The Mid-South is full of fans with allegiances to different area college football programs. Which FBS program in the three states surrounding the Memphis area is the best? To help end some arguments and start others, MemphiSport is proud to debut the TAMs Rankings, a weekly poll ranking all the college football teams in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi (TAM). This new rankings system also doubles as a tribute to the Bluff City’s ABA heritage. Without further ado here are the rankings for week of October 5, 2011…
Rankings compiled by MemphiSport. Updated every Wednesday.
|1. Arkansas (3-1): Critics wondered how Arkansas would respond coming off of an embarrassing loss to Alabama and the Razorbacks responded emphatically with a thrilling come form behind win against Texas A&M. These Razorbacks are just as potent offensively as last year’s squad ranking 7thin the nation in passing yards and averaging 39 points a game. Arkansas cannot rest with the defending national champions SEC West foe No. 15 Auburn next up on the schedule. This is a must win game if Arkansas is going to keep their hopes alive for an appearance in the SEC Championship game. We look forward to the second half of the Razorbacks schedule as they will play four of the other members in the TAMs Rankings.
Best Win: 42-38 vs. Texas A&M @ Cowboy Stadium
Worst Loss: 38-14 vs. Alabama @ Bryant-Denny Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 0
Losses Against TAMs Teams: 0
2. Tennessee (3-1): The Vols are off to fast start this season thanks to a prolific passing attack led by super sophomore Tyler Bray. Tennessee has the 11thbest passing attack in the nation and is scoring 37.8 points a game. However, the running game has not faired as well and Coach Dooley has to find some balance offensively if the Vols are going to get back to the SEC championship game. We will find out what this Tennessee team is made of in the coming weeks as they have a tough four game stretch against Georgia, No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Alabama, and No. 18 South Carolina. November is TAMs month for the Vols as three of their four opponents in the month are TAMs teams.
Best Win: 45-23 vs. Cincinnati @ Neyland Stadium
3. Vanderbilt (3-1):Vandy is one of the most surprising stories of this young season so far. Coach James Franklin has this Commodore team dominating opponents on the defensive side of the ball. They rank 11th in the nation in total yards per game and are only giving up a staggering 15.8 points per game. The Commodores are coming off a bye week and their last game was a disappointing 21-3 loss to South Carolina . Vanderbilt hopes to right the ship and pull off a huge upset against No. 2 Alabama this week. The Commodores man-handled TAMs team Ole Miss earlier this season and they have two TAMs teams left this season (Arkansas and Tennessee ).
Best Win: 30-7 vs. Ole Miss @ Vanderbilt Stadium
4. Southern Mississippi (4-1):
Southern Miss is off to an impressive start to the 2011 season and their defense should be given most of the credit. No team has scored more than 27 points against the Golden Eagles and they are only giving up 19.4 points a game. They will be challenged in their next two games (Navy and SMU), but the schedule is favorable and Southern Miss has the opportunity to play for a C-USA championship. The Golden Eagles only play one TAMs teams this year and that is Memphis in the “Black and Blue” game at the end of the season.
Best Win: 30-24 vs. Virginia @ Scott Stadium
5. Mississippi State (2-3):
Hopes were high for the Bulldogs coming into this season after a stellar campaign in 2010. However, Mississippi State is dead last in the conference and Coach Dan Mullin still has yet to beat an SEC West opponent not named Ole Miss. If the Bulldogs simply beat the teams they are supposed to beat the rest of the season they can still go to decent bowl, but an SEC title is out of reach. For what it is worth the Bulldogs did throttle TAMs team Memphis in the first game of the season and their last two games of the season are against fellow TAMs teams Arkansas and Ole Miss.
Best Win: 59-14 vs. Memphis @ Liberty Bowl
6. Arkansas State (3-2):
The Red Wolves have won three of their last four thanks in large part to the play of standout quarterback Ryan Aplin who is dominating opponents through the air. Aplin has the team poised to make a run at their second Sun Belt Conference championship and a trip to the New Orleans Bowl. Arkansas State absolutely dominated TAMs team Memphis early on in the season and they look forward to playing MTSU in their second to last contest of the year.
Best Win: 47-3 vs. Memphis @ ASU Stadium
7. Ole Miss (2-3):
To say the Rebels are struggling offensively this year would be an understatement. Ole Miss is dead last in the SEC in scoring, averaging a measly 22.6 points per game. The schedule does not get any easier for Coach Nutt and the Rebels as their next three opponents are all ranked in the top 15. Ole Miss already has an embarrassing loss to TAMs team Vanderbilt on their resume, they will play Arkansas in two weeks, and they end the season with Mississippi State.
Best Win: 38-28 vs. Fresno State @ Bulldog Stadium
8. MTSU (1-3):
MTSU has struggled all season due in large part to an inept defense which is giving up an unimpressive 36.3 points per game. The Blue Raiders defense could not stop Memphis, who came into the game averaging 15 points per game, from putting up 31 points. The lone bright spot to the season so far for MTSU is the play of quarterback Logan Kilgore who is 19th nationally in passing yards (second in the Sun Belt behind Corey Robinson of Troy State). They are undefeated against TAMs poll members having already defeated Memphis and have Tennessee and Arkansas State on the schedule as well.
Best Win: 38-31 vs. Memphis @ Johnny Floyd Stadium
9. Memphis (1-4):
The pollsters could not agree on much, but one thing we could all agree on is that Memphis is the worst of the TAMs teams. The Tigers have yet to beat any FBS foe and rank in the bottom of every FBS football statistic. They are only averaging 15 points per game while their defense is giving up 38 points to the opposition. Memphis has already played three TAMs teams and lost every game, giving up an average of 48 points per game to TAMs teams.
Best Win: 27-6 vs. Austin Peay @ Liberty Bowl
CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets during University of Memphis home games.