Remember a month ago when Memphis fans and alum were all excited about the future? Well, the news from today seems to have shattered many dreams of new revenue sources. It looks like UCF, BYU, Houston, and Cincinnati are bound for the greener pastures of the Big 12. As for our beloved Tigers? Once again left behind by the roaring train that is conference realignment. A disappointing outcome, but one I'm not too surprised by. We have plenty of time to sulk and be mad. Believe me, I'm not thrilled about this one bit. But it's time to talk about the future of Memphis with this new information
Let's get this out the way; the odds of getting the massive payday we wanted are slim to none now. The only real way we're getting into the Big 12 with the current landscape is if one of the "Hateful 8" jump ships to a P4 conference. But if that were to happen, we're looking at Big East 2.0 and we all know how this story ends. So getting that 12-15M dollar increase in the athletics payout is probably not going to happen. Chances to play at big-time environments like Allen Fieldhouse or Boone T.Pickens are probably out the window for the time being.
But that doesn't mean it has to be all doom and gloom. Memphis still has a huge project on the Park Avenue campus in the works. Even with the news of the Big 12 not happening, we still have the funds necessary to complete the athletics overhaul by 2030. Penny Hardaway is still our basketball head coach. If we start making runs at the National Title, we can have the basketball brand even without playing some iconic schools in the Big 12. The College Football Playoff is still expanding, tho that might be a bit tricker. If the proposal goes through if Memphis were to go 11-2/12-1 every season, then getting an automatic birth every year is still on the table. If things change due to their being one less power conference, then we might be in some murkier waters. However, there is still the opportunity to keep growing as a football program.
This article isn't going to proclaim Memphis is going to run the American in all sports. We'll likely add programs like App State and UAB in football, both of which are formidable opponents on the gridiron. Schools like Georgia State, Charlotte, and Old Dominion are all options for schools with tons of potential to grow as a program in football and basketball. Plus there are options like NIU, Marshall, and Arkansas State which could be underrated additions to the conference. Couple that with SMU, Temple, Wichita State, and others still in the AAC, and Memphis will still have their work count out to be the top program in the conference. I just want Memphis fans to remember that if we keep winning on the field and pour the money off of it, we'll get to the place we want this program to be. TCU was shut out of conference realignment talks for years until they finally got their chance with the Big 12. But it took 2 decades of success in order to do it. The reason Memphis was even considered this time around is because of the huge strides we've made over the years. Keep pushing forward, and we'll eventually break that glass ceiling.