Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 11/30/12
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- It seems that Tulsa and Central Florida have reserved slots in the Conference USA championship game. Since the inaugural contest in 2005, the Golden Hurricane and Knights have met for the league's football crown twice, splitting both matchups. Tulsa blew out UCF 44-27 and the Knights returning the favor 44-25 two years later. Now, with UCF and others set to depart at season's end as part of massive realignment, it's fitting that C-USA's two most decorated teams will compete for the title one final time on Saturday. "It is kind of funny if you look at it that way," Knights defensive lineman Victor Gray said. "It's like a farewell party and may the best man win in the end. So it's going to be interesting." This will be the second meeting between the teams in three weeks, following Tulsa's 23-21 regular-season win in Oklahoma. The Golden Hurricane's top-ranked rushing offense had their way with the Knights' defense in that Nov. 17 matchup, racking up 209 rushing yards while holding UCF to just 66. Tulsa also sacked UCF quarterback Blake Bortles four times and were an efficient 8 for 17 on third down, helping keep the Knights off the field. "They're talented across the board. They know we beat them the first time but it doesn't matter," Tulsa quarterback Cody Green said. "They will come out firing on all cylinders, trying to get the best of us this week." With little time to make that many adjustments, both coaches aren't expecting completely new approaches. Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship, who has yet to be part of a winner in the C-USA title game despite two appearances as an assistant in 2007 and 2008, said "tweaks" is about all there is time to do. "They are a mirror to us in a lot of areas," Blankenship said. "I would like to be more like them in some areas. So the challenge of beating them twice is certainly there. But there are some positives that come out of the first win. Mainly that we get to play home. I think there is a reason that travelling teams statistically don't play well. We count that as at least a small edge." Road teams are 3-4 all-time in the title game and this will be UCF's first trip as the visiting squad. Knights coach George O'Leary said he thought his defense played well in the first game, but had too many three-and-outs on offense, a product of Tulsa's defense playing much faster than the Knights. "There's a lot of retention in what both teams saw and did, so it should be an interesting game," he said. "But I do think when you practice, the key is your show teams have to have a lot faster pace. You have to practice that way and we've picked up this pace this week." Along with a playing for the league championship and Liberty Bowl berth, both Tulsa and UCF owe a lot of their success this season to their respective senior classes. UCF's seniors have a chance to win its second C-USA crown and set a new four-year victory record. They are currently tied with the 2010 class that won 32 games. "It's important because you only get to play for a certain amount of games as a college player. And those are the games you remember," O'Leary said. "You don't remember some other games, but you do remember the championship games." Likewise, Tulsa's seniors have won at least eight games in each of the last three seasons and have the Golden Hurricane assured of their 19th bowl appearance. One member of that group, Tulsa defensive back Dexter McCoil, said the retention of his class throughout his career is what sticks out for him. "There's a limited amount of us. There are like seven or eight of us out of 25 when I came in. I have a special relationship with those guys. We came in together, sweated together, grinded together. We became very good friends living together in dorms. "It's pretty good to come in in your fourth year knowing that you still have the guys you came in with." Knights' safety Kemal Ishmael said that even with all the preparation this week, at the end of the day, effort will rule the day. "It's just going out there and competing now," he said. Both teams know what to expect from each other. It's just who's going to be more successful and physical on the field. They know our personnel, we know they're personnel. We know what to expect from there, what they're trying to do and accomplish. "We just gotta go out there and compete now."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Giants’ Victor Cruz cleared to practice

PETA sends Warren Sapp vegan lobster following shark bite

Report: Josh McCown has looked better at times than RG3

Mike Trout does David Ortiz impersonation

Suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant set to help coach HS football

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tickets for ‘Monday Night Football’ game in Mexico sell out

Kevin Durant says he never told Russell Westbrook he was staying in OKC

God Shammgod hired by Mavericks as player development assistant

Soccer player terminates contract after being attacked by stray dogs

Todd Bowles confirms Ryan Fitzpatrick is Jets starting QB: ‘It’s his job’

Carmelo Anthony shocked Dwyane Wade left Miami for Chicago

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

Denard Robinson blames falling asleep at stoplight for pond crash

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Hue Jackson: Browns will give Josh Gordon a fresh start

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

What would George Costanza have traded to get Bonds and Griffey?

Gabby Douglas can make USA Gymnastics history at Olympics

Week 3 will determine the Big Ten's reputation this season

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker