The city's name means established and beautiful. Spend a proper college football weekend here, however, and you may leave disheveled and a little grimy. Memphis, Tennessee, ranks 29 in our Top 100 College Football Towns in America.
To celebrate 100 days until the start of the college football season, HERO Sports is counting down the Top 100 FBS College Football Towns in America. Each day, through Aug. 24, a new city will be revealed. We will analyze the city, the program, the good and bad of the city as well as the bottom line. If you got a problem, @me on Twitter.
29. Memphis, Tennessee – Memphis
Memphis lost two-year starting quarterback Riley Ferguson and All-American Anthony Miller, but expectations are still high for the Tigers as the Mike Norvell era heads into year three. (Photo: University of Memphis Athletics)[/credit]
Memphis football has been around since 1912, but it wasn't until 2014 that the Tigers finished the year ranked. Then-coach Justin Fuente promptly left after 10-and nine-win seasons and Mike Norvell was tasked with keeping the team moving in the right direction. Norvell has kept up his end of the bargain.
Last year the Tigers went 10-3 and came the closest to blemishing UCF's perfect record. 2018 will be more challenging. Gone is two-year starting quarterback Riley Ferguson, and his 70 touchdowns. All-American wide receiver Anthony Miller is now a Chicago Bear. Despite those two losses, the Tigers are expected to compete for not only a West Division title, but an American Conference championship as well.
Bordered by the Mississippi River and Arkansas to the west and Mississippi to the south, Memphis continues to be the epicenter of blues and barbecue. Sun Records and Stax called Memphis home. Walk down Beale Street and drink in the cocktail of America's soundtrack. The NBA lives here. FedEx headquarters are in Memphis. Elvis Presley built Graceland here. Paul Simon wrote a song about Presley building Graceland here. It's literally impossible not to enjoy your time in Memphis.
While it may not be defined by a picturesque skyline and beachfront properties, the city's grittiness is as much a part of America's identity as anywhere else. Memphis truly represents the country's backbone.
To go down the list of singers and musicians who either were born, raised or taught in Memphis is to venture into a who's who of the world's top artists. Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Shawn Lane, Al Green, Rance Allen, Percy Sledge, Solomon Burke, William Bell, Sam & Dave and B.B. King, got their start in Memphis in the 1950s and 1960s. Did you get all that?
Performers like Justin Timberlake and Three 6 Mafia carried that tradition into the 21st century. Over 1,000 songs mention Memphis.
Having said that, nothing tops this:
Yeah, I said it.
To many, it was considered the "Eighth Wonder of the World." To others, it was "The House that Penny Built." No matter your disposition, The Great American Pyramid or simply The Pyramid, was as much a part of Memphis as any other iconic Memphis things. The Tigers and Grizzlies called The Pyramid home. Along with various concerts and special events. Lennox Lewis fought Mike Tyson at The Pyramid in 2002.
In 2018, it is a Bass Pro Shop.
Memphis football has established itself as one of the premier programs in the Group of Five. Places like A&R Bar-B-Que and the Cozy Corner will leave your belly full. While watering holes like DKDC will end your night right. You could do much worse.