Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Memphis Tigers season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Memphis Tigers
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Memphis Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
It’s going to be their turn soon.
Memphis struggled for a long, long time – going six straight seasons without a winning campaign – and then, some no-name Justin Fuente guy stepped in, and everything changed.
Fuente left for Virginia Tech, Mike Norvell kept it all going, and now the program has become one of the steadiest in the American Athletic Conference with 37 victories in four seasons.
And no AAC championships and three straight bowl losses.
There have been Power Five wins – beating Kansas twice, outgunning Josh Rosen and UCLA last year, and stunning Ole Miss in 2015 – and it was way too close to taking down UCF in last year’s conference championship, but it hasn’t been able to get over the hump.
So how’s it going to happen now with a stronger league and without WR Anthony Miller and QB Riley Ferguson around anymore?
The program just so happens to be that good now that it can reload and still be one of the conference favorites. The 36-year-old Norvell is growing into one of the hot coaches destined for the next-good-job-up – it was a bit of a stunner that the former Arizona State offensive coordinator didn’t get the gig – and he’s got a heater of a team returning, even with the new parts in the backfield.
The offense that was one of the nation’s most dangerous and explosive might lose a few of the key parts, but it gets back everyone in the backfield, welcomes back do-it-all-star Tony Pollard, and has plenty of talent on the line to potentially be the best offensive front in the league.
With grad transfer Brady White coming in from Arizona State to challenge for the open gig, and with a slew of good young receivers ready to do more, the O will keep going.
All the defense has to do is not be so miserable. Eight starters return, the corners should be terrific at times, and the line has enough experience and bulk to be good against the run.
And best of all, Norvell is still around.
Memphis keeps on getting close, and soon, as long as it keeps on knocking, it’ll eventually break through and be the league’s big star. Until then, though, this will still be a whole lot of fun.