After this week, the University of Memphis Tigers will have reached the halfway point of the 2013-14-football campaign. Most would agree the Tigers have made steady progress throughout the year.
The improvement noted, Memphis (1-4) took on the Southern Methodist University Mustangs and found the Tigers' strength – defense – under siege at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium last Saturday (Oct. 19).
Translation: Two steps forward encountered three steps back and ultimately resulted in a 34-29 setback.
When the smoke clears, Tennessee Titans quarter Jake Locker is going to be a winner head coach Mike Munchak said after Locker gritted it out last Sunday and played through hip and knee injuries that kept him out of the previous two games.
Meanwhile, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his 49ers (5-2) seemed to be spitting fire as they knocked off Tennessee 31-17 at LP Field in Nashville.
For the Titans (3-4), the offensive showing the last three weeks has been glaringly less than stellar. And while they have faced good defenses, Munchak said, "I think it's us as much as anything and not executing."
The pageantry that is "Memphis Madness" was on display as University of Memphis Tigers basketball fans packed the FedExForum – again – on Friday (Oct. 18). With the pyrotechnics and special performances, the atmosphere was more like that of a circus or a carnival, rather than a basketball game.
The Memphis cheerleaders (all-girl, co-ed, and pom) started the festivities with a spirited performance showcasing some acrobatics and new age dance routines. And as the arena went dark, the song "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons was fittingly chosen to blare from the speakers.
With the refrain, "Welcome to the new age", the new basketball court was revealed. The silhouette of the "M" bridge and the Memphis skyline was on one side and the new American Athletic Conference logos on the other.
With four preseason games left, the Memphis Grizzlies are looking to cut down on turnovers and careless mistakes.
The "preseason sloppiness" will cease, Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger said on Tuesday after the team defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 102-99 at FedExForum.
Now 2-2, the Grizzlies entered the game averaging 20 turnovers but only turned the ball over 13 times. They played without Mike Miller, Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos, Tayshaun Prince, Willie Reed and newly-signed guard Andre Barrett. The team will play its next three tilts on the road before finishing the preseason against Houston on Oct. 25 at FedExForum.
Against Milwaukee, Quincy Pondexter topped his career single-game high of 17 points, leading all scorers with 24 points in his first start of the season.
An underdog going up against the Cougars in Houston last weekend, the University of Memphis football Tigers had been steadily improving and the thought of a victory wasn't beyond the realm of reality.
The Tigers clearly believed that, holding a 15-10 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the "Big Blue Nation,"the Cougars rallied handing the Tigers (1-4) a 25-15 setback, their fourth loss this season.
For Memphis, it was the second time in as many games in conference competition that the Tigers had the lead late in the game and couldn't come away with a win. After a chaotic finish, Memphis stumbled the week before against UCF after edging ahead early in the fourth quarter.
"It was a hard-fought battle."
"It didn't turn out the way we wanted to."
"That was a tough football game against a really good program."
"We came up a little bit short but I was awfully proud of the way our kids continued to fight and battle and play for each other."
After making it to the Western Conference Finals – a punctuation mark on the franchise's best season ever – the Memphis Grizzlies are back in training camp with their starting five.
They have a new head coach, Dave Joerger, who served as defensive coordinator under former head coach Lionel Hollins.
They've brought back sharpshooter Mike Miller, who earned championship experience with the Miami Heat after an earlier stint with the Grizz.
They've acquired a new down-low force in Kosto Koufos, beefing up the frontcourt and providing much-needed back up to All-Star center Marc Gasol.