After a rollercoaster of a weekend, the Memphis Tigers are headed to the biggest bowl game in program history. With this being the third of three back to back to back appearances in the AAC title game, the 3rd time was the charm for the Tigers as they finally won the conference title.
The Tigers defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats 29-24 in the American Athletic Conference Championship. This, being the first championship the Tigers have seen in 50 years. Also, being the first championship at home in the Liberty Bowl. Also the first 11 win season for the Tigers. And the first 12 win season for the Tigers. And now, the Tigers face Penn State in the Cotton Bowl December 28th.
Despite all the happiness from such a successful season for the Tigers, despite the AAC title, despite beating the same team back to back, and despite the first-ever bid to a New Years Six Bowl, the Tigers are now faced with the challenge of hiring a new head coach. Sunday morning following the win, Coach Mike Norvell stepped down as the Tigers head coach and boarded a plane to Tallahassee in hopes to do exactly what he did in Memphis for the Seminoles of Florida State.
"One of the hardest meetings I've had in my life was this morning when I talked to those players and those coaches”, Novell said during his introductory press conference at FSU, “For all I poured into that city and that school, it poured just that much back into me”.
And the ups
Even though it seems as if losing Norvell is a low-blow to the city and the program, the Memphis Tigers football team still has a lot of weapons that could keep them relevant in the coming seasons. One of those including interim head Coach Ryan Silverfield. On Sunday afternoon after being announced as interim head coach of the tigers, he made a compelling case as to why he is the perfect fit as the Tigers next HC.
Silverfield stated Sunday that “it’s just been about loving where you’re at and being happy. I feel like this is the best job in the country, and I’ll always think that.” Since the exit of Coach Norvell, Sliverfield has stated that he has in contact with most of the 2020 commits and they said they are still on board.
Not only does Silverfield talk the talk, but he has support from someone very important: the team.
Even though there have been many ups and downs for the past weekend for the Memphis Tigers, one thing is for certain. The Tigers just had themselves the best season in program history. And there is nothing (not even losing Norvell) that can take away from the excitement and accomplishments that they have reached this season.