Tiger Football clinches AAC Title share, sights set on Bowl Game

Posted on November 30, 2014


(Photo: Larry Kuzniewski)

(Photo: Larry Kuzniewski)

By: Travis Nauert

With a comprehensive performance Saturday against UConn, the Memphis Tigers have secured a share of the AAC Title and the opportunity for a 10-win season.

Head coach Justin Fuente’s first two years brought a mere 7 wins in 24 games. Year 3 has been a different story. Memphis has finished the regular season at 9-3, their best record since 2003. Two of this year’s losses came on the road at UCLA and Ole Miss, who were then ranked #11 and #10, respectively. A lone conference loss against Houston is all that separates them from an outright AAC title.

There is still hope for that, though. If, next week, UCF loses to East Carolina and Cincinnati loses to Houston, Memphis will boast the best conference record at 7-1. Regardless, this is the first Memphis football team to claim a conference title in 43 years.

Now, the team and fans await bowl placement. Recent projections lean toward the Birmingham or Miami Beach Bowls. John Martin, producer of 92.9FM’s the Geoff Calkins Show, tweeted that the Tigers had an outside shot at the Peach Bowl if Boise State lost to Utah State. The Broncos dominated the Aggies, winning 50-19, and will take on Fresno State in the Mountain West Title Game.

The Birmingham Bowl, scheduled for January 3 at Legion Field, has an SEC tie-in meaning the Tigers would likely play Arkansas or South Carolina. Should the Tigers go to Miami Beach instead, they would face BYU. That game takes place December 22 in Marlins Park. The allure of Miami’s warmth, among other things, could have players hoping for a matchup with BYU. Birmingham, however, may deliver a stronger atmosphere with shorter travel time for fans and the prospect of taking on an SEC school.

Wherever the Tigers end up, this season has been an unequivocal success. The athletic department saw promise at the end of last season when they extended Coach Fuente’s contract, and now the fan base sees the results.

Yes, it is the year 2014 and fans are sad to see football season go. And possibly sad that basketball has just begun.