Team preview: Tulsa

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(All information as of June 20, 2008)

When Todd Graham came to Tulsa after the 2002 season as coach Steve Kragthorpe's defensive coordinator, the program had just endured its 11th consecutive losing season, including a 2-21 record in 2001-02. At that point, university leaders actually contemplated dropping to a lower level of football, or worse, eliminating the program altogether.
Since then the Golden Hurricane has gone 39-26, with four winning seasons, four bowls, two bowl wins, two Conference USA West Division titles, one conference championship and a 10-4 finish in 2007, Graham's first as head coach after Kragthorpe left for Louisville.

Last June, the football program moved into a $10 million facility at H.A. Chapman Stadium, which is currently undergoing a $27 million renovation that includes a $1.3 million FieldTurf surface and a $3 million high-definition video scoreboard. That's an impressive commitment for a private school with an enrollment of 4,200 -- particularly for one that almost dropped football just five years ago.

"I'm really proud of the way this program has grown," said Graham, who left Tulsa for one year to be the head coach at Rice in 2006. "Five years ago, when we first came here the year before, they had torn the goal post down because they had won one game. They had the longest losing streak in college football at the time.
"Now the expectation is that we need to be a Top 25 team. We're expected to win the Conference USA championship. That's how we want to be known. We want to be all about winning championships.