Memphis Tigers Are Rebuilding Football Program by Adding SEC Talent to Schedule
As the Memphis Tigers attempt to rebuild their football program under new head coach Justin Fuente, they also plan to beef up their schedule and renew some old rivalries with a couple of familiar SEC opponents.
The Tigers are in discussions to play a future football series against the Vanderbilt Commodores, according to a report from The Commercial Appeal. Memphis also has verbal agreements to play Kansas and Ole Miss.
Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson said that the Tigers could play Vanderbilt as early as 2013 if one of their currently scheduled non-conference opponents cancels. Those opponents are Arkansas State, Duke, Louisville and Middle Tennessee.
Memphis has played Ole Miss and Mississippi State in recent years, but hasn't played the SEC opponent from Nashville since 1989. Vandy leads the overall series, 7-5.
The Commercial Appeal also reported that Memphis has verbal agreements to play two games, each against the Kansas Jayhawks and the Ole Miss Rebels. The Tigers would face Kansas in 2015 and 2016 and Ole Miss possibly in 2016 and 2017.
Memphis’ future schedules are now littered with big-time BCS programs. In 2014, Memphis is slated to travel to Miami (FL) and host Louisville. In 2015, the Tigers will host Miami (FL) and Missouri, travel to Louisville and face Kansas either home or away.
Then in 2016, Memphis returns the game at Missouri, hosts Louisville and then if the contracts are signed, could face Kansas and Ole Miss.
By playing these high profile programs, Memphis expects to build on recruiting and hopes it will also put some Tigers fans in the stands. In recent years, Memphis has struggled to do so.
The Tigers would then face Ole Miss again in 2017 and would host in-state foe Tennessee.
Memphis opens up the season on Sept. 1 at home against UT Martin.
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