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Posts Tagged ‘Memphis Tigers’

Can The Streak Continue?

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 14, 2009

The last time Memphis lost to a Conference USA opponent, I was in community college and working at a children’s agency in downtown Memphis.

It was March of 2006, a year after Darius Washington missed two free throws when the Tigers lost to UAB in Birmingham en route to the first of three consecutive Conference USA championships.

That team had players like Chris Douglas-Roberts, Rodney Carney, Jeremy Hunt, Joey Dorsey, and the aforementioned Darius Washington, just to name a few.

For nearly three years, no Conference USA member has said that they slayed the giant that is the Memphis basketball program.

As a fan, I can remember very well four games in which the Tigers’ streak almost came to a sudden halt.

A year after that night in Birmingham, the Tigers, playing for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, traveled to Dallas to face SMU to close out the regular season and clinch the first undefeated conference slate in school history.

Now for most that don’t know, Southern Methodist’s last NCAA appearance was in 1993 and for the most part, the Mustangs aren’t too high on the fear factor of those who walk into Moody Coliseum.

But on that March night, the Mustangs almost did the unthinkable until Memphis, true to its custom, closed the window of opportunity on the Mustangs and clinched its second straight C-USA title.

Almost a year later, the Tigers were in trouble again in Birmingham as they faced the Blazers before another packed house in Bartow Arena and by the grace of God defeated the Blazers as well as the hillbillies who decided to throw things on the court.

The third close call that I have recollections of was shared this past Saturday at my mother’s house when the Tigers faced Central Florida in Orlando.

Given the fact that when I did the 25 greatest basketball programs in the South, I made a note that in the 21 years my mother has been at the University of Memphis, the Tigers have had only three losing seasons and 18 postseason appearances.

The problem was that despite the success the Tigers had in basketball, my mother pulled for the opponent whenever I watched a game with her.

“They’re going to lose,” my mother said Saturday when it seemed like Central Florida was going to put an end to the streak.

“It’s 8 minutes left in the game,” I said, as Central Florida continued to hold serve with the Tigers.

“They can’t pull it off,” my mother said.

“Yes they can,” I said.

True to form, the Tigers, playing before another raucous crowd in UCF Arena, extended “The Streak” to 44 games by pulling away in the last part of the game, winning 73-66.

Close call number four came Tuesday night in Tulsa when the Golden Hurricane, which features guard Ben Uzoh and center Jerome Jordan, nearly put an end to “The Streak.”

The 5,950 fans at the Reynolds Center were set to rush the floor when Uzoh hit a free throw with 4.5 seconds left to give the Golden Hurricane a 54-53 lead, something that caught my attention while writing this column last night.

“Let’s go Tulsa,” New Orleans native Jonah Leavell said as we watched the final seconds of the game.

Mind you, New Orleans is the home of Tulane University, a school that has never been known for basketball tradition and the same school in which a gambling scandal rocked the program during the days of “Hot Rod” Williams, so I could understand the confusion Leavell has when it comes to basketball in Memphis.

“Tulsa’s pretty good though,” I said, “they won 20-plus games last season, but the Tigers always find some way to pull it out.”

With 4.1 seconds left in “The Streak” and a legion of fans waiting to rush the court at the Reynolds Center, Antonio Anderson would receive the grace of God in the form of a basketball and make a leaning layup at the buzzer to extend the streak to 45 wins and counting in Conference USA.

A play that was from the textbook of former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell, who used it in the 1982 Great Alaska Shootout  where it proved to be the deciding factor in the Tigers’ victory over the Golden Hurricane.

After the game ended, I sent a text to former Crichton basketball player Michael Sapp.

“We Memphis boys know how to hoop,” the text message read.

All but maybe one.


Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

What Is The Damn Problem?

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on December 17, 2008

In the 91 years prior to 2003, the football program at the University of Memphis had only three Bowl appearances, the last coming in 1971 when Fred Pancoast led the Missouri Valley Conference-champion Tigers to the Pasadena Bowl.

Thirty-two years later, Tommy West and legendary running back DeAngelo Williams, now with the Carolina Panthers, led the Tigers to the New Orleans Bowl where they would beat North Texas and begin a stretch of five Bowl games in six seasons, being one of only a handful of schools to do that.

While for the fact this would be a huge accomplishment for a once moribund program, it hasn’t been the case for the Tigers, who has seen attendance drop to 25,000 fans per game, a far cry from the 41,000 average that came to the Liberty Bowl in 2004 to see DeAngelo Williams and company.

And now the question that one would pose to the uninformed observer would be this: what is the damn problem with the Tiger football program?

OK, I know two reasons of the problems with the Tiger football program, the first one being that Memphis is a basketball school first and foremost and will always be that way.

But that’s no valid excuse because in recent years, basketball powerhouses like Louisville, which as we all know was a member of Conference USA and decided to pump money and energy into their football program by building new facilities including a brand-new, on-campus stadium to replace aging Cardinal Stadium in 1998.

For that reason, the Cardinals are in the Big East and the Tigers are still toiling in Conference USA.

In the last eight years, the Tigers have spent a grand total of $6 million on football-related improvements and are finishing a fund raising campaign worth $3 million to build a new state-of-the-art weight room at the Murphy Athletic Complex.

That’s probably a third of Nick Saban’s salary at Alabama.

Another valid point is the fact that, instead of watching the Tigers, fans would rather head to Oxford, Starkville, or Knoxville to watch quality football, and from a person who has a bunch of friends that cheer for Ole Miss, Mississippi State, or Tennessee, that’s a justifiable reason.

They have a great tailgating atmosphere, meaning the tailgate area is close to the stadium and not miles away and they have tradition in their programs as well.

Memphis doesn’t.

Then you have to throw in the fact that Memphis, unlike those three schools, schedule non-conference foes like McNeese State, Nicholls State, and neighborhood rival Arkansas State on a regular basis.

Tennessee this year went to UCLA, Mississippi State went up against Georgia Tech and West Virginia this season, and Ole Miss last season played Missouri on the road.

People, from what I’ve learned in Sport and Event Planning class, aren’t going to be amped for a game against Nicholls State or Arkansas State.

They’re not going to return if the atmosphere around the stadium sucks balls.

And finally, no one is going to return if the team isn’t winning (see the Grizzlies for proof).

So what needs to be done?

You tell me.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Turn The Page

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 22, 2008

As the old adage goes, when one door closes, another door opens.

For the Memphis Tigers and their fans, Friday night’s Memphis Madness meant the celebration of one of the greatest seasons in college basketball history and the prospect for another run at success.

Sitting among one of the 15,000 or so fans in the FedEx Forum, I wondered how many people, young and old, felt about a team of guys from all over the map that did something special like the Tigers in 2007-08.

During the video tribute to the 2007-08 team, a lady who probably would have been mistaken for my late grandmother, had tears in her eyes as they showed the Kansas-Memphis highlights.

“We had that game,” she said to me, echoing the same sentiment that I had during my drunken tirade after that game in April.

With tears welling up in my eyes as well (yes, I do have a soft side), I said to the lady that very few people, including the people in Lawrence, Kansas, get a chance to experience what was experienced in Memphis last season.

Five minutes prior to the banner raising, a familar face that was here during this glorious era of Tiger basketball came onto the FedEx Forum floor, current New Jersey Net Chris Douglas-Roberts.

And much like the days when he provided one electrifying moment after another on the hardwood, the fans around the building chanted “C-D-R!!!!”.

The highlights of the pre-raising was the video messages from Derrick Rose and Joey Dorsey, both of whom had games on Friday night, and Douglas-Roberts breezing through the FedEx Forum crowd like he was the mayor of Memphis.

And then, after all was said and done, the current Tiger team, along with Douglas-Roberts, raised the banner to the rafters of the FedEx Forum, setting off a sea of blue and white streamers from the ceiling.

“Well,” I said to the same lady sitting next to me, “it’s time to turn the page and see can these guys do it again in 2008-09.”

While, for the most part, I didn’t stay for much of the scrimmage, I was impressed by the 3-point marksmanship of Willie Kemp and Robert Sallie, who if not for the mess the Big 12 had put him through while trying to play at Nebraska for Doc Sadler, he would be playing for a mediocre team instead of a top 25 team like the Tigers.

My thoughts on Tyreke Evans?

Good as advertised. If the Tigers have another runaway season in Conference USA, he’s going to win Freshman of the Year.

And maybe, just maybe, a Championship ring.

Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Doc Holliday’s Grand Tour Of C-USA: Memphis Tigers

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on July 25, 2008

Memphis Tigers

Head Coach: Tommy West (41-44 in 7 years at Memphis, 76-79 overall)

Stadium: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium: (62,380)

2007 Record: 7-6 (6-2 C-USA East)

Postseason: Lost to Florida Atlantic 44-27 in the New Orleans Bowl

Key Returnees on Offense: WRs Duke Calhoun, Carlos Singleton, Steven Black, Maurice Jones, RB T.J. Pitts, TE Brett Russell

Key Returnees on Defense: FS Brandon Patterson, DE Greg Terrell, LBs Josh Weaver and Winston Bowens

The Skinny: In what was one of the most bizarre and inspiring seasons for football in Memphis, starting with the slow start to begin the ’07 season and the tragic death of Taylor Bradford in September and ending with the fourth bowl appearance for the Tigers in five years, this year is looking to be a rebuilding time for Memphis. The Tigers say goodbye to incumbent QB Martin Hankins, who’s moved on to bigger and better things and hello to anyone (including me) filling the void left by Hankins in at QB. While it’s up in the air who’s going to be the quarterback come August 30th when the Tigers open up at Ole Miss, it’s safe to say that the receiving corps will be one of the keys for the offense to click as Duke Calhoun and Steven Black return along with Carlos Singleton and Maurice Jones, who were among the team’s leaders in receiving yards, touchdowns, and receptions. Along with an experienced group of wide receivers, they also welcome back TE Brett Russell for his senior season.

On defense, the Tigers seem to be loaded at safety with former Germantown High standout Brandon Patterson and Tony Bell. Linebackers Josh Weaver and Winston Bowens will also pick up the slack in the defensive unit as well as end Greg Terrell and tackles Clinton McDonald and Freddie Barnett who look to return to their status as one of the best defensive units in Conference USA.

Doc’s Prediction: After ripping this team a new one on this site in late September and early October last year and waking up to jump on the football bandwagon of the Tigers in early November, what momentum that the Tigers carried into their fourth bowl appearance in five years should carry over into this season. Given the fact that their schedule looks favorable, Memphis has winnable games against Rice, UAB, Nicholls State, Arkansas State at home. A showdown with Louisville looms on October 10th and the Tigers open the season in Oxford with Ole Miss to begin the Houston Nutt era, there’s no excuse for the Tigers to not be in contention for the C-USA East crown.

Projected Record: 7-6 (5-3 C-USA East)

2008 Memphis Tigers Schedule:

August 30th-@ Ole Miss

September 6th-Rice

September 13th-@ Marshall

September 20th-Nicholls State

September 27th-Arkansas State

October 2nd-@ UAB

October 10th-Louisville

October 18th-@ East Carolina

October 25th-Southern Mississippi

November 8th-@ Southern Methodist

November 22nd-Central Florida

November 29th-Tulane

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Destiny Or Fate, It’s All The Same

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on April 7, 2008

Editor’s Note: Discuss this article NOW over at ACC vs. SEC! – Destiny Or Fate, It’s All The Same

Thursday night, hours before the Tigers were set to play the UCLA Bruins in the Final Four, I sat in my Christian Theology class hearing one of my professors, who also doubles as Crichton’s soccer coach, talk about general revelation and why sometimes we as people wind up in the right place at the right time.

Listening to what Coach Jeremy Iwaszkoweic was saying about general revelation and why certain people are picked for certain things, it made me as well as what most Tiger fans around the Mid-South think about one word.


Fate could be added as well because for whatever reason, the dream ride that the Tigers have been on throughout the season, which continued with a convincing win over UCLA Saturday night in San Antonio behind the outstanding play of Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts, who gave another clip to be added to the great NCAA Tournament highlights of all time by dunking on superfreshman Kevin Love. It has given my hometown something to be identified with in a positive manner.

When the Tigers chalked up win number 38, which is now the new single-season record in NCAA history, it was not only a win for the critics (that means you, Dick Vitale) but also a win for the city of Memphis — a town that always got confused with being a backwater town on the banks of the Mississippi River.

That has constantly remained in the shadow of Nashville with its country music and beautiful skyline on the Cumberland River for many years.

Well, from the last time I checked, wasn’t Vanderbilt upended by little Siena in the first round?

Uh, yeah.

And wasn’t it a while back that Tennessee, coming off its best regular season in school history, punked again in the Sweet 16, this time losing to Louisville convincingly?

Uh, yeah.

While it has been a banner year for basketball in the state, where five teams made the NCAA Tournament, two made the Sweet 16, and one sits 40 minutes away from the first ever men’s basketball NCAA championship in Tennessee’s history (sorry, NIT titles don’t matter), you can honestly say that this magical season of basketball wasn’t because of an accident of epic proportions.

It was in the cards for a long time.

And destiny, real or imagined, played a role in it.

Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Twenty Years And Worth The Wait

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on April 2, 2008


Twenty years ago, my mother began her tenure as supervisor in the Physical Plant and Planning at what was then known as Memphis State University.

Back then, the Tigers were coached by hometown hero Larry Finch, who led the Tigers to their greatest basketball moment back in 1973 when they faced UCLA and Bill Walton at old St. Louis Arena — an arena which I had the opportunity to witness the demise of nine years ago on a chilly late-winter afternoon while recovering from a broken ankle.

At the time, the Tigers were practicing in what was then an old and dark Fieldhouse, once home to players like Forrest Arnold and Win Wilfong in the 1950’s, and playing their games at the Mid-South Coliseum, located near where I grew up.

Many times during my formative years, I sat in some of the basketball practices, even sometime shooting baskets with Elliott Perry, Russell Young, Penny Hardaway, and David Vaughan, something that none of the people that knew my mother seemed to care about.

It was there that I learned to hate the University of Louisville, the University of Cincinnati, and later on, the University of Alabama at Bumpkinham-which employed Gene Bartow, the guy who took the Tigers some two decades ago to the Final Four.

By the time I entered fifth grade, I had watched the Tigers make a pair of Sweet 16s, an Elite Eight appearance against Cincinnati in 1992, and a Great Midwest Conference title in 1995 with Lorenzen Wright.

Once I reached middle school, the same Tigers program I grew up watching became a mere shadow of its former self. Larry Finch was gone, the Tigers moved into Conference USA with Cincinnati and Louisville and a guy by the name of Tic Price was now in charge of the program.

By the midpoint of Price’s first season, my grandmother, who would sit and watch Tiger basketball with me on cold winter nights during much of my childhood, was in a battle that Larry Finch or Tic Price could not coach her out of.


She lived long enough to see the Tigers lose in the first round of the 1998 NIT against Fresno State, which would be the last Tiger basketball game she would see in her lifetime.

By November she was dead at the age of 64.

And the Tigers would have one of its worst seasons in my lifetime, bowing out in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament to South Florida, which I’m pretty sure was a watershed moment in my time as a Tiger fan.

Towards the end of my 9th grade year, and 12th as a Tiger fan, the city of Memphis and Tiger basketball would change forever as John Calipari came to Memphis, rolled up his sleeves, and began to pump energy into a once-proud basketball program.

Given the fact that in my 14th year as a fan that Memphis would win the NIT against South Carolina, it was not something that Calipari was going to settle for.

And when C-USA disintergrated, it gave the Tigers a chance to do something that hadn’t been done in two decades.

Dominate the conference.

And dominate they have, winning three straight Conference Championships, with three straight 30-win seasons, and undefeated in league play this season for the first time in school history.

Sunday as I, along with several hundred Tiger fans sat, in the Roane Fieldhouse, no longer the dank that it was when I was a kid, I thought about all those times of seeing the Tigers come up short.

And when the clock struck zero, I knew that those days of waiting until next year was over.

Over and out.

Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Three Days In The M-Town

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on March 19, 2008

According to Indian custom, in order for a young boy to successfully become a man, he would have to go through a series of events known simply as a vision quest.

If the young boy successfully did this, he would in so many words, become a man in his tribe’s eyes.

In our society, a vision quest towards manhood means being legally able to drink.

Not anything sports-related.

For three days, yours truly embarked on a journey to search for the meaning of life, using $250 (thank you, Mom for teaching me about saving money), blessings from my main man Matt, and the grace of God (not Grace Walker, who as I write this is in England).

During this sports-related journey for the meaning of life, I ran across many interesting characters, including TNB’s possible answer to Erin Andrews.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Pot, Meet Kettle

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on February 21, 2008


A while back, I wrote on this website how it felt to be a Tennessean since Vanderbilt, Tennessee, and Memphis were ranked in the top 25 and as of this writing, are all still ranked in the polls.

But while in my basic lifetime, Vanderbilt and Memphis never met that much on the hardwood, the last time I think the two teams met was either 1993 or 1998, the Tennessee-Memphis rivalry in basketball has a different meaning.

For many years, Memphis and Vanderbilt were the basketball schools in this state, especially in the last 30 years as both the Commodores and Tigers have won multiple conference championships, participated in numerous postseason tournaments and, well, made basketball the thing do after their schools tank their football seasons.

The Vols, on the other hand, have not had anywhere near the success that the Commodores and Tigers have had in the last 30 years.

Since Ray Mears left Knoxville in 1979, the Vols have two overall SEC Championships.

There’s been a multitude of coaches that had tried before Bruce Pearl to get Tennessee basketball back to the level that Mears had it, namely Wade Houston, Kevin O’Neil, Jerry Green, and Buzz Peterson — guys who coached in Knoxville during my lifetime.

And they all failed.

Enter Bruce Pearl.

This week, Tennessee will come to Memphis with their highest ranking ever, #2 in this week’s polls, and a chance to put a dent in what is quickly turning into one special season here in town.

Of course, they’re going to have Chris Lofton, JaJuan Smith, Wayne Chism along for the ride and of course, there’s going to be a multitude of orange-clad fans invading the FedEx Forum for the biggest regular-season game in school history.

Before Tennessee gets revved up for the Tigers, they first have to take care of Auburn, who gave Kentucky a scare a couple of weeks ago in Auburn and could very well be a trap game for the Vols leading up to Saturday.

And given the depth chart of Auburn’s team, which looks like an NAIA roster, that shouldn’t be a problem for the Vols.

But as a team here in Memphis learned on Saturday in Batesville, Arkansas, what might look like an easy win isn’t.

You’re just another team to them.

Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

In The Making For Eight Years

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 24, 2008

For the last two or three years, I’ve been proud to let my friends from outside Shelby County know that I lived in the murder capital of the country, that our mayor was a shithead, and for all intents and purposes had a problem with a third of the inner-city population.

While two of those three are true, I can’t be certain about the last thing on the list.

But the certain feeling that this town has received since the Memphis Tigers — who prior to this week was ranked at the top only once in nearly 90 years of basketball and wound up losing it the same day back in 1983 when they faced Virginia Tech — became the new #1 in the country on Monday, it’s one of bliss.

When Marquette, St. Louis, Charlotte, Cincinnati, DePaul, and Louisville all bolted from Conference USA for greener pastures, leaving Memphis and UAB behind, people never envisioned the Tigers being in the discussion for National prominence, let known National Championship contenders.

It was, according to the experts, going to turn into another lowly basketball conference that would only yield one whipping boy to the NCAA Tournament and nothing else.

But if there’s one thing that Calipari learned from his time at UMASS in the 90’s, it didn’t matter what conference they were playing in or even how sucky it is.

All that matters was that his guys went out night in and night out to give it their all on the floor.

Instead of preparing for conference play with cupcakes, Calipari rid us of the Ole Miss series and introduced the Tiger faithful to top-caliber teams like UCONN, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, and even Kentucky.

He brought in guys like Rodney Carney, Earl Barron, Joey Dorsey, Andre Allen — guys who weren’t on the top of many prep lists out of high school — and molded them into skilled players.

Then there was the second chance given to Jeremy Hunt, who overcame legal troubles to return to the team in 2006-07 and become a valuable asset off the bench.

Need I say more?

How about nabbing guys like Jeff Robinson and Derrick Rose, highly touted prep stars who decided to come to Memphis and possibly win a National Championship?

Pretty darn good coach, if you ask me.

Given the fact that the basketball program was in a mess prior to Calipari’s arrival with the Tic Price scandal, the #1 ranking is something that has been in the works since that press conference in March of 2000 in the Pyramid.

That day, along with Monday, could very well be two significant dates in the recent history of Memphis basketball.

Hopefully, come April, a third one can be added to this list.

Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | Comments Off on In The Making For Eight Years

Great Time To Be A Basketball Fan In Tennessee

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on December 10, 2007

Last season, the state of Tennessee rejoiced as each Grand Division was well-represented by one school in the NCAA Tournament’s “Sweet 16” as Memphis, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee made the round of 16, which ranks as one of the rare times in this state’s history that three teams from the Volunteer State accomplished that feat in the same season.

And although the Tigers again carried the banner of the state by advancing to the Elite Eight for the second year in a row, the incredible season of basketball in the Volunteer State was supposed to be nothing more than a once-in-a-lifetime event.

But so far this year, the Vols, Tigers, and Commodores are again giving basketball fans in the state something to cheer about as the three schools are ranked in the top 25 and are a combined 24-1 at the end of action on Sunday.

Not to mention that one of my former classmates at Southwest, Lester Hudson, who is now at Tennessee-Martin is among the nation’s leaders in scoring at 26.4 points per game and was the focal point of a recent story that ran in the Commercial Appeal last week.

For Tennessee, who is the odds-on favorite to win the SEC East, the key to their success is the play of senior standout Chris Lofton, who along with JaJuan Smith, had a hand in denying UT-Chattanooga’s chance at an upset bid last Tuesday in Chattanooga by scoring 16 and 13, respectively. Not only that, sophomore Wayne Chism is quickly emerging into one of the premier big men in the SEC by leading the team in rebounds and blocks.

Vanderbilt’s success this year came as bit of a surprise after losing former Ridgeway standout Derrick Byars to the NBA, who along with Shan Foster led the Commodores to the Sweet 16 last season. Although Foster returned to West End Avenue, the cupboard for the most part according to many SEC basketball experts was bare, save for the emergence of LSU transfer Ross Neltner, who gained valuable playing time last year off the bench.

But despite the loss of a few key players for Vanderbilt, the Commodores are again off to another great start on West End Avenue, bringing their record to 9-0 after beating neighborhood rival Lipscomb on Saturday night at Memorial Gym thanks in part to the play of A.J. Oglivy and Foster.

Next up for the ‘Dores will be a trip to Chicago to face a pissed-off DePaul squad that got crushed by an excellent Kansas team at Allen Fieldhouse and then a break from the season to take finals and prep up for the start of the conference portion of the season with games against another crosstown foe in Tennessee State and a showdown against Lester Hudson and Tennessee-Martin four days after Christmas.

In West Tennessee, the Tigers are the talk of the nation thanks in part to the play of super-freshmen Derrick Rose who has lived up to the preseason hype as the Tigers are #2 in the nation and 7-0 going into their game with Middle Tennessee on Saturday afternoon in Nashville, which will be a mismatch on paper as the Blue Raiders sit at 2-5 on the season and is need of something to turn the season around before the start of conference play.

If Memphis laxes against the Blue Raiders, chances are the Tigers could be upset if they don’t play with the level of intensity that Calipari has preached about since their lackluster showing against Arkansas State before Thanksgiving.

But given the way they’ve played against USC, that seems to be a far-fetched idea that is only a product of my imagination.

Then again, you never know.

Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Great Time To Be A Basketball Fan In Tennessee

Time To Jump On The Tigers’ Bandwagon

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 13, 2007

A couple of times during the season in this very blog, I ripped apart the Memphis Tigers football squad for not doing their part on the field and I pretty much wanted Tommy West with a rope around his neck for the piss-poor recruiting he’s done since DeAngelo left for the NFL in 2005.

I also said on this very blog that the university, for the most part, didn’t care about the football program and the best thing to do is ditch the program and just focus on the cash cow that is the basketball program.

But, for whatever strange reason, the Tigers are sitting one dragon slay away from earning the school’s fourth Bowl bid in five seasons should they win against UAB at home on Saturday afternoon after beating Southern Mississippi last Saturday in Hattiesburg.

And in the process making people like myself, who spent countless days at home counting down to the start of the basketball season, eat large servings of humble pie.

Before we got to this point of figuring out what Bowl game the Tigers would be playing in and what they needed to do in order to win their first Conference Championship of any kind in football since 1971, the Tigers, at the end of Septembe,r was on the fast track to being one of the worst in school history after being blown out on the road at Central Florida and choking against Arkansas State (in what would be the last time Taylor Bradford would suit up for Memphis).

Then, a week after an emotional win over Marshall on National television, the Tigers found themselves on the short end of a 21-7 loss to Middle Tennessee in a mistake-filled game for both teams and, in the process, allowed 490 yards of total offense with another stellar performance by an opposing team’s option quarterback in Dwight Dasher (who subbed for starter Joe Craddock).

But as the saying goes, there’s more to this story.

Read the rest of this entry »

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