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The University of Tulsa's Golden Hurricane football team represents Tulsa in Conference USA (C-USA). Tulsa is in its final season in C-USA, as it will join the American Athletic Conference (The American) in July 2014. Tulsa is currently coached by third-year head coach Bill Blankenship. Prior to Blankenship, the football team was coached by Todd Graham until he accepted the head coaching job at Pittsburgh and later Arizona State University. Graham replaced Steve Kragthorpe, who led the team to three bowl games in four seasons before accepting the head coaching job at the University of Louisville after the 2006-7 season. Tulsa has the smallest undergraduate enrollment of all schools that participate in NCAA Bowl Subdivision football.
Tulsa defeated Central Florida 44-27 in Conference USA's inaugural championship game on December 3, 2005. The Tulsa Golden Hurricane also defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs 31-24 on December 31, 2005, at the Autozone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee. This win brought their first bowl victory in 15 years. In 2006, the team went to the Armed Forces Bowl, but lost to the Utah Utes, 25-13. On October 15, 2006, Tulsa earned its first ranking in the BCS, breaking in at No. 25. This marked TU's first national ranking since the end of the 1991 season, when it was ranked No. 21 in both the AP and the USA Today polls. In 2008 the team reached as high as 18th in both the BCS rankings and USA Today/Coaches poll, and 19th in the Associated Press poll. Tulsa football finished the 2010 season ranked 24th in the Associated Press poll and finished the 2012 season ranked 25th in the USA Today/Coaches poll. In the eight seasons that C-USA has held a championship game Tulsa has appeared in four and won two (2005, 2012). Tulsa went on to defeat Iowa State in the 2012 Liberty Bowl.
Tulsa was known as Henry Kendall College until the move from Muskogee to Tulsa was completed in 1907. It was during this time that the first football team would represent the University. The team would go 1-0, defeating the Bacone Indians. Both the exact date and score of the game were not recorded. Over the next twelve years, Kendall would play 17 games, going 8-8-1, but not fielding a team for four years (1903, 1904, 1906, 1907). The most common opponent was Arkansas, who met with Tulsa four times.