VOL. 132 | NO. 187 | Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Deadspin Likes Memphis More Than AP, Coaches Polls Do
By Don Wade
As great as the 48-45 victory over then-No. 25 UCLA was, as nice as it has been to hear the University of Memphis getting national mentions, the Tigers have work to do. Maybe more than you’d imagine.
When the Associated Press and Amway Coaches polls came out this week, the Tigers were still on the outside of the Top 25. Yes, they received votes in both polls. By votes, they’d be 31st in both polls.
They knocked the Bruins out of the Top 25, but the polls do not always reflect reality or even logic. Mississippi State rightly jumped into the polls at 17 (AP) and No. 19 (Coaches) after having its way with LSU last Saturday in Starkville. Yet despite the dismal performance by coach Ed Orgeron and his team, LSU dropped but did not get bounced – hanging onto the 23rd spot in the Coaches poll and checking in at No. 25 in the AP poll.
It’s understandable that one-loss likely powerhouses such as Ohio State and Florida State remain well aloft in the polls. But Florida has been less than impressive and the Gators, after their miraculous win over a troubled Tennessee team, are just 1-1 and still rank 20th (AP) and 22nd (Coaches).
Fans cheer their Tigers to victory over UCLA on Sept. 16, but they don’t get the satisfaction of seeing Memphis in the Top 25 polls, at least not yet. (Daily News/Houston Cofield)
Even the Vols, who were lucky to beat Georgia Tech and worked hard to lose to Florida, still received a handful of votes in each poll. Memphis can’t really make a push this week with a home game against Southern Illinois. But the following week the Tigers play at UCF and then go to Connecticut. Winning on the road ought to be enough to push them into the polls, especially if quarterback Riley Ferguson and wide receiver Anthony Miller keep putting up numbers.
Sports Illustrated, in its Top 25 power rankings, did list Memphis in its “maybe next week” category. Of course, SI also kept Kanas State in the rankings even after losing at Vanderbilt. So no system’s perfect.
So where can Memphis get the credit it deserves – or the credit Tiger fans crave?
Would you believe the Deadspin25? Yes, it’s true.
Here’s the headline on Nick Martin’s story that posted on Tuesday, Sept. 19: “Oh Hell Yeah, it’s Time to Get on the Memphis Bandwagon.”
Here is a sample of Martin’s take: “This year’s team is built on hidden gems, misfit toys, and recycled, thought-to-be-has-been transfers – it’s a delight.”
Deadspin made Memphis No. 8, too, which is obviously high but the site does make a living going counter to the establishment.
Fair warning if you’re not accustomed to Deadspin: The language, like the Tigers’ predominate team color, can be very blue. But it’s all in a positive sense in this article, as in Ferguson’s arm is a “(expletive) gift.”
Butch Jones the Leader
Granted, the Tennessee coach is leading in a way he would rather not. According to www.betonline.ag, Jones is the SEC coach mostly likely to be fired after the debacle at The Swamp last Saturday when the Vols blew it in the red zone and then allowed Florida to win the game on a last-play Hail Mary.
The SEC sideline generals, and the chances they will be looking for new employment, as figured by www.betonline.ag: Jones, 3-2; Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M, 11-4; Gus Malzahn, Auburn, 6-1; LSU’s Ed Orgeron and Missouri’s Barry Odom, 7-1; and Bret Bielema, Arkansas, 12-1.
By the Numbers
1: UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen’s ranking in passing yards (1,283) nationally, even after throwing two key interceptions, including one pick-six, in the loss at Memphis and being outplayed by Ferguson.
10.54: The per-carry rushing average for Memphis running back Darrell Henderson; he ranks second in the country.
102.50: Penalty yards per game for Memphis, ranking the Tigers dead last out of 129 FBS teams.
“It would make it sweet, I could say I picked off the Heisman winner,” Memphis freshman linebacker Tim Hart, who returned an interception of Rosen for a TD, on why he wouldn’t mind Rosen winning the Heisman Trophy this year.