RiverKings To Hold Dance Team Tryouts

riverkings logoAre you tired of the same old dance moves?  Are you looking for a more creative way to exercise? Do you think you can dance?  If you answered yes to any of these questions you should check out the Riverkings Dancers tryouts. Not only will you be learning some of the innovative moves used by the Riverking Dancers, but you will be burning calories and getting fit too.  You get to work on your dance techniques with last year’s actual RiverKings Dancers.  Each class is only $10.  However, if you have a valid college ID each class is just $7. Classes start July 21st and will happen every Monday at the Stars in Motion Performing Arts Studio, until official auditions begin August 24th at the Landers Center (click here to see where Landers center finished in the 2014 M Awards Best Sporting Venue Category).  Registration for the official tryouts kicks off at 9:30 AM with auditions starting at 10:00 AM.  It is a great experience for all and will be an absolute thrill of a time.

What: Riverkings Dancers Tryout
Where: Stars in Motion Performing Arts Studio 3370 Goodman Rd E, Southaven, MS 38672
When:  July 21, 2014 7:30 PM
Cost: $10 per class/$7 per class with a valid college ID

 

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2014 M Awards: Best Place to Buy a Memphis Sports Shirt

tiger bookstoreThere several places to purchase sports shirts in the Bluff City, but according to the votes no place is quite as good as the Tiger Book Store.  You can grab some t-shirts while enjoying the collegiate atmosphere.

Tiger Book Store, First Place: 30%
HoopCityMemphis.com, Second Place: 18%
Grizzlies Den, Third Place: 17%

Visit MemphiSport.com daily in the month of July for a new winner in MemphiSport’s annual M Awards presented by the 17th Annual Sports Ball Black-Tie Tennis Shoe Gala.

MORE WINNERS: VIEW ALL OF THE M AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED SO FAR

LISTEN: 2014 M AWARDS NOMINATIONS SPECIAL

SPORTS BALL: BUY TIX TO THE SPORTS BALL BLACK-TIE TENNIS SHOE GALA BENEFITING BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS

#MAwards2014


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2014 M Awards: Best Place to Eat Before/After the Game

hueys t shirtYou the fans really like Huey’s.  This is their second win in M Awards presented by the 17th Annual Sports Ball Black-Tie Tennis Shoe Gala.  Kooky Canuck and Central BBQ came close, but they just did not have enough to jump Huey’s.

Huey’s, First Place: 23%
Kooky Canuck, Second Place (Tie): 22%
Central BBQ, Second Place (Tie): 22%

Visit MemphiSport.com daily in the month of July for a new winner in MemphiSport’s annual M Awards presented by the 17th Annual Sports Ball Black-Tie Tennis Shoe Gala.

MORE WINNERS: VIEW ALL OF THE M AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED SO FAR

LISTEN: 2014 M AWARDS NOMINATIONS SPECIAL

SPORTS BALL: BUY TIX TO THE SPORTS BALL BLACK-TIE TENNIS SHOE GALA BENEFITING BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS

#MAwards2014


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MSL’s Playing Hurt Podcast: ‘Episode 1′

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Join MSL and HardBashin producer CJ Hurt and Sports 56 producer Ty Springs as they take you on a sports odyssey during MSL‘s Playing Hurt Podcast.

MemphiSport Live

Potential Head Coaching Candidates for the Memphis Grizzlies

Dave Joerger has interviewed with the Minnesota Timberwolves for their head coaching vacancy. He was 50-32 in his first season as a head coach.

Dave Joerger has interviewed with the Minnesota Timberwolves for their head coaching vacancy. He was 50-32 in his first season as a head coach.

All hell has broken lose in the Memphis Grizzlies front office with the announcement that Jason Levien and Stu Lash are both out after possibly clashing with majority owner Robert Pera.  This news is unsettling to more than just Grizzlies fans as first year head coach Dave Joerger has decided to interview with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Rumors are circulating about Pera not being a Joerger supporter, and that Pera wanted to fire him midway thru the season during the Grizzlies rough start.

Should Joerger leave for Minnesota Pera is going to need to move quickly to fill the head coaching vacancy before all the qualified candidates are taken.

Here is a list of potential coaches that Pera and the Grizzlies should think about hiring…

Tom Thibodeau
This is the dream hire for the Grizzlies. Thibodeau would be a perfect fit because of his tough, gritty, defense first mentality.  Since becoming the Bulls head coach in 2010, Chicago has been among the league’s best defenses, finishing no lower than third in the NBA in opponents points per game.  As the head coach for the Grizzlies, Thibodeau could revolutionize the defense is played in the association with players like Tonya Allen, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley. Let us also remember this is the same coach that managed to lead Chicago to the playoffs the past two seasons without his best offensive player, Derrek Rose.  Since Thibodeau is still under contract with the Bulls they will need some sort of compensation, which Memphis should be more than happy to give up for a coach of his caliber.  Doc Rivers was traded to the Clippers last season for a first round draft pick and some cash, surely the Grizzlies can package a deal involving a draft picks and some other form of compensation.

George Karl
The 2012-2013 Coach of the Year recipient is still out of work and would be another great hire for the Grizzlies.  He is a future Hall of Famer with an impressive resume.  He interviewed last year for the Memphis head coach position before the Grizzlies decided to go with Joerger.  Karl is known for his ability to get the most out of his team’s offensively, which could help the Grizzlies who are always amongst the worst teams in the NBA when it comes to offensive production.    His 80-105 playoff record is a little concerning, but he has won over 1100 games in his career so it is clear he knows how to coach.

Lionel Hollins
Seems crazy for Hollins and Grizzlies management, right? After all, the two sides parted ways about a year ago after Memphis refused to offer Hollins a new contract.  Yet, if Pera is really serious about cleaning house in the Grizzlies front office there will be nobody left over from that ugly break up in 2013.  Memphis tried the analytics route and Pera was not a fan of it, so he could very easily approach Hollins and say we made a mistake please come back.  He could then make Hollins coach and even give him a position in the Grizzlies front office (I have a feeling that there will be more openings soon).  Hollins has interviewed with Minnesota and it is rumored that he and the Cavilers have a mutual interest also, but neither one of those teams are as good as Memphis. Throw in the fact that Hollins is one of the architects of the grit and grind culture and you have a good fit for the Grizzlies.

Mark Jackson
Although he was unable to last as Warriors head coach Jackson is still a hot commodity among organizations looking for a quality man to lead their team.  Golden State won 50-plus games this year for the first time since 1993 and made it to the playoffs before being ousted by the Clippers.  Jackson was instrumental in the development of young guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, and he can help Conley make the jump to elite point guard status.  Not only will he help Conley, but Jackson will inject some much needed offensive spark into a team that needs to become more efficient on that side of the ball.

CJ Hurt covers the NBA for MemphiSport. Follow him @conradicalness for live tweets from games.

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5 Things You Missed At The University Of Memphis Tigers Football Spring Game

tigers helmetThe much anticipated third year under University of Memphis head football coach Justin Fuente is underway as the Tigers annual spring game ended Friday night.  Fans are expecting the program to continue to grow under Fuente after it made much needed strides the past two seasons.

Fuente inherited an ailing Tigers program two years ago, and while he has not wowed fans with his own win loss record (7-17 in two seasons), he has made the Tigers more competitive in their contests.

Last season the Tigers were mere seconds away from victory against UCF (Fiesta Bowl game winners), Cincinnati, and MTSU (a TAM team rival).  If the Tigers could have scored a touchdown instead of settling for five field goals against Houston they might have won that game too, and let us not forgot how closely they played rival Louisville on the road.

In 2013 the Tigers average margin of defeat was 12.6 points per game, which is better than the previous three years’ of 17.9 in 2012, 26.3 in 2011, and 27.5 in 2010.

However, the close losses last season were just that. Losses, which amounted to a less than stellar record of 3-9 (1-7 in the American Athletic Conference).

Memphis and Coach Fuente are looking to put last year’s near wins behind them with a fresh start in 2014.  While the Tigers have been practicing for a while in preparation for their 2014 campaign, fans got their first up close and personal look of the team Friday night at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

It was a great atmosphere.  A reported 7,400 fans showed up to cheer on the hometown Tigers.  There were the usual bouncey houses for the kids before the game, and in an interesting spring game twist a DJ was on the field managing to keep the fans energized and into the game with an array of songs and mixes.

Yet, there other sporting events going on in the great city of Memphis Friday night as well.  It was opening day at AutoZonePark for the Redbirds, the Grizzlies were fighting for a playoff spot, and Grizz did this.  So, if you were unable to make it to the game here are 5 things you missed at the University of Memphis Tigers football spring game…

1.  
The improvement of the offensive line…
Now it could be because they were facing the “younger team” as Coach Fuente called them (the gray team was comprised of second and third stringers), but the blue team, AKA the starters, did an impressive job of blocking up front.  There were a few times that Paxton Lynch was forced out of the pocket, but by in large the starting offensive line did an a good job in pass protection.  Perhaps more impressive was the job that they were able to do in the ground game, allowing Brandon Hayes and others to look stellar on the ground during the scrimmage.  Opposing defenses sacked the Tigers quarterbacks 28 times last year, a number that should decrease thanks to experience and depth up front.  In all there are five linemen on the Tigers roster with starting experience for Memphis, and all of them started three or more games in their careers.   

2.  There are several returning starters and they look more comfortable in Fuente’s system…
In addition to the three returning starters on the offensive line, Memphis brings back six more starters on the offensive side of the ball.  Defensively the Tigers return eight players to make a grand total of 17 returning starters for the Tigers.  What does that mean for Memphis and why is that such a big deal?  It is simple, the longer you have been in a system the more things become second nature and the less you have to think about what you have to do.  It becomes more of a reaction and less of a thought process.  This allows football players to play faster and more freely.  The experience gap between the older and younger players was noticeable early and often.  Everything seemed to go the blue team’s way and early on the gray team looked discombobulated.  “The younger guys really got a taste of the level you have to play at, and I think that is important going into the off season,” Fuente said after the game.  No play exhibited this confusion for the gray team more than a fumble that was caused when a player in motion in the backfield collided with the tailback on a handoff before any defender was within five yards of the two.  Coach Fuente will have to lean heavily on those who have experience this year if the Tigers are going to snap their bowl game drought.

3.  Finally the offense is playing that up tempo style…
Again, this could be because it was basically the starters versus the second and third team, but the blue team’s first offensive possession resulted in a score in just over four minutes.  With nine starters returning on offense, Memphis is deep enough, skilled enough, and understands enough about Coach Fuente’s system to be able to really push the pace of a game.  “We got a long way to go to be what we envision here offensively,” Fuente said, “but at times we flashed something that has a chance to be explosive.”   Expect the Tigers to push the tempo more this year than they have in the past seasons under Fuente.

4.  Running back will be a real strength for the Tigers this season…
With Brandon Hayes getting an extra year of eligibility and Doroland Dorceus returning as well, the Tigers bring back 1033 yards from a team that rushed for a total of 1660 last season.  Granted Hayes had nearly half of the teams total (he ran for 860 yards last season), but expect Dorceus to be a major contributor to the run game also.  After an early fumble on the first drive of the game for the gray tem, Dorceus settled down and had one of the most explosive plays of the game with a 50 plus yard touchdown run.  However, make no mistakes about it Hayes is on a different level than the rest of the running backs right now.  One man cannot bring him down and he rushed for three touchdowns during the spring game. “It is great having Brandon back,” Fuente stated after Hayes’ outstanding spring game performance.  “Not just because he is a great football player, but because he of the person he is…he is a very comforting force to have… he is a pretty intellectual football player.”  A good ground game will certainly take more pressure off of Paxton Lynch and the passing game, which will help the Tigers young signal caller.

5.  Paxton Lynch’s growth at the quarterback position…
It has been five years since the Tigers have started the same quarterback on opening day for consecutive years.  This is a trend that should end this year with Lynch.  Arkelon Hall was the last Memphis quarterback to accomplish this feat during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.  Since Hall left there has been a proverbial revolving door of quarterbacks from Taylor Reid to Jacob Karam and a slew of quarterbacks in between (anybody else remember when Cannon Smith started against Mississippi State in the season opener in 2010?).  Lynch should be the opening day starter unless something catastrophic happens, and continuity at the quarterback position will be an immense help to the Tigers.  There were several good throws by Lynch Friday night, but what is most impressing is the fact that he did not turn the ball over.  Fuente was pleased with Lynch’s performance on Friday, but understands that there is still room for his redshirt sophomore to improve. “I think he continues to get better.  We have got to get better around him… he continues to improve from and learn from his mistakes.”  Here is hoping that all of the Tigers learn from their mistakes and make the 2014 season better than the seasons of the past five years.

CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him  @Conradicalness for live tweets from games.

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5 Events the NBA Should Add To All-Star Weekend

all starThe NBA-All Star Game is this weekend in New Orleans, and it is sure to be a festive event to say the least.  Fans will get a chance to see some of the best players in the game today let their hair down and have fun all weekend long.

Events include the annual Celebrity All-Star Game, Three-Point Contest, Rookie vs. Sophomore game, and of course the Dunk Contest.

Even though the NBA does a great job of allowing fans to witness star players in a variety of unique contests throughout the weekend, the events have become a little stale and there is a need to add something new to All-Star Weekend.  It never fails that fans begin to complain about the dunk contest as soon as the first dunk is attempted and the three point contest has lost some of its luster over the years too.

With those two hallmark competitions of the weekend failing to attract the interest that they used to back when Larry Bird was doing this and Vince Carter was doing this, Commissioner Adam Silver needs to come up with some new contests to get the fans more excited about All-Star Weekend.

If Silver manages to create some events that make the NBA-All Star Game easily the best of its kind it would aid him in creating a legacy different from all other commissioners before him.  However, creating new contests and getting the players and (more importantly) fans excited about them is easier said than done.

But do not fret Commish below is a list of events the NBA should add to All-Star Weekend…

1. Gotcha
Also affectionately called “Knock Out”, “Gotcha” is a game that most people who have ever attended a basketball camp have played (if you have never played Gotcha click here for the rules).  It is a faced paced exciting game when mere mortals play, imagine the excitement NBA All-Stars will bring to the game. Here is how it would work, ten players from different NBA teams would be selected to compete in this contest with the winner getting a new car, plane, or whatever it is NBA players get for winning All-Star Weekend contests.  There would be three rounds, one for practice, one to determine the order, and one for the championship.  Since the first round is just to get the players loose, the last two rounds become the most important.  At the end of the second round the order for the “Gotcha” Championship will be determined this way, the first person out stands on the three point line, the next person out walks up and decides whether he would like to be in front of or behind that person, the following contestant determines where he would like to be in line and so on until the order is determined.  This adds an element of gamesmanship to the contest.  If I am Klay Thompson and the order goes something like Rudy Gay, Bradley Beale, Dwight Howard, and Dirk Nowitzki I am probably going to want to be in front of Howard because he is a less dangerous three point threat than the other players in the line so far.  However, be wary of that thought because the winner of “Gotcha” is never the best three point shooter.  The winner is the guy that gets a couple of lucky bounces and has a quick release.  The last two  competitors need to be in good shape because all that running back and forth is sure to put the most in shape All-Star too the test.

2.  Mascot Synchronized Dunking
This would be an interesting variation to a Dunk Contest that seems to have lost some of its mystique over the years.  Instead of it being one contestant dunking it would be that player and his team’s mascot in the contest.  For example, John Wall and G-Man would be participating together in this year’s Dunk Contest.  The two dunkmates will be scored on doing the same creative dunk, at the same time on goals at opposite ends of the court.  Think synchronized diving, but instead of falling down the players and mascots will be going up.  Mascots will of course be allowed to use their trampolines which should give some perspective to how high players jump and how much hang time NBA All-Stars have.

3. Dribble Knockout
Another basketball camp favorite, “Dribble Knockout” is a game that challenges your handles more than the current Skills Challenge.  The rules are simple, everyone is given a ball and a boundary that you cannot cross, with the point of the game being to make the opposing players lose their dribble while maintaining yours.  Players cannot  let their balls hit the ground more than once without touching their hands, pick their dribble up, or commit any dribble violations (carry, travel, etc) while the other contestants are trying to disrupt their dribble.  The NBA can get 15 contestants and start the game in the half court.  To prevent players from being spaced out too far, and to make them attempt to knock their opponents’ balls away the boundaries will change periodically. When the first five contestants get eliminated the buzzer sounds and everyone has to be inside the three point arch within five seconds or they are out and inside the three point line becomes the new boundary.  When you get down to five players the buzzer sounds again and the players have five seconds to be inside the paint or they will be eliminated from the contest.  Finally the last two players will face off inside the half court circle to determine the winner.  It would be pretty exciting to see a Mike Conley vs. Isaiah Thomas finale for the king of “Dribble Knockout”.

4.  Dribble Relay Race
A fun way to show off players speed and make them look silly in the process.   This will be an East vs. West contest with each Conference selecting a ten man team.  It will be a best of three rounds series with each round adding a different quirk to it.  Each team has one ball and they will line up on one baseline and race to the opposite end of the court and back doing different basketball drills.  So the first round can be a regular straight line dribble as fast as you can down and back, but instead of simply handing the ball off to the person in the front of the line, the player has to go all the way to the end of the line and roll it thru all of his teammates’ legs.  If the person in the front of the line lets the ball roll pass the line he has to retrieve it, sprint back behind the line, and then he can go.  The second round players will partner up and do a partner passing all the way down the court and back, the third round players will have to spin around in circles five times once they get to the far baseline before they are allowed to dribble back down the court.

5.  Team Shooting Competition
Ten players from each conference will be selected for this event just like the dribble relay race.  Each team will be given one ball and a hoop.  There will be five one minute rounds with each round taking place from a different part around the three point line (first round right corner, second round right wing, third round top of the key, fourth round left wing, fifth round left corner).  Each conference will attempt to make as many shots as possible within the allotted time, and the scores from each round will be added to the teams’ total.  The team with the most points at the end of all five rounds wins the team shooting competition.  You have to get your own rebound, and since there is only one ball the team that gets the ball and passes it to their teammates the fastest is the team that will most likely win.

CJ Hurt covers a variety of topics for MemphiSport. Follow him  @Conradicalness for live tweets about life, love, and sports.

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2013 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Preview: Mississippi State vs. Rice

liberty bowl logoThis marks the 55th year of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and it is sure to be an exciting contest between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Rice Owls.

The Bulldogs have played in this bowl three times in the past, and have an all-time record of 2-1 at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.  The last time they were here, the Bulldogs faithful came out in full support as nearly 64,000 fans attended the game.

Rice has never played in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, but they are familiar with Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.  The Owls and the University of Memphis used to be in the same conference, so Rice has made more than their fair share of trips to the Bluff City.  Their most recent trip to Memphis was last year in a game that saw Rice fall 14-10 to the hometown Tigers.

Both teams took different paths getting here with Rice winning the Conference USA Championship, and the Bulldogs needing to win their last two games of the season in overtime to become bowl eligible.

Below is a preview of the match-up between Rice and Mississippi State…

Mississippi State Bulldogs:
The college football season may not have turned out quite the way that Mississippi State fans expected, but head coach Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs are headed to a bowl for the fourth straight year.  This is the longest streak of consecutive bowl appearances in the history of the football program, and it was not easy.

Half of the Bulldogs schedule was comprised of teams that are currently ranked in the BCS Standings with three of those teams currently ranked in the top ten (Auburn, Alabama, and South Carolina).  Mississippi State lost to all of the ranked teams they faced this year, making the Bulldogs record against top 25 competition under Mullen 2-23, but they found a way to beat the teams they were supposed to and pulled off the upset against their instate rivals Ole Miss to secure a bowl bid.

Close wins over inferior teams combined with three straight losses in November against divisional opponents put their bowl hopes, and Mullen’s job, in serious jeopardy.

However, when Mississippi State needed to win out to become bowl eligible in the final two weeks of the season, coach Mullen’s Bulldogs responded with the mental fortitude necessary to hold off an Arkansas team that was hungry for their first conference win and knock off the hated Rebels.

The win over Ole Miss did more than secure a bowl berth for the Bulldogs, it bought the Golden Egg back to Starkville, and saved Mullen’s job for another season.

Players to watch:

-FUMBLE (AP Photo/The Daily Mississippian, Thomas Graning)

FUMBLE- Mississippi State defensive back Nickoe Whitley forces Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace to fumble, thus securing a Bulldogs win.  Whitley will be looking to make big plays like this in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. (Photo by AP Photo/The Daily Mississippian, Thomas Graning)

On the offensive side of the ball all eyes will be on Dak Prescott who has shown flashes of brilliance at times this season.  He leads the team in both passing and rushing and is sixth in the SEC in total offense.  Prescott is as lethal an offensive weapon as there is in college football and is able to score in every way imaginable.  He has seven passing touchdowns, 11 rushing scores, and two receptions for touchdowns too.

Defensively Nickoe Whitley is going to be a player worth watching as this will be his last collegiate game. The senior defensive back is second in the SEC with five interceptions, earned Second Team All-SEC honors this season, and do not forget it was Whitley that forced fumble to secure a Mississippi State victory over the Rebels.

(click here to see the Bo Wallace fumble and get a behind the scenes look at MemphiSport Live)

Rice Owls:

Unlike Mississippi State, the college football season turned out the way most Rice fans expected, with the Owls competing for the Conference USA crown.  However, Rice did more than simply compete, they won the C-USA Championship.  This is their first outright conference title since 1957 when they were in the Southwest Conference.

The Owls could not be stopped on the ground this season.  They are 16th nationally when it comes to rushing yards per game, averaging just over 240 total yards on the ground.

(Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle)

TOUCHDOWN- Rice feature back, Charles Ross, scores a touchdown in the Owls 52-31 loss to Texas A&M.  Ross finished the day with 19 carries for 107 yards and two touchdowns.  He will have to have a similar performance if Rice is going to knock off Mississippi State (Photo by Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle)

Thanks to a dominate rushing attack, the Owls recorded their first ten win season since 1949 under renowned head coach Jess Neely.  Current head coach, David Bailiff, might not have the legendary status of Neely, but he is building a rather nice resume for himself.  This season, Bailiff was named C-USA Coach of the Year which is his second time earning the distinction in his seven year tenure at the school.

In addition to the accolades Bailiff earned this year, Rice had10 players make the All-CUSA team with five of them earning first team honors.  Rice is 15-3 in their last 18 games dating back to their 44-17 win against Southern Mississippi in 2012.

A midseason slip up against North Texas and a near loss to lowly UAB almost cost the Owls a chance to play for the conference title, but they were able to regroup and literally run over the rest of C-USA in route to their conference title.

Players to watch:
With a ground game like Rice has, it will be nearly impossible not to have your eyes glued to senior back Charles Ross.  After all, Ross has proven to be a tough back to bring down eclipsing the 100 yard mark on the ground seven times this season.  He is also 19th in the nation with 1252 total rushing yards, he averages 6.2 yards per carry, and has 14 rushing touchdowns on the year.

Senior cornerback Phillip Gaines is a player to keep your eyes on when the Owls take the field defensively.  He is a two time First Team All-CUSA selection who shuts down the opponent’s best receiver.  Opposing receivers have just 13 receptions on 40 targets against him and he leads the team with four interceptions.

The Winner:

-Who will hoist the trophy-

You can ring my bell- The winner of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl will get to hoist this unique trophy after the game.

It has been three years since the SEC last won the AutoZone Liberty Bowl thanks to losses by Georgia and Vanderbilt (the SEC did not send a team to the bowl game last year).  However, after a two year hiatus there will be a SEC vs. C-USA matchup and it does not bode well for Rice.  The SEC is 4-1 all-time against C-USA in the Liberty Bowl with the lone defeat belonging to Georgia who lost to Central Florida in 2010.

Rice will look to continue the SEC’s three year losing streak, but they will have to find some type of offensive balance if they expect to pull off the upset.

While Rice has a stellar running game, they are the 22nd worst passing team nationally.  It does not matter how good the ground game is, Rice is going to struggle because they are not good enough through the air to prevent Mississippi State from loading the box to stop the run.

Led by an All-SEC Freshman defensive end Chris Jones, the Mississippi State defensive line is more than capable of stopping the Owls run game.

This will be the seventh team the Bulldogs have faced this season who averages over 200 yards rushing per game.  Of the other six teams just two (Arkansas and LSU) ran for over 200 yards against Mississippi State.  The Bulldogs held the explosive Auburn ground game to 120 yards on the ground which was the Tigers season low and only game all season that they did not eclipse the 200 yard mark on the ground.

Prescott and the Bulldogs offense will be in for a bit of a struggle too, as the Owls are the 24th best total defense in the nation.  However, Prescott’s ability to make something happen when he gets outside of the pocket will alleviate some of the Bulldogs struggles offensively.

When it is all said and done Dan Mullen and Mississippi State will cover the spread and hand coach Bailiff his first bowl loss.

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University of Memphis tailback Marquis Warford requests transfer

Former University of Memphis freshman tailback Marquis Warford took to Instagram to set the record straight about the decision that was made for him to leave the team. 

It was announced earlier this week that Warford would be leaving the team and of course people began to speculate about the circumstances behind him leaving.  Reports began to surface that Warford had several altercations with teammates this season leading some people to speculate that he was being put off of the team for none football reasons.  Also adding fuel to the fire of this story is the fact that Tigers head coach Justin Fuente stated that he told Warford that he is “no longer welcome” on the Tigers football team.

With all of the speculation going on about why he was leaving the University of Memphis, Warford took to Instagram last night to let everybody know what was going on with his decision.

warford

Warford was the Tigers second leading rusher behind Brandon Hayes this year with 303 yards.  However, over half of those yards came against Arkansas State where he ran for 173 yards and a touchdown. 

After his stellar performance against the Red Wolves, many thought that Warford had cemented himself as the Tigers second tailback.  He continued to get carries the next three games following the Arkansas State contest, but he found himself in CoachFuente’s doghouse the last half of the season as he totaled just one carry in the final five games of the year.  The emergence of another freshman back, Doroland Dorceus, also cut into Warford’s carries. 

It appeared as though these two freshman backs along with freshman quarterback Paxton Lynch were going to be the backbone of the Tigers backfield for the next three years, but with Warford’s decision to transfer the Tigers will be looking for another playmaker to emerge on offense.

Since Warford was a true freshman this year he is able to transfer to another FBS school and maintain three years of eligibility after he redshirts the first year. However, if the reports about his issues with teammates are true (which according to Warford they are not) then it may be difficult for him to find another FBS program willing to take a chance on him, especially when you factor in the fact that he struggled with fumbles this year. 

CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him  @Conradicalness for live tweets from games.

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Week 14 TAM Rankings: Vanderbilt jumps Ole Miss after Egg Bowl loss

egg bowlIt was a suspense filled week of college football for the TAM teams, with no game being more enthralling than the Egg Bowl.

With their bowl hopes on the line, Mississippi State held the hated Ole Miss Rebels to just three offensive points and came away with an overtime win in the Egg Bowl.  This was the Rebels first loss to a team outside of the AP Top 25 all year. The Bulldogs have won four of the last five Egg Bowls toad insult to injury.

Vandy had some last second excitement as well this week, needing a  field goal during the waning moments against Wake Forest to get the win.  This is the second eight win season under coach James Franklin.  Before he arrived the Commodores only had one such season since 1980.  The win also secured back to back eight win seasons for Vanderbilt for the first time since the 1927-1928 seasons.

The two FBS schools in Arkansas were on the wrong side of the last second excitement this week.  Arkansas State lost to Western Kentucky thanks to a touchdown pass by Willie McNeal to Brandon Doughty with ten seconds left, and a late touchdown by LSU ensured the Razorbacks finished the year winless in conference play.

Tennessee ended the season on a good note by beating Kentucky, while MTSU extended their five game winning streak by knocking off UTEP.

Memphis struggled all afternoon long in route to an embarrassing loss to Temple on senior day, and Southern Mississippi managed to get their first win in 24 tries in convincing fashion.

It is championship weekend, but unfortunately none of the TAM teams are playing for their respective conference championships.  Memphis is the only TAM team playing this week, so their contest against UConn is the TAM game of the week by default.

The regular season is over for all but one TAM team and bowl season is almost here.

Without further ado, here are week fourteen’s TAM Rankings…

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, every week MemphiSport ranks all the college football teams in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. We call it the TAM Rankings.

1. Vandy LogoVanderbilt (8-4):
Last Game: 
W 23-21 vs. Wake Forest @ Neyland Stadium
Best Win: 14-10 vs. Tennessee @ Neyland Stadium
Worst Loss: 
 56-24 vs. Texas A&M @ Kyle Field
Wins Against TAM Teams: 1 (Tennessee)
Losses Against TAM Teams: 1 (Ole Miss) 

2. ole_miss logoOle Miss (7-5):
Last Game: 
L 17-10 vs. Mississippi State @ Davis Wade Stadium
Best Win: 
27-24 vs. LSU @ Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium
Worst Loss: 17-10 vs. Mississippi State @ Davis Wade Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams: 2 (Vanderbilt and Arkansas)
Losses Against TAM Teams: 1 (Mississippi State)

3. Mississippi_State_Bulldogs logoMississippi State (6-6):
Last Game: 
W 17-10 vs. Ole Miss @ Davis Wade Stadium
Best Win: 
17-10 vs. Ole Miss @ Davis Wade Stadium
Worst Loss: 59-26 vs. LSU @ Davis Wade Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams: 2 (Arkansas and Ole Miss)
Losses Against TAM Teams: N/A

4.  University-Tennessee-Logo-2Tennessee (5-7):
Last Game: 
W 27-14 vs. Kentucky @ Commonwealth Stadium
Best Win: 
23-21 vs. South Carolina @ Neyland Stadium
Worst Loss: 
14-10 vs. Vanderbilt @ Neyland Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams:
 N/A
Losses Against TAM Teams: 
1 (Vanderbilt)

5.  MTSU LogoMTSU (8-4):
Last Game: W 48-17 vs. UTEP @ Floyd Stadium
Best Win: 48-0 vs. FIU @ Floyd Stadium
Worst Loss: 34-7 vs. North Texas @ Apogee Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams:
2 (Memphis and Southern Mississippi)
Losses Against TAM Teams: N/A

6.  Arkansas State Logo 2Arkansas State (7-5):
Last Game:
L 34-31 vs. Western Kentucky @ Liberty Bank Stadium
Best Win: 62-11 vs. AR-Pine Bluff @ Liberty Bank Stadium
Worst Loss: 31-7 vs. Memphis @ Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams: N/A
Losses Against TAM Teams: 1 (Memphis)

7.  memphis-tigers logoMemphis (3-8):
Last Game:
L  41-21 vs. Temple @ Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Best Win: 31-7 vs. Arkansas State @ Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Worst Loss: 17-15 vs. MTSU @Floyd Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams: 1 (Arkansas State)
Losses Against TAM Teams: 1 (MTSU)

8.  Arkansas logoArkansas (3-9):
Last Game:
L 31-27 vs. LSU @ Tiger Stadium
Best Win:
34-14 vs. LA-Lafayette @ Razorback Stadium
Worst Loss: 52-0 vs. Alabama @ Bryant-Denny Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams: 1 (Southern Mississippi)
Losses Against TAM Teams: 1 (Ole Miss)

9.  Southern Miss logo 2Southern Mississippi (1-11):
Last Game: W 62-27 vs. UAB @ Legion Field
Best Win: 62-27 vs. UAB @ Legion Field
Worst Loss: 24-23 vs. FIU @ M.M. Roberts Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams: N/A
Losses Against TAM Teams: 2 (Arkansas and MTSU)

 

CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him  @Conradicalness for live tweets from games.

 

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