Schedule and Odds
The AAC is still a young Conference and that can be seen in Memphis being the projected winner once again. The Tigers aren’t a bad team, but they don’t have the talent to be a Top 25 team and neither does anyone else in the conference. To make things possibly easier for Memphis this year, the Conference was split into two divisions with Navy joining. While Memphis still has to play Cincinnati from the East, their division is a bit weaker. The Tigers over/under is set at 8.5 wins as seen at 5 Dimes.
Memphis loses most of its defense, which means the offense will have to build on last year’s success with Paxton Lynch returning at quarterback for the third season. Lynch’s mobility was key in 2014 as the team scored 36.2 points per Game and 35 total touchdowns (13 rushing). Doroland Dorceus is expected to be the starting running back as long as he’s healthy after he injured his knee last season. He’ll be helped by 250-pound bruiser Jarvis Cooper.
Their top receiver is gone, but that shouldn’t affect things too much as Mose Frazier (47 receptions) returns along with Anthony Miller, who missed all of last year due to a knee injury. He got the starting spot in spring practices. Memphis also has a number of younger guys that can help out along the way. The Memphis offensive line isn’t one of the best, but they get the job done and have three starters returning which should be enough to not see a drop-off.
The Tigers allowed only 19.5 points per Game in 2014, but take that with a grain of salt as the AAC isn’t chock full of good offenses. They allowed 40-plus points to UCLA and BYU. With only three returning starters, expect this group to fall back to earth this season.
It doesn’t help that Memphis also lost its defensive coordinator to Missouri, but they hired from within in former linebackers coach Galen SCott, who already has previous experience as the team’s DC. There’s going to be a lot of new faces, but with a favorable Schedule, that shouldn’t matter all that much. Linebacker is filled with first-year starters, but outside LB Jackson Dillon is expected to lead the unit and be one of the best in the conference. Ernest Suttles will anchor the line and Reggie Ball the same in the secondary, but surrounding those guys is a lot of inexperience. Fortunately, this unit doesn’t really play a great offense all season so inexperience may not be a huge problem.
Without UCLA on the Schedule, Memphis has an easier route and there’s no reason they can’t reach 10 wins again. Sure, the Tigers still have to play Ole Miss, but getting Missouri State, Kansas and Bowling Green in their other three non-Conference Games is a plus. Hosting Cincinnati is another plus, although the Bearcats will be looking for revenge after Memphis won 41-14 on the road last year. Memphis gets back-to-back road Games at Houston and Temple toward the end of the year and that could be their toughest stretch.
Still, most of the early money has been on the under on total wins for Memphis, but with one of the better offenses in the AAC and a weaker Schedule, they could easily reach nine. It would just require the Tigers to win one of those late-season road Games.
2015 Memphis Football Schedule
Sept. 5 vs. Missouri State
Sept. 12 at Kansas
Sept. 19 at Bowling Green
Sept. 24 vs. Cincinnati
Oct. 2 at South Florida
Oct. 17 vs. Ole Miss
Oct. 23 at Tulsa
Oct. 31 vs. Tulane
Nov. 7 vs. Navy
Nov. 14 at Houston
Nov. 21 at Temple
Nov. 28 vs. SMU