College Football fans remember the days when Boise State was the nontraditional program to be a part of, then for a short while, it was UCF, but now Memphis has taken that role and turned itself into the football program of the future. It’s not just Memphis fans who are taking notice either it’s the entire College Football world saying Memphis is legit and belongs at the table much like Boise State did before them. Not only are the Tigers winning on the field, but also in recruiting. Over the last ten years or so, Memphis has gone into the deep south in places like Mississippi and Alabama and plucked guys from the likeness of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, and even a few from Auburn.
Memphis has also made a name for itself as being the program that gets overlooked guys to the NFL. Just look at guys like Anthony Miller, Antonio Gibson, Tony Pollard, Darrell Henderson, and so many more who have gone on from the program to make big names of themselves in the NFL. All of them are all NFL guys who fill gigantic roles for their franchises. Before those guys, you DeAngelo Williams, Issac Bruce, Jake Elliot, and heck even Stephen Gostkowski, some of those guys are even Super Bowl Champions. Issac Bruce just got inducted into the NFL Hall Of Fame.
I know, some people still say, well it’s Memphis Football, they can’t win the big one, or they’ll choke, or they can’t compete with anybody outside of their conference. All of which is simply untrue and not backed by any factual evidence what’s so ever other than a bad stretch in program history. Over the last five years, Memphis has held a ridiculous overall record of 46-19 and is nearly unbeatable at home. In those five years, Memphis has won at least eight games every season, including ten in 2017 and 12 in 2019; with that, Memphis fans have had a Cotton Bowl berth and an AAC Outright Championship. Not to mention, that Cotton Bowl game was a lot closer than a lot of folks realize. Memphis went head to head with College Football power, Penn State, for 95% of the game until a costly turnover at the end that gave Penn State the advantage. People also fail to realize that in 2019 when Memphis faced off with Penn State in the Cotton Bowl, the Tigers had a football budget of around 17.5 million dollars, compared to the 46.2 million budget that Penn State had.
Staying on the topic of the Cotton Bowl, people also fail to realize that the entire city of Memphis packed up and made Dallas their second home. They easily outnumbered the Penn State fans by an easy margin of ten to one. Everywhere you turned, you saw Memphis blue and people from the Bluff City taking over the city of Dallas. It got to the point where local folks from Dallas were making remarks about the crazy turnout from the folks of Memphis. You know what, like Rob Browne at Sidelines always has said, ” You know you’ve made it when your fans are fighting mad when your team losses.” Quite frankly, as a lifelong Memphian, I see that for the first time out of this Memphis football fan base. Memphis fans also showed that on November 2nd, 2019, when College Gameday came to the 901. If you remember correctly, there were easily 40,000 Memphis fans out on Beale Street who had been camped out since the day before. Gameday folks like Kirk Herbstreit said it was the most impressive crowd they’ve ever seen at any show.
What Former Head Coach Tommy West started during his tenure at the school has shaped into something that nobody ever imagined. Justin Fuente started the process. Then it was passed over to Mike Norvell, who led the Tigers to an AAC Championship and that bid in the Cotton Bowl, to now Head Coach Ryan Silverfield, who in his first year as the Head Coach led the Tigers to an impressive 8-3 record with a win over UCF and a bowl win to close out the season and to set the bar higher for the 2021 season. This is why many across the College Football landscape have deemed Memphis football as the program of the future, which who knows what it will lead to, maybe just maybe a bid in the College Football Playoffs.