Memphis snuck into the top 25 of the first College Football Playoff rankings yesterday in the No. 24 slot. Despite sitting six spots behind UCF, a squad it lost to back in September, the Tigers are nowhere near out of the New Year's 6 bowl game hunt.
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Memphis and head coach Mike Norvell are in more control of their destiny than it might appear at first despite the 40-13 blowout to the Knights back in September.
Here's how the Tigers could find themselves playing in a New Year's 6 matchup in a few months.
Take Care of Business
The schedule is favorable for the Tigers to run the table until The American championship game in December.
After traveling this weekend to West division cellar-dweller Tulsa, the Tigers play their final two games at home. The tough one will be November 18 against SMU (currently 6-2) before closing out the season against an East Carolina squad that only has two wins.
If both Memphis and UCF run the table, the Knights would host the championship game on December 2 with the winner primed to nab a New Year's 6 slot.
With no other Group of 5 squad currently ranked in the top 25, the Tigers could get revenge on UCF and punch its ticket to a major bowl game.
Hope for a Bit of Help
Although UCF currently controls its own destiny as well, they have a pair of tough games on the schedule that could bode well for Memphis.
The Knights must travel to Dallas this weekend to take on SMU. The huge challenge could come in a season finale against rival South Florida – a squad that was undefeated until a shocking home loss last weekend to Houston.
If UCF slips up, it opens the door even more for a Memphis New Year's 6 party.
The Bottom Line
Memphis fans have plenty of reason to feel hopeful right now. Win out and the Tigers will find themselves in its first New Year's 6 bowl game in program history.