Warning: If Christmas, the thought of Christmas or the idea of someone mentioning Christmas offends you, please find another column. Tis the Season.
Oh, you are still reading? Fantastic. The University of Tulsa ho-hummed their way into another bowl game this year. Remember the Keith Burns era? Me neither.
The Golden Hurricane travels to Hawaii to battle the Warriors. It seems like just yesterday TU was battling the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors for conference supremacy in hoops. Ah the good ole days.
An official Sheraton Hawaii Bowl breakdown is due. Tulsa demands the best. If a weather person (nod to Julie Chin) can forecast a wintry mix, I'm predicting a Christmas-y mix in this bowl breakdown. We're going to set the record for most forced Christmas themed references in a 900-word column. Grab your Jingle Bells and hang on tight.
Every championship-caliber, well-oiled machine is powered by two leaders. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady seem destined to clash with Sean Payton and Drew Brees in the Super Bowl this year.
Santa Claus and Rudolph "The Red Nosed" Reindeer haul a sleigh and gifts around the world in one night.
Every team follows the leaders. This past Sunday morning, Tulsa's squad departed for the big island. Head Coach Todd Graham and quarterback G.J. Kinne will don the Santa hat and shiny red nose.
Awaiting our squad in the Aloha state should be the nationally ranked Warriors cheer squad. The good news is ten beautiful Santa Baby's are on the cheer team. The not-so-good news? Thirteen cheer dudes are on the team.
We shall refer to them as the Bumbles.
Hawaii opened as a 12-point favorite depending on which site you check. The money has come in on TU so far as the Hurricane is now just a 10.5 underdog according to Vegas.
The more intriguing number is 73. Nope, 73 is not the number of times TBS will broadcast A Christmas Story this year. Seventy-three is the over/under for total points scored between the two offensive minded teams.
It takes nine reindeer to pull Santa's sleigh, but only one has a movie about his plight. Meanwhile, 11 players take the field on offense, but everything hinges on the quarterback.
Did you know G.J. Kinne accounted for 322 yards per game? That was good for fourth in the nation this year just ahead of Landry Jones. The number two player? Brandon Weeden. Sitting atop the list at number one? Bryant Moniz, quarterback of Hawaii.
Hawaii and Tulsa each averaged 39 points per contest this season. They ranked ninth and 10th respectively.
Is it just me or is Bill Murray's Scrooged one of the most underrated Christmas movies of all time? As a side note, defense will be overrated in this bowl match-up.
Out of 120 teams in the FBS, Tulsa ranks 107 in overall defense. Sadly, three C-USA teams ranked lower. The Warriors on the other hand try. They give up 22 points per game compared to 30 by TU.
This is not to say the teams will hold hands under mistletoe at midfield while Blue Christmas rings throughout the stadium. Some hitting will take place by the defenses, just not much.
Damaris Johnson, Charles Clay and the boys will light up the Warriors' secondary like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra lit up the BOK Center last week.
Hawaii will likely return fire in a similar manner. Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares will be targeted early and often by Moniz. Hey Coach Graham, send a minion into their locker room before the game and fill their stockings with coal and switches.
The two universities have met eight times on the gridiron with the Warriors holding a 5-3 advantage. The last matchup came in 2004 in Honolulu with Tulsa coming up short by a score of 44-16. But back in 1951 (a year after Gene Autry recorded Frosty the Snow Man), TU pounded Hawaii by a score of 58-0.
Hawaii finished the regular season ranked 24th in the BCS standings. If Moniz passes for 371 yards against Tulsa, the Warriors will become only the second team in FBS history to field a 5,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher, and 1,000-yard receiver in the same season. Bah humbug!
Guess who sits alone atop the record books? Tulsa's 2007 squad sits alone atop the books thanks to Paul Smith, Tarrion Adams and several receivers (Brennan Marion, Trae Johnson and Charles Clay).
More on the line than you thought. Tulsa fights for national respect, to protect the records and to enjoy a Christmas Vacation.
And now for a more serious note. The University of Tulsa's Director of Athletics continues to hold two schools hostage. Or is he just a Nutcracker?
Bubba Cunningham should be commended for his stellar work during his tenure at TU. However, this ongoing "will he or won't he" in regards to the Kansas job is maddening.
There is an old saying you might be familiar with. Crap or get off the pot. The feeling is he knows what the end result will be. However, stringing everyone up like a house full of decorations benefits only one entity.
For the millionth time, I do not consider myself a typical member of the local media. But I'll speak on behalf of the rest of my cohorts.
Watching them chase tails and get shut down repeatedly by TU and Bubba makes me sad. They deserve better.
Oh Silent Night.
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