Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Recommendation for Memphis Tiger Football - Make the Weekends Start Early

If someone was to accuse our radio station of 'under-covering' the Memphis Tiger football program, I'd say that would be more than fair to do. The problems with the Memphis football program run deep, and in the instances that we DO cover the Tigers - it usually devolves into a complaint-fest about lack of facilities, attention to the program by the athletic department, and a lack of media coverage.

We all know Memphis finds itself in the middle of SEC football territory, and that RC has gone on record saying that in his wishes to get Memphis into a BCS conference, that they should be in the SEC.

Well, that ain't happening unless Arkansas (the state) falls into the Pacific Ocean.

I've argued before about how Memphis would be a great fit for the Big 10, but let's not get into that here (even though it's a great idea).

Let's start small. For instance, one of the best ways to help grow a program is exposure. Like, television. I've gone through the Tigers' schedule this year, and along with opening weekend's Sunday game against Ole Miss, the Tigers only have one other non-Saturday game (week 9's Tuesday night game against East Carolina) this season.

Why is this important? Because college football sells advertising. And whether it's for simple entertainment, gambling purposes, or otherwise, when given the option to either watch college football or not - people watch it.

Now, let me say that I do not know exactly how these games get set up - in that who makes the call on the weeknight games (the schools, the NCAA, ESPN, etc.).


Use this opportunity to have the high school recruits check out the Memphis football program when there isn't anyone else to watch. Monopolize their time and attention. Isn't this always a recruiting pitch? "You get a chance to play on national television, son. Let the country and NFL scouts check out your skills on display."

Market the program - market the University. Whatever. Just get on TV. Only 2 games this year is not enough.

For a comparison, here are some schools of 'similar prestige' that are getting on television in non-competitive (weeknight) spots -
Tulsa: 4 games (weeks 1, 7, 8, 11)
Toledo: 3 games (weeks 2, 11, 12)
Boise St. (Yes, the same team that beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl 2 years ago): 5 games (weeks 3, 7, 8, 10, 12)
Colorado: 4 games (weeks 1, 2, 5, 12)
Nevada: 3 games (weeks 4, 6, 10)
Rutgers: 4 games (weeks 1, 7, 8, 11)

Surely Memphis is in the same prestige as this bunch... isn't it? We are in a top-50 television market, after all. And I know we all love blue turf, but Boise State isn't rolling out BCS matchups for primetime TV. Their opponents in these games are Fresno St., Tulsa, Hawaii, La. Tech, and Utah State.

My question is, why isn't Memphis in more weeknight games?

And please don't tell me that you don't want to fall into that 'mid-major category of teams that will do anything to be on TV' group. That's not a fall... that's where you are. Conference USA doesn't mean anything in college football. And, while we are at it, you're not winning the conference anyway.

And if you are afraid of having a half-empty stadium on television - get over that. Consider it a 'bump in the road' on the way to success.

Now, it may not solve everything that is wrong with Memphis football - but it's a start.

Memphis football, get on TV.

Make the fall weekends in Memphis start early.