When Tulsa held on to defeat Central Florida, 23-21, on Nov. 17, they ensured home-field advantage when the two teams would meet again in the Conference USA Championship Game.
That may end up being the difference for the Golden Hurricane, as the oddsmakers have installed them as slight 1.5-point favorites over the Knights, a number which would almost assuredly be reversed if the game was being played in Orlando rather than Tulsa.
The two teams have had nearly identical seasons, with both having 9-3 records as well as a 7-1 mark in conference play. Tulsa is ranked 31st in the country in total offense and 36th in total defense; Central Florida is ranked 26th in both categories.
The difference in the first game came down to a better passing day from Tulsa QB Cody Green, who completed 21/34 passes for 252 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT.
However, that one interception proved costly, as Central Florida DB A.J. Bouye returned it 76 yards for a TD, allowing the Knights to stay in the game up until the last minutes. And in a game between two such evenly matched teams on Saturday, one or two big plays could end up being the difference.