CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tulsa's football team is the class of Conference USA but, for the first time this season, the Golden Hurricane will enter a game as the underdog.
Tulsa (7-1, 5-0) visits Arkansas this Saturday. The Razorbacks have tumbled from the lofty perch of its preseason expectations, struggling to a 3-5 record under Coach John L. Smith, a last-minute replacement for disgraced and fired former Coach Bobby Petrino. The Hurricane's only 2012 loss came in its season opener against Iowa State.
After rattling off seven straight wins, the Golden Hurricane may be and underdog, but Tulsa Coach Bill Blankenship said the team won't act like an underdog.
"I think we're playing as a confident team right now. You can look at the film from the Rice game and go, 'Man, we've got to get a lot better if we're going to go to Arkansas and win.' All of that is a good thing for us. Whether Arkansas was coming off a win or a loss to Ole Miss, I don't think it was going to matter to us one bit."
Blankenship redshirted at Tulsa in 1976, the last year the Hurricane went to Fayetteville and won.
He went to the game as a spectator and remembers celebrating more than he would have if he were on the sideline. He doesn't know if his current players completely understand the history of the series - the two teams have played 72 times and Arkansas leads 52-16-3, winning the last 17. But he knows what a win would mean for long-time fans.
"It would mean a lot more to people who have been around Tulsa for a long time," he said. "I don't know that our players get the significance of that past history of (the TU-Arkansas series). To guys my age, it's certainly very meaningful. There are a lot of true-blue Tulsa fans (who would savor a victory over the Razorbacks). To the players on our team, it would be a significant win over a significant program."
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