Thursday, September 17, 2009

Look Who Decided to Skip His Afternoon Nap...

It's been a long summer for the Tigers. Our scheming, sell-out of a coach pull the rug out from under us and took our recruits to UK. Our (statistically) best basketball season was officially erased from the incredibly judicious NCAA record books. Due to theft, injuries and an insatiable desire for Asian culture, our current basketball roster has been trimmed to a mere eight scholarship players. Not to mention, our football team has been smoked like a North Memphis lazy afternoon by two of our nearby rivals (unfortunately lacking the euphoric, carefree after-effects).

Yet, sometimes, you must go through a season of tribulation to become stronger and better. Either that or you have an athletic director who fears for his cushy job and decides to make an effort.

RC Johnson has just hired Mike Tranghese, the former Big East Commissioner, to do some consulting for the Memphis Tigers. Johnson proceeds to emerge from his hole and make large claims about how Memphis wants to join the SEC, but that he really just wants to get into a BCS conference.

Wow, RC. You've really stepped your game up. What's gotten into you?
Before Memphis fans get too excited, hear Tranghese loud and clear when he says, “I can’t get people into conferences. That’s not what I do.”

No wonder this guy is such good friends with RC Johnson.

There's a rumor floating around that Memphis and UCF will be joining the Big East in the next six months. Mind you, this rumor started on a Mississippi radio call-in show.

Needless to say, don't expect anything to happen anytime soon. Memphis needs to improve their football facilities before a move is made. Forget about the SEC. There's no chance a thirteenth team will be added and even less of a chance that a third school from the state of Tennessee will be added. The SEC wants to expand its influence. Memphis cannot offer them that. There are as many Tennessee fans in the city of Memphis as Memphis fans (for football, at least), so there is little motivation for the SEC to expand here.

The Big East is pretty full, too. The main rumor flying is that Memphis will replace DePaul in basketball. However, the Big East is already very basketball heavy. They may not want to add another team who can compete for a top spot. They may want to preserve some knockaround teams so the big boys can pad their record.

Regardless, nothing has materialized other than RC putting forward a moderate effort in the PR portion of the athletic department. Does it sound good to consult with the former Big East Commish? Of course. Will it make any difference in the end? Not according to the Big East Commish. Time will tell.

As always, Tiger fans... pray.


Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily disagree. You make some good points, but what if the SEC made a decision to bring Memphis in for a different reason.

Memphis is a major hub of recruiting for the SEC that they have enjoyed for a long time. Having a Big East school, or any BCS school for that matter, smack in the middle of their furtile recruiting ground may be something they don't want to contend with.

Also, it wouldn't have to require the SEC to "add" to the conference. There has also been a lot of talk of Arkansas not being happy in the SEC and that other schools find it hard and expense to travel to Fayetteville. Memphis would be a more true southeasern location, easier and cheaper access, securing this area even more for recruiting, and secruing another bowl for SEC fans. Arkansas would be a better fit in the two conferences that are primarily to our west.

There has also been talk of other schools that might want to leave the SEC for other BCS schools based on competition and traveling concerns. Some have also said that Vanderbilt isn't a good fit for the SEC either since they are far more concerned with academics than athletics.

Anyway, I don't think any of us know what's going to happen. There are lots of options and possibilites. I wouldn't be surprised if all BCS conferences didn't do some realigning to try to become more consolitated and make travel costs as low as possible. Money is king and it's not just about making money now but saving money too because outside of the rock star schools, many schools,even BCS schools, are losing money in their athletic department and are looking for ways to make it into the black.

Anonymous said...

I've been a Memphis Tigers fan for nearly forty years now, but I have to laugh at those who think ANY school would leave the SEC. Why on God's green earth, in this economic climate, would ANY university president or AD walk away from the cash cow that is the SEC? Yes, Vanderbilt cares more for academics than athletics, but like their "motto" states, "It's just like stealing." Where else would they go and replace $10 million plus a year through their SEC affiliation WITHOUT, virtually every year, contributing ANYTHING to deserve it?

Pistolier said...

I also think it is highly unlikely there is any change in the landscape of the SEC anytime soon. Yes, Vandy is more concerned with academics than athletics and that is precisely why the SEC will keep it. It allows the conference to boost its overall academic resume. The only school that has even the most remote possibility of leaving is Arkansas. The Big 12 would be a good fit and give them plenty of geographic rivalries. But that would give the SEC 11 teams and the Big 12 13 teams and divisions would be unequal. Which is precisely why Memphis could join the Big 10... or 11. We would even out the conference and be geographically closer to the schools that we would be in the Big East.

But don't expect any changes anytime soon. We have proven our non-BCS conference is not a hindrance in basketball, whether recruiting, scheduling, or seeding, so the only benefit for being in a BCS conference would be for football, which, as it stands right now, we would get rolled and just be a leech for the conference's revenue sharing. Now what group of schools would allow an addition to the denominator without any hope for addition to the numerator?

Anonymous said...

People please, stop this talk of Memphis in the sec. It's insane.

Jake Bishop said...

Agreed. It's not gonna happen. Maybe the Big East, possibly the Big 12.

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