Sports 56 WHBlog Q

September 23, 2008

Rivalry or not?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 3:30 pm

In my opinion, there are four things that determine a rivalry. Geography & Proximity, History, Competitiveness, and Significance of the contest. If you have 3 of the 4, then you have a rivalry. Memphis and Arkansas State is a rivalry! Tigers Coach Tommy West doesn’t believe so, but let’s explore the criteria to show you why I believe it is.

1) Geography & Proximity………..The two schools are separated by the mighty Mississippi River. They are located in border states and are approximately an hour and a half from each other.

2) History…….This year’s game will be the 55th all-time between Arkansas State and the University of Memphis. Only Southern Mississippi and Ole Miss have played more games against the Tigers than the Red Wolves (Indians).

3) Competitiveness…Memphis leads the all-time series 27-22-5 with the Red Wolves winning the past two games. I understand many of those games came in ancient times, but the numbers don’t lie.

4) Significance….This is the one area that goes against the “rivalry” theory. The two play in separate conferences and a loss in the series doesn’t spell doom for the loser. On the same token, Ole Miss is considered by many as a rival for Memphis and they also play in a different conference.

In summary, my 3 out of 4 theory holds true making Arkansas State and Memphis rivals. This series however, not unlike Ole Miss, has a questionable future. The schools have only one year left on their contract, and that is a game in Jonesboro in 2011. The biggest concern for Memphis is the same as it is for Ole Miss….do the positives of playing this game outweigh the negatives? In other words, is this a no win situation for Memphis and a no lose scenario for A-State? You be the judge.

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