MEMPHIS – While we got a little taste of college football this past weekend, the true kickoff to the 2023 season begins this week.

For the Tigers and the Vols.  The Rebels, Hogs and Bulldogs.  All kicking off their seasons on Saturday.

Yes, it is finally game week.

For memphis, that means a game against Bethune-Cookman.  Maybe not as big and exciting as last year’s opener at Mississippi State but for the Tigers, who have been waiting on this game since the spring, it doesn’t matter if it’s the Bullies or these Wildcats.

It is just time to take the field and hit… someone else.

“We put a lot of hard work, our student athletes have to get to this weekend and we couldn’t be more excited. Obviously, the preparation continues all week, but the guys have had the right mindset, the right approach. We know that this Saturday’s the beginning of something special,” said Tigers coach Ryan Silverfield.  “Our guys have been working tirelessly since January. I think, like a lot of guys, they are ready to get out there and see what we’re capable of. But it’s been a fun offseason. It’s been a challenging offseason, but very proud of the guys and their mindset, their approach. All this leading up to Saturday.”

Too bad it’s another season that kicks off with the Tigers, on the wrong side of realignment…again.

The Big XII passed again.

Now even the ACC seems to be overlooking the U of M, closing in on a potential bid for SMU among others.

That’s why University President Bill Hardgrave and Athletic Director Laird Veatch seem to have gone on the offensive Monday, especially when it comes to the proposed and much needed renovations of Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.  That stadium, the anchor around the neck of Memphis when it comes to any realignment hopes. 

The city received 350-million dollars from the state but still hasn’t announced how those funds will be allocated between the stadium formerly known as the Liberty Bowl and FedExForum.

“Ultimately, the best thing we can do is keep showing up, keep winning and keep investing. Which is why it is so critically important that the state, the city moves forward with the process to allocate the state funds to allow us to invest in the transformational renovation of our stadium,” Veatch said. “I would not sit here and say a specific number is critical, although I would say as much as possible is critical.”

“We are a well-kept secret and we should not be a well-kept secret. We have incredible things going on here academically, athletically, from the diversity of our student body to the quality of our student body,” Hardgrave said.  “I think that’s the thing that when we break through, we have to tell people our story.”