Sports 56 WHBlog Q

August 31, 2009

Can David slay Goliath again?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 8:23 pm

In 1996, The Memphis Tigers upset win over big,
bad Tennessee was arguably the greatest moment in the history of the Memphis Football Program. It ignited the city, made the football program relevant again, and gave Tigers Fans “Tennessee State” bragging rights over the mythical-like Giants from the Eastern region of the state. The Vols came into Memphis ranked 6th in the nation. This Sunday, some 13 years after the upset of the Vols, the Tigers will try to cut down another top ten program. Ole Miss has an amazing history, although their last 20 years certainly is not comparable to what the Vols program has been. Never the less, the 2009 Rebels are being looked at as a National Title contender. There are many similarities including the Quarterback position where the Tigers were able to stymie the future Super Bowl Champion Quarterback Peyton Manning in 1996, and now hope to do the same to the Rebels’ Jevan Snead, who may very well be a a top ten pick in next June’s NFL Draft, assuming he leaves early.
The unfortunate thing about the win over UT was that the Rip Scherer era never again reached that moment. It was all downhill from there. The Tigers seemed to lose fans at an alarming rate until Tommy West took over and a couple of guys named DeAngelo Williams and Danny Wimprine electrified Memphis fans with performances the school had never seen. The results from W&W took the program to new heights. Since their arrival, and now several years after their departure, the school has gone to 5 Bowl games in the past 6 seasons.
The problem now that exists is a clamoring from the fans for more. Tigers fans have become indifferent to the annual Bowl Games and now want one thing, and one thing only, and that’s a Conference USA Championship and trip to the Autozone Liberty Bowl Game. What fans are asking for is not too much. The only real problem I have is the apathy there seems to be towards the football program. I guess playing in the New Orleans Bowl or Magic Jack St. Petersburg Bowl doesn’t compare with the Hoop team playing for a National Title.
With all that said, the Tigers can do wonders by shocking the world again. A win over heavily favored Ole Miss may do to the program what the win over UT did in 1996. The difference is that I think the program can build more on this win than they did in 1996 when Scherer couldn’t get the program out of neutral.
A victory over Ole Miss Sunday could electrify the city once again, and perhaps, strike an accord with the seemingly thousands of fans who at the moment, are showing indifference to the Memphis Football Program.

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