The Hurricanes real strength was on defense. They were 3rd nationally in sacks per pass, behind only South Carolina and Arizona State, and 4th on passing downs. They caught runners at or behind the line of scrimmage on 22% of running plays, and opponents opted to run the ball in short yardage situations less than two thirds of the time; the national average is just under 70%. And the defense was stout against the run and pass in general, even when the weren't catching opponents in the backfield.
The college football world has been slow to realize that, post Kinne, Tulsa's offense is sub-par. They have been mislead by an offense that scored 35 points per game in 2012. But they needed 14.8 possessions per game (3rd most in the country) to reach that number. In points per possession Tulsa finished 70th, just behind BYU and New Mexico. Most also don't realize that the 260 lb. Alex Singleton was critical, not just in eating up carries but also getting critical yards; he led Tulsa running backs in EPA per rush. At 370 lbs total, Watts and Douglas won't be able to absorb those extra carries without a cost.
But the bigger concern is the defense. It is a major concern because it won't be the same defense. Rice has as many starters returning on its defensive line and more starters returning to the secondary than Tulsa has returning on defense. Where Tulsa won 11 games at the line of scrimmage in 2012, the entire defensive line and 60% of the offensive line will be new starters. Tulsa might still be the class of the West, but that isn't saying much.