How Much Tulsa’s Loss to ECU Sucks, as Measured in Servings of Fresh Fruit
Being a fan of mathematics as well as The University of Tulsa, I’ve been in a haze the last few hours thinking about how to quantify how much Tulsa’s season opening-fourth down-no time on the clock-hail mary loss to East Carolina really sucks. I eventually went down the path of thinking of what would be the opposite of sucking (Corndogs, of course), and realized that sucking, at least for my purposes, can only really be measured in servings of healthy fresh fruit. Therefore, it is my pleasure to introduce my new suck/awesome scale, which goes from 10 servings of fresh fruit (sucks the most) to 10 delicious corndogs (most awesome).
In ranking the fruitiness of this loss, I realized I first needed a few reference points. Let’s start with our boundary conditions: National Championship Victory-10 Corndogs, team plane crashes en route to National Championship game, killing all on board-10 Servings of Fresh Fruit. That was easy. Now for some intermediate points:
December 31st, 2005, Liberty Bowl. Tulsa 31, Fresno State 24
S/A Rank: 7 Corndogs
Ah, my fondest college memory. The crown jewel of Conference USA’s bowl tie-ins, and Tulsa is still the only team in the conference to win this game since joining CUSA. Oh, and the opponent? Fresno State, the same school that accounted for 60% of all of the losses of Tulsa’s Elite Eight squad (yeah, that’s a different sport, but this is my scale, and I’ll use whatever criteria I want). This was also arguably the most memorable team of the Pat Hill era at Fresno State, as they had gone into the Coliseum and nearly shocked USC, who was only saved by 500 plus yards of total offense from a player later declared ineligible by the NCAA.
Honorable mention 7 Corndog game: September 9th, 1995. Tulsa 24, Oklahoma State 23.
Three touchdowns in the last 7 minutes to overcome a 23-3 deficit? Yeah, that was sweet. And I was sitting in the South endzone where all three were scored.
November 10th, 2007. Tulsa 56, Houston 7.
S/A Rank: 5 Corndogs
Ohhh, yeah. Home dogs, playing for pole position in the CUSA West race which we would later win thanks to this game? That a lot of corndogs right there. But to demolish Houston so thoroughly? The team that once beat Dr. Phil’s TU squad 100-6 in 1968 (Thanks to 49 fourth quarter points). Well, let’s ask the man himself.
The Dark Side
November 7th, 2009. Houston 46, Tulsa 45
S/A Rank: 6 Servings of Fresh Fruit
Oh, the hurt feels so fresh. In the midst of a season coming unglued, Todd Graham was about to right the ship and notch the first true “statement victory” of his tenure. Case Keenum had just been sacked while attempting a would be game-tying 2 point conversion with hardly any time left, and all was right with the world! But then an onside kick bounces off a Tulsa player, and a couple short passes lead to the Houston kicker nailing a 51 yard field goal, by far the longest kick of his career.
October 16th, 2004 (Homecoming). Boise State 45, Tulsa 42.
S/A Rank: 5 Servings of Fresh Fruit.
Ugh, up by 7 late, Boise ends the game with 10 unanswered to win at the gun. Boise went on to finish the regular season 12-0 ranked 7th. Speaking of, how could we forget:
January 1st, 1944. Sugar Bowl. Georgia Tech 20, Tulsa 18.
S/A Rank: 8 Servings of Fresh Fruit
I’ll admit, I was -40 years old when this happened, so my memory is understandably fuzzy. But as legend has it, the difference in this game was Tulsa’s inability to score a PAT, an addition to the game that the Georgia Tech coach, William Alexander, hated so much that he said the game should be considered a tie. Well, I didn’t take it that way, and was personally devastated to see Tulsa’s undefeated season ended. Oh, and by the way, did I mention it was the FREAKING SUGAR BOWL!
So how does Sunday’s loss measure up? Beating a re-building ECU wasn’t going to be a “statement win,” nor is ECU a bitter rival of Tulsa. For this reason, I would only give it 4 Servings of Fresh Fruit, two less than last year’s Houston game.
These rankings are a work in progress, and I welcome any comments you might have. Personally, I imagine the scale similar to the Richter scale, with each corndog or serving of fresh fruit an order of magnitude greater in suckage or awesomeness. As such, 80-90% of all games should fall between 3 Corndogs and 3 Servings of Fresh Fruit’.
Just so you know, I could’ve continued to write this post all night, but decided for my own sanity to cut it off here. But just off the top of my head, games that might fall into outside of the 3 Corndogs to 3 Servings of Fresh Fruit range:
2009: Dropped INT gives UTEP new life, TU falls 28-24.
2008: Tulsa loses @ Arkansas and drops out of the BCS discussion
2008: Tulsa follows up Arkansas loss by losing 70-30 @ Houston
2007: Tulsa loses 48-47 @ UTEP
2006: Blocked PAT in OT gives TU 24-23 win over Navy, avenging 29-0 loss two years earlier.
2005: TU lets OU off the hook despite Rhett Bomar’s utter lack of ability. Adrian Peterson converts a 4th and 1 late, a play that still lands Roy Roberts on promotional reels to this day.
2004: Tulsa beats #23 UTEP to cap Kragthorpe’s second year on a positive note
2003: Landrum Leap @ Rice
2003 was my freshman year, so I’m not going too much further back than that. I apologize to everybody I told I wouldn’t write about college football on this site. I can’t promise it won’t happen again, unless Todd Graham can promise he’ll keep TU off the wrong end of Sportscenter’s Top Plays. Since I doubt that will happen with the way we’re tackling, I’ll just resolve to write no more than one college football post per week. Thanks for reading, and feel free to write down your biggest Corndog and Fresh Fruit games in the comment section (I’ve got to knock the cobwebs out of the comment section somehow).