Blog: Apparently, "Tulsa vs. Everybody" still has plenty of merit
The American Athletic Conference held its annual Football Media Days earlier this week - the same two days as the Big 12, to be exact. They held it in Newport, Rhode Island - literally about as far away as you can get from five of its member institutions: Tulsa, SMU, Houston, Tulane, & Memphis.
Conference commissioner Michael Aresco took to the podium early Monday and proceeded to ramble on about the state of the AAC, and how they view themselves as part of the "Power 6". His assertion that the AAC should be considered on the same level as current "Power 5" conferences aside, he said something that irked TU fans in Green Country & the Golden Hurricane contingent that was in Rhode Island: actually, it's more accurate to say it was what Aresco didn't say that has Tulsa seeing red.
The 66-year-old commissioner touted the AAC's "great" 2016 season - how they won games against teams in the Power 5 - how they had a player set both NCAA and school records. To be honest, it was a rather long speech - and he mentioned the University of Tulsa once - and that lone time was to congratulate Kirk Smith, a cross-country runner who was a Rhodes Scholar. Being named a Rhodes Scholar is definitely an accomplishment worth mentioning, no doubt.
But if Aresco was so hell-bent on touting the standout performances from his member institutions last season, where was Tulsa's enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame for something that had never been seen in college football prior to last season - having a 3,000-yard passer (Dane Evans), two 1,000-yard rushers (DeAngelo Brewer & James Flanders), and two 1,000-yard wide receivers (Keevan Lucas & Josh Atkinson)? If you're trying to sell your conference as one of the elites... don't you think you would mention such a feat?
Or, perhaps the fact that last season Dane Evans left TU as the conference's all-time leader in passing yardage?
Or, going back a year, that Keyarris Garrett was the leading wide receiver - IN THE NATION - during the 2015-2016 season?
None of those accomplishments were given the recognition they deserve by a commissioner, and a conference, that continues to act as if Tulsa does not exist.
Add to the disregard for record-breaking feats the outcome of two games last season largely decided on "questionable" calls - and you begin to see a pattern. You begin to understand why the TU players, and staff, feel as if they're fighting not just the teams lining up across from them - but their own conference.
You begin to feel the frustration that must constantly live inside the Golden Hurricane locker room.
You understand the meaning behind the shirt worn by Tulsa players prior to the UCF game last season that read: "Tulsa vs. Errbody".