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Memphis Tigers football 2021 schedule breakdown: Where does the difficulty lie?

Memphis Tigers football 2021 schedule breakdown: Where Does the Difficulty Lie?

We are only three weeks away from the Memphis Tigers kicking off another football season at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The Tigers open the season on Labor Day weekend at home versus the Nichols State Colonels. They follow that up with a rematch on the road versus Arkansas State.

After the first two games against Nichols and Arkansas State, the Tigers will be heading into a tougher phase of their 2021 season schedule. Today, we will analyze five games that can be deemed difficult matchups for the Memphis Tigers this season.

1. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Location: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium

Date: September 18, 2021

Tiger fans have always wanted the program to face stiffer competition. They will get that on September 18 when they face the Mississippi State Bull Dogs. The COVID-19 pandemic, combined with players opting out, was a primary reason why no one could genuinely witness Mike Leach’s air raid offense take fold in Starkville.

If the Tigers start on the wrong foot in this contest, the Bulldogs will run away with this one fast. Last season in the opener versus LSU, the Bulldogs stole the show by setting an SEC record 623 passing yard performance. Imagine what Leach would do to the Tigers if he is allowed to have his way this football game?

2. Tulsa Golden Hurricanes

Location: Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium

Date: October 9, 2021

The Tulsa Hurricanes shocked the entire AAC after finishing the 2020 season with a 6-3 record. The Hurricanes’ 6-3 record allowed them to become runner-up in the conference as well. Tulsa’s most significant accomplishment last season was when they went on the road and took down conference heavyweight the UCF Knights.

Going into 2021, Tulsa brings back a supporting cast that will only get better regarding offensive production. While they no longer have linebacker Zaven Collins, Tulsa’s defense will still be a formidable unit for the Tigers to contain. The game against Tulsa is a matchup of intrigue between two programs that bring back many impact players.

3. UCF Knights

Location: Bounce House

Date: October 22, 2021

One of the biggest positives of the 2020 season for Memphis was defeating longtime conference rival the UCF Knights. The Tigers won by 50-49 in a back and forth affair that lasted until the final whistle. The victory over UCF was the Tigers’ first ever since September 22, 1990.

The series now shifts back to the Bounce House, and the Knights will be looking to avenge last year’s one-point loss. A familiar face in Dillon Gabriel returns to the starting quarterback position for the Knights. The Memphis/UCF game-winner could be in the driver’s seat for the AAC title.

4. Houston Cougars

Location: TDECU Stadium

Date: November 19, 2021

The Houston Cougars are primed to have their best season ever under the watch of third-year Head Coach Dana Holgorsen. Holgorsen came over from West Virginia after the 2018 season concluded. He was the head coach of the Mountaineers for eight seasons.

The program does not have to face perennial contenders UCF or Cincinnati in 2021. If the Cougars can take advantage of their soft schedule initially, the matchup versus the Tigers could have AAC title implications.

Highly touted quarterback Clayton Tune returns to the team and hopes to have a season without interruptions finally. Tune’s name is right up there with Memphis QB Grant Gunnell, and UCF signal-caller Dillon Gabriel recognized as the AAC’s best under center. 

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Photo courtesy of the University of Memphis Athletics.

Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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