Tulsa comes in to Orlando sporting a 5-3 record to UCF’s 4-4. Tulsa has the better resume, with it’s 3 loses coming at the hands of Boise St, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma St, while UCF has really yet to play a BCS quality opponent. Their 4 loses came to a then 0-6 UAB team, a 5-3 SMU squad, 6-3 BYU, and 5-3 Florida International. However, these four loses all came on the road. At home Central Florida is 4-0 and has won by a combined total of 149-9. Tulsa is 2-2 on the road this year.
Offensively, both teams are about equal. Tulsa ranks 39th with 182.9 yards rushing per game, while UCF ranks 40th with 182.6. Tulsa ranks 41st in passing yards per game with 252.1, UCF ranks 55th with 238.1. Both teams are fairly good in 3rd down situations, with Tulsa converting 40.4% of the time and UCF converting 43.9%. Defensively, however, UCF is far superior, ranking 5th in both passing yards per game (160.9) and rushing yards per game (84.5). Tulsa ranks 36th in rushing yards per game allowed with 126.1, and 107th in passing yards per game with 284.8. UCF is also much better defensively on 3rd downs, only allowing conversions 29% of the time, while Tulsa allows 42%.
At home, UCF likes to pound the ball on the ground, and has had success doing it, averaging 268.3 rushing yards per game there. Tulsa’s defensive performance against the run really hasn’t changed much on the road, but they have been gauged by the pass away from home, giving up an average of 292.5 yards per game.
Ultimately, I like UCF in this matchup to come out on top. Offensively, I think they will be able to put up some big rushing numbers, while still being able to exploit Tulsa’s suspect pass defense. When teams put up at least 100 yards rushing and 200 yards passing against Tulsa, they score an average of 35 points. UCF is averaging 182 and 238, respectively. Factor in how well UCF runs at home and how poorly Tulsa defends the pass on the road and I think you have a recipe for success. And for those who think these numbers are inflated due to Tulsa playing 3 top tier BCS programs, consider this. The other 3 games in which Tulsa has allowed these run and pass totals (Rice, UAB, North Texas), they have allowed an average of 21 points. If UCF puts up 20+ points, they have the defense to make it stand up.
Central Florida -1.5