Sunday, September 04, 2011

Inflation of a different sort

Yes it's me again. Here to talk about something in this city that is near and dear to my heart. Memphis Tiger football.

I think it't time for the program to be ended. There I said it. It is hard for me to say, but I think it is time that a program that has an athletic director who is to put it mildly, fucking clueless, to kill the one thing I like about my alma mater.

I am that rare thing in this city, a Memphis football fan, who is not a Memphis basketball fan. I like the basketball team, but my basketball loyalties lie with Duke, always have, always will, sorry. Thus, it pains me to say that the program needs to be put to sleep.

Since V. Lane Rawlins hired the incompetent moron R.C. Johnson to oversee the program, the arrow has pointed down. He kept Rip Scherer on a season or two too long. That said, he never gave him the proper tools to compete. Rip was a good ambassador as was his successor, they just never got a good realistic shot to succeed due to R.C.'s cheapness and inability to lead.

Tommy West had success. Never won the division, let alone the conference while possessing the best QB in school history and its best player in DeAngelo. Tommy fell prey to Jackie Sherrill syndrome, coach getting older needing to win to keep his job bringing in JUCO talent that is hit or miss and eventually missing and getting fired. Tommy said it all when he left, berating the department saying essentially the city and University didn't support him and needed to support his successor, otherwise we should quit. I agree.

But wait, you say, they just finished a new practice facility and locker room improvements. Sorry, those should have been built 10 years ago, a competent AD would have done so.

But wait, Memphis has never won. Sure, but we were at least competitive for years. Plus look at SMU-death penalty, lost for 20 years, hired a good coach, succeeding. East Carolina-always seems to do well. Cincy-done well. USF and UCF-no real history but doing well.

I come back to the title now. Memphis has an inflated sense of its place. We are a good, not great basketball team with the right head coach can be a consistent Sweet 16 team, every once in a great while a Final Four team. We are essentially Gonzaga.

The search for a head coach when they fired Larry should have told you all you needed to know about the ability of RC. Rather than reach out for a good young up and coming assistant at a major school, they hired Tic Price. The boosters essentially forced him to hire a competent coach in Coach Redacted. The result was we won.

RC didn't care about the football team though and the result was that we got shut out of the Big East expansion a couple years later. RC keeps trying to get us in, but with the Big East looking more and more like its going to have to merge with the ACC with the conference moves, why in the blue hell would they want a pathetic football school like Memphis? Football TV dollars are the driving force behind this. Not basketball. We will be stuck out in the cold in some merged conference that is CUSA and the remains of the Big 12, MAC, and other D1 schools left out in the cold.

I'm going to lay some blame at Shirley Raines' feet as well. If she gave two cares about the football team and the impact the dollars it could bring in, she would have joined the push for an on campus stadium. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, 25k fans in the Liberty Bowl looks awful, 25k in a 45k capacity stadium looks a lot better. It would have shown the commitment to moving the university forward. They still could have used the Liberty Bowl for some games when we played the SEC. Heck, we could go back to having a game the same day as the SHC and not worry about tailgating interference.

RC's incompetance will cost us Josh within the next few years as he leaves for a better offer. My guess would be Texas A&M or Texas would make a significant run at him. Larry Porter who at this point looks to be overmatched, will be most likely let go at the end of next year or the year after and we will be in the same spot we were two years. RC should not have had his last contract renewal.

We as Memphians deserve a University that we can be proud of. Sixteen years ago we were a solid number three in the state. In the area, we and Southern Miss were the best non SEC schools. Now we have been passed by MTSU in the state and UAB, Troy, Arkansas State, with Western Kentucky and Georgia State possibly joining them. Fire RC, replace him with a young assistant AD from the SEC or the Big 10. Give us a reason to hope again. Get out there and raise money from the corporate donors. Keep their money away from the SEC schools. Build a program we can get behind and get us into superconferences. Or just shutter the football program and walk away.


Dave said...

I don't have much to say other than I'm much like you in that I love Duke basketball even though I've lived in Memphis for most of my life and went to U of M for grad school. I don't really care about Tiger football. So I wouldn't mind if they scrapped the program.

David Holt said...

I don't really care if Tiger football exists or not, but I'm confused by people who used to think it should exist but now don't. Didn't they have like 30 years (or was it more?) of losing seasons before the three winning ones with Deangelo Williams. Seems like they've always been a joke.