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IOWA STATE vs. TULSA
Monday, Dec. 31, 3:30 pm
Nothing is worse than two teams playing in a bowl against one another when they already played earlier in the year and that’s in store for this year’s Liberty Bowl. Iowa State beat the eventual Conference USA champions in this season's opener and heads into the Liberty Bowl motivated to finish with a winning record for the first time in three years. Iowa State will try to force some more turnovers while earning its third win in five bowl games. he Cyclones have an uncanny way of getting their opponents to join them in playing a boring, time of possession-filled, disciplined game. Head coach Paul Rhoads doesn’t have the built-in recruiting advantages of most of his counterparts in the Big 12. He finds ‘grinders’ that will buy in to his system and will continue to get better throughout their careers. It really is a testament to his coaching staff and his ability to get the most out of his players' physical abilities. When glossing at the numbers alone, Iowa State certainly doesn’t jump off the page. The Cyclones win with execution, defense, and forcing turnovers. When betting sites online tackle this tilt, they will give Tulsa a very legitimate chance because of improved balance and quality coaching. For a number of years, Tulsa was a talented passing team which was going to air it out on the way to 45-50 point games, aiming to win in shootout fashion. That was the modus operandi under former coach Todd Graham. In 2012 things have changed a bit, as the Golden Hurricanes have become much more balanced under head coach Bill Blankenship, enough to win the championship of Conference USA.
Tulsa won 11 games for the only time in program history in 2008, but it gave itself an opportunity to tie that mark with an overtime victory over Central Florida in the conference title game Dec. 1. The Golden Hurricane feature a trio of backs who have carried the ball 100 or more times. While Alex Singleton has been featured as the red zone back, Ja’Terian Douglas and Trey Watts have each eclipsed 600 yards rushing on their carries. The team has improved its defense immensely from a year ago when it was among the worst in the entire nation. This is how a team moves up the ladder in its conference. Tulsa failed to even win its own division last season. Now it is a conference champion with a coach who delivers more of a return on the school's investment than many other coaches in college football. Blankenship has delivered the kind of value to Tulsa that various athletic directors can only dream of.
It’s possible that Iowa State will not treat this game seriously, having already beaten Tulsa. Iowa State lost five of its last seven games and finished next to last in the Big 12 Conference and Tulsa will get its revenge. Without All-Big12 linebacker, Jake Knott, the Cyclones will not be able to keep up with Tulsa. Tulsa wins the game and we have them winning by more than 3 touchdowns. which makes this game a major play. I will have more on this game as we get closer but making sure everyone jumps on Tulsa early and often.
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