ground.
Adams should return for his senior season. His stability in the backfield is an unquantifiable asset in this new spread'em out scheme. Rushing, blocking and pass catching are required and Adams delivers.
Smith needed someone to haul in his 300 completions this season. Brennan Marion led the big play productions with 39 catches for 1,244 yards. Trae Johnson led the team in receptions. Charles Clay led the team in tough yards. Over the middle? No problem. You want to know what else? All should return for another season. They'll help break in Smith's replacement.
Tulsa's defense is the weak link. We know it, they know it and the opposition knows it.
Linebackers HYPERLINK "http://tulsahurricane.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/chamberlain_chris00.html"; Chris Chamberlain and HYPERLINK "http://tulsahurricane.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/coleman_nelson00.html"; Nelson Coleman lead the much maligned unit. The two were also named to first-team all-C-USA.
The bad news. The unit they led is ranked in the bottom 10. Not in C-USA, we're talking the nation. The run defense isn't terrible. The pass defense isn't an atrocity. Combine the two and ugliness prevails.
All of which brings us back to Tulsa's intangible. Paul Smith. Give up 30 points? No problem. TU will score 40. This is the kind of pressure some QB's fold under. Smith likes his odds.
After all, he is a married man. If you can survive college, marriage and a transition from one playbook to another in one year, what exactly can Bowling Green scheme to rattle the caption of the TU Express?
Didn't think so. TU 37 -- BG 28.
Share this article: