Tulsa football: Respect comes grudgingly for a mid-major like Tulsa

So the Big 12 feels slighted that the SEC has come to dominate college football, both in the trophy dash and the marketplace of public perception. What does a quality program like the University of Tulsa say in response? Welcome to the club.
by Berry Tramel Published: August 24, 2013
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photo - Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship speaks during a news conference at the University of Tulsa's NCAA college football media day, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Mike Simons) ORG XMIT: OKTUL102
Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship speaks during a news conference at the University of Tulsa's NCAA college football media day, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Mike Simons) ORG XMIT: OKTUL102

So the Big 12 (and Big Ten and ACC and Pac-12) feels slighted that the SEC has come to dominate college football, both in the trophy dash and the marketplace of public perception.

What does a quality program like the University of Tulsa say in response?

Welcome to the club.

“If the other BCS conferences feel disrespected by SEC, try being an non-BCS conference, trying to earn some respect on a national scale,” said Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship.

Respect comes grudgingly for a mid-major, be it a copperhead like Boise State or an upstart like Northern Illinois. Or Tulsa, the defending Conference USA champion that has 55 wins the last six seasons.

Welcome to the club, Blankenship said, is “a great way to think about it. The only time you ever really feel that other way is when you're at the very top of the pecking order. It's all relative. It really is.”

Tulsa split with the Big 12's Iowa State last season and lost 19-15 at the SEC's Arkansas. This season, the Golden Hurricane host Iowa State and play at OU.

And with a veteran team led by quarterback Cody Green (17 touchdown passes) and tailback Trey Watts (1,108 rushing yards), Tulsa is picked to win Conference USA again.

All the conference talk — be it SEC vs. Big 12, SEC vs. World, BCS vs. Mid-major — is just that, Watts said. Talk.

“It's really a whole bunch of nothing,” Watts said. “It's all talk. We just like to say, show up on the field and let our play talk for ourself. Being Conference USA, that's just what we've always had to do. We're used to it, try not to think too much about it. Just show up and play our game.”

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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