This past football season for the Memphis Tigers is one that fans and players cannot wait to put behind them. The team only won two games and was blown out in all but two of their losses. Last season the Tigers’ ranked in the bottom half in almost every major statistical category in the FBS, saw the firing of head coach Larry Porter, and more importantly finished dead last in our TAM rankings.
Well with the release of the football schedule earlier today Tiger fans can continue the process of forgetting about the last year’s dreadful season. First year head coach Justin Fuente is in charge now, and will try to make Memphis respectable again. However, last year was so bad that I doubt even the infamous Seal Team 6 can rescue this football program. Alas, here are five things you need to know about the Memphis Tigers 2012 football schedule.
1. Dude where’s my SEC team?
The thing that jumps out the most when you look at the schedule is the fact that there is no SEC team. This marks the first time in 63 years that Memphis does not have an SEC opponent on its schedule. The Tigers are 37-126 all time versus the SEC so that might have something to do with the glaring absence of a team from that conference. However, Memphis does lead the all time series against Arkansas and Auburn so that is something Tiger fans can brag about. Also, if you do not include Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Tennessee the Tigers have a much more reasonable record of 15-25 against the SEC. You have to find the silver lining in every cloud, especially when that cloud is 63 years of futility against three teams from one conference.
2. As the kids would say “Wallah Magic!” no Houston and Tulsa again for the Tigers.
The next most glaring thing about this schedule is the absence of Houston and Tulsa, the two best teams from the west, for the second straight year due to the C-USA schedule rotation. It works out in the Tigers’ favor however because instead of getting two games against some of the best in C-USA they get to play fellow bottom dwellers Tulane and Rice. Which are two much needed winnable games for the Tigers.
3. Memphis only plays four teams who had a winning record last season.
This is great news for a team that has not had a winning season since 2007. However, some of the teams from last year’s schedule with losing records (like UCF and Rice) still managed to beat Memphis like a drum so do not get too excited Tiger supporters. Yet your chances of winning increases when you are playing lesser competition. In fact, Memphis only plays one team in their first seven games that had winning records from last year.
4. Can the home schedule get any blander, as there are no marquee home games?
The home games for the 2012 season are as follows UT Martin, MTSU, Rice, UCF, Tulane, and Southern Mississippi so what is the game that is going to get a huge fan turnout? For a school that is trying to get noticed by a major conference fan turnout is key. Having a strong fan following makes any team more alluring, but when you are a bad team you need good teams on the schedule to bring in a strong fan turn out. Make no mistake about it Memphis will be blown out at home next season, but it will be against one of the schools listed above and not a team that will bring fans in like Ole Miss, Mississippi State, or Tennessee.
5. Lastly (and most importantly) my prediction for the 2012 season is…
With the absence of SEC teams, a new coaching staff that will focus on scoring (something the Tigers struggled to do last year), and the maturity of young players like Taylor Reed I believe the Memphis Tigers will go 4-8 in 2012. They play FCS foe UT Martin in the first game of the season which should give the Tigers win number one. MTSU comes to the Liberty Bowl this year, and after almost beating the Blue Raiders last year (and beating them the year before) expect that game to be intense and the Tigers second victory. That gives the Tigers a 2-2 out of conference record and with home games against two of the worst teams in C-USA (Tulane and Rice) Memphis should manage to double their win total from last season.
CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for insightful tweets about college football and tweets that might change your life.
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