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The Not-So-Golden History Between UCF & Tulsa

Tulsa leads the series 8-3, with two of those wins coming in conference championships

C-USA Championship - Central Florida v Tulsa Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Tulsa is one of the few programs that has always seemed to have the UCF Knights’ number, stemming back to their days as members of Conference USA. In total, these two programs have met eleven times, with Tulsa winning eight of those match-ups. UCF has only played Marshall (12), Memphis (14), Bethune-Cookman (16) and ECU (19) more times than the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

From 2005-2012, UCF was one of C-USA’s most dominant East Division teams, winning the division four times, while Tulsa dominated the West winning their division five times. Each school won two conference championships and played each other for the conference championship three separate seasons (2005, 2007, & 2012). In eight seasons in the same conference, UCF went 60-44 and Tulsa went 72-34.

In 2005, after a wild 31-27 first half, Tulsa beat UCF 44-27 in the C-USA title game at the Citrus Bowl, and went on to beat Fresno State in the Liberty Bowl.

In 2007, Kevin Smith rushed for 284 yards and 4 touchdowns as UCF returned the favor to Tulsa in a 44-25 win for their first conference title, but lost to Mississippi State 10-3 in the Liberty Bowl.

2007 Conference USA Championship
Kevin Smith dominated in the 2007 C-USA Championship
Photo by Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

In 2012, UCF’s last year as a member of C-USA, the two teams met again for the championship, this time with Blake Bortles taking snaps under center for UCF. UCF blew a 27-21 lead and lost 33-27 in overtime, thanks in part to a controversial call on a punt return. The Knights went on to beat Ball State in the St. Pete Bowl while Tulsa went on to beat Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl.

Despite Tulsa’s dominance in C-USA, they’ve struggled to find success over the last eight seasons, with only one winning season in 2016 where they finished 10-3. In total, they’re 30-57 since the 2013 season.

Struggling with consistency hasn’t stopped the Golden Hurricane from raining on UCF’s parade. Since joining the AAC in 2014, Tulsa has beaten UCF three out of four times including last year’s 34-31 gut-wrenching loss where UCF was up 28-17 at halftime:

Luckily for the Knights, this year’s match-up is at home where UCF is 3-3 against Tulsa as opposed to 0-5 when playing them on the road.

Can the Knights turn the tide against Tulsa in this year’s match-up, or will Tulsa continue to own UCF on the football field? We’ll find out when the two teams meet this Saturday at 7:30pm at The Bounce House.