The 23rd-ranked Memphis Tigers head out on the road Friday night to battle the Tulsa Golden Hurricane looking to remain atop the American West Division standings.
Memphis comes in at 7-1 overall and 4-1 in AAC play with a victory over Tulane on Oct. 27 and checked in at number 23 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings on Oct. 31.
The Golden Hurricane, however, has not had as smooth of a time so far this season and currently sits at 2-7 overall and 1-4 in AAC play with a close loss at SMU on Oct. 27.
The Tigers lead the all-time series with Tulsa 16-11, but the Golden Hurricane knocked off Memphis 59-30 last season in Memphis before clinching a 10-3 final record with a bowl win.
These teams have historically battled each other close, but this year’s matchup appears to be a mismatch on paper in favor of the Tigers. Memphis currently has a 69.3 percent chance to defeat the Golden Hurricane on the road Friday night.
A key matchup to look for in this game will be how well the Tigers’ defense can contain the Tulsa rushing attack. The Golden Hurricane has struggled this season, but its offense is averaging 446.2 yards-per-game including 260.2 rushing yards-per-game.
The Memphis defense has struggled at times this season even with a 7-1 start and is giving up 201.4 rushing yards-per-game, which could play into the hands of Tulsa’s rushing attack. Both teams are giving up at least 33.4 points-per-game this season and if D’Angelo Brewer can get going on the ground for the Golden Hurricane, Tulsa could have a chance to make things interesting.
Brewer currently has 980 rushing yards on the season with eight rushing touchdowns and is averaging nearly five yards-per-carry. Tulsa’s best chance to make things interesting might be to turn the game into a shootout on its own home field.
The Tigers have serious AAC Championship aspirations and is only five spots behind UCF in the College Football Playoff rankings in their hopes of being the Group of Five affiliates in a New Year’s Six bowl game. But they will have to keep winning in order to reach both goals and it starts Friday night at Tulsa.
The Golden Hurricane has struggled to find wins this season, but it has been close to breaking through in several games having lost five games by 10 points or less. Despite its record, Tulsa is not a team to be taken lightly if you’re the Memphis Tigers.
Every game is a big game for Memphis from here on out and Tulsa would love nothing more than to spoil the Tigers’ season Friday night with a national TV audience watching.
Memphis and Tulsa kickoff at 8 p.m. EST Friday at Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the game will be televised on ESPN2.