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‘Super’ conference looms as Tiger woes continue

The season is halfway over and the most exciting part for the University of Memphis Tigers might be what happens after the season, and I don’t mean a bowl game. by J.R. Moorhead
Special to the Tri-State Defender

The season is halfway over and the most exciting part for the University of Memphis Tigers might be what happens after the season, and I don’t mean a bowl game. Conference USA and the Mountain West have made a deal to form a “super” conference.

First things first, however, meaning last week’s Memphis game against the East Carolina Pirates.

The Tigers have dropped their last two games. They lost 28-6 to Rice on the road and 35-17 to ECU at home last weekend. In their most recent loss, the Tigers actually seemed to be up for the game in the first half. They got out to an early lead, 10-0, with a field goal and a touchdown in the first quarter. Memphis even took a 10-7 lead into the locker room.  

With both Reed and Summerlin banged up, Skylar Jones reaped his first start at quarterback since transferring from Wake Forrest.

Memphis’ first two scoring plays were reviewed. The Tigers scored what appeared to be a 54-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Curtis Johnson, but the play was overturned, and rightfully so, because the receiver was clearly down. The weird part was that the play was reviewed after Memphis had kicked the extra point. The reversal led to Memphis only walking away with a field goal.  

The second review came on a play where the ECU quarterback, Dominique Davis, appeared to just drop the ball on the one yard line so that Memphis defensive lineman, Martin Ifedi, could pick it up for an easy score. With the Pirates cheering for an incomplete pass call, the ruling on the field withstood scrutiny, giving Memphis a 10-point lead.

With Jones having played a pretty good first half and Memphis coming out with a three-point lead after halftime, the Tiger faithful had reason to believe that they might pull this one out.  Their hopes proved to be short lived, as the Tigers were right back to their old selves in the second half. ECU scored four TDs and Memphis scored one late when the game was well within hand for the Pirates. The defense looked awful as usual and gave up over 500 total yards on the day. Also, any hopes for a coming out party for Jones were dashed when he threw two interceptions on extremely ill-advised passes and got hurt in the fourth quarter.

Memphis plays Tulane this weekend in New Orleans. The Green Wave is a 2-4 team that is not much different from the Tigers (1-5). Memphis has a good chance of getting a win here, especially with Tulane’s quarterback going down in the UTEP game last weekend.

‘Super’ conference

The heads of Conference USA and the Mountain West have come together to make a “super” conference. The conference would be all 22 teams from both conferences, for now anyways. It could lose a few teams since the Big East Conference has extended invitations to Boise State and Air Force from the Mountain West and Central Florida from C-USA.

This is a perfect time for the conferences to join because the Big East is only six teams now after Syracuse and UConn decided to join the ACC. With a possibility of the new “super” conference becoming a BCS conference, maybe the new allegiance will be enough to keep Boise, Air Force and UCF from leaving.

Meanwhile, U of M dreams about getting into a BCS conference should be tempered by the liklihood that a 22-team conference would probably do a little trimming to get down to 16 teams. And a really good basketball team might not be enough to make the cut.

Still, things are looking up for the Tigers, for now.

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