Memphis Tigers 2023 College Football Preview
June 22, 2023
Record – 7-6
ATS – 7-6
“Iceberg, Right ahead!” <Titanic> <1997>
The Tigers got off to a great start. They were 4-1 and leading Houston by a score of 32-19 with under two minutes remaining. What could possibly go wrong? Well, they hit an ICEBERG in the form of a miracle Cougars comeback (L 33-32) and that was the start of a four-game losing streak, and an end to any hopes they had of competing in the AAC. However, Memphis didn’t quit and they managed to win three of their final four games, and that included a 38-10 SPANKING of Utah St in the First Responder Bowl.
Memphis Tigers 2023 Outlook
The Tigers have the most important piece of the puzzle set and ready to go as QB Seth Henigan is one of the best signal-callers in the conference (3,571, 22-8 TD to INT LY). One of the most interesting situations in the AAC is the outlook for the WR/TE doods. Henigan loses all four (!) players from last year’s squad who booked over 40 receptions (3 WR, 1 TE) but the Tigers have done good work thru the transfer portal. WR DeMeer Blankumsee brings a deep threat to the table and he looked great in the spring game. They also added a few more pieces including former Missouri WR Tauskie Dove and recall that WR Joseph Scates averaged 22.9 YPC in 2022 (4 TD). The biggest void is left by departed TE Caden Prieskorn (602, 7 TD) so it’ll be interesting to see if they can come close to replacing his production. Memphis had a mediocre ground attack LY (142 YPG, #74) but we love the depth at RB this season. Two of their top-three backs return and they add the dangerous Blake Watson from Old Dominion who rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2021, and he followed that up with a monster year in 2022 (921 rush, 5.8; 37 receptions, 314 yards, 2 TD). The interior of the offensive line is set but they need to work with a new pair of starting tackles.
The Tigers were a tough team to run against LY (122 YPG, #3 AAC) and they were #4 in the conference in pass efficiency defense thanks in large part to their conference-leading 16 INTs. However, they still gave up a lot of yards thru the air (241 YPG, #88 FBS). We like the look up front with the return of DEs Cormontae Hamilton and Jaylon Allen (combined 9.5 sacks LY) and the addition of lots of Power 5 transfer portal BEEF on the interior. The back-end of the defense will be solid even with the loss of star safety Quindell Johnson (#2 tackler) as they retain three starters and add a small handful of Power 5 transfers including former WOO PIG safety Simeon Blair who’s a projected starter. LB could be a problem area as they’ll be without #1 tackler LB Xavier Cullens who was arguably the team’s best defensive player in 2022.
There’s a bit of uncertainty in this area as they need to replace their excellent tandem of PK Chris Howard (21/24 FG LY) and punter Joe Doyle (45.9)(!). Memphis must also find a new primary KR and a replacement for PR Eddie Lewis (9.4, TD LY). Thankfully, they found a few veteran replacement parts via the portal in Sam Houston St PK Seth Morgan and WOO PIG punter Reid Bauer (44.6).
Overall – There’s no reason to think they can’t start 3-0 (Bethune-Cookman, at Arkansas St, Navy) before their neutral-site date with Missouri. They get to play Tulane and SMU at home and avoid UTSA. Yes, guy.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Charlotte (Nov 11)
This will be the Tigers’ 3rd road test in four weeks and they have the yuuuge home game with SMU on deck. Charlotte has the look of PURE FILTH on paper but we won’t be laying points with the road favorite in this spot.
Season Win Total
Market Consensus June 22
Over 7.5 -150
Under 7.5 +120
The schedule is very manageable and the AAC is a softer conference this year given the departure of Houston, UCF, and Cincinnati.
Memphis was 0-4 in one-score games last year.
Don’t forget to check out historic Beale Street in Downtown Memphis when you come to town. It runs for just under two miles from the Mississippi River to East Street and features blues clubs, bars, and restaurants. booze, barbecue, and random hotties, yo.
The Tigers look like an under-the-radar contender in the AAC. The offense could be devastating if the new weapons at WR can get in sync with their fine QB Seth Henigan. The defense doesn’t look like a brick wall but it’s definitely one of the better stop units in the conference, and we like the Power 5 additions to the roster.
Memphis couldn’t ask for much more of a favorable conference schedule so we’ll give them the tag of SURPRISE PACKAGE and see them as a legit threat to make the AAC Championship Game. Go Tigers!