With the playoff expanding to 12 teams next season, Memphis is poised to seize the opportunity, as the best Group of Five team secures an automatic bid. Several factors contribute to the optimism surrounding Memphis. These factors make them my favorite from the Group of Five to make history by earning that coveted playoff spot.
Memphis’ Key Returning Players
Notably, Memphis has an impressive lineup of key returning players. Setting the stage for a potentially great team in the upcoming season. Furthermore, Quarterback Seth Henigan, wide receivers Roc Taylor, Dameer Blankumsee, and Kobe Drake, along with linebacker Chandler Martin, all return after a season that saw the Tigers achieve 10 wins. As a result, their experience and continuity on the field provide a solid foundation for success.
Star Addition: Mario Anderson
Adding to the strength of the roster is the acquisition of star running back Mario Anderson from South Carolina. Anderson brings a dynamic and explosive element to the Tigers’ offense. He should complement the existing talent and add depth to their run game. Moreover, his presence is expected to be a game-changer for Memphis as they aim to replace the production of star running back Blake Watson.
Defensive Coordinator Change
Recognizing the need for improvement on the defensive front, Memphis made a needed change. A few weeks ago, they promoted linebackers coach Jordon Hankins to the defensive coordinator position. The Tigers, who struggled defensively last season, are actively addressing this problem to ensure a more well-rounded and competitive team. Therefore, the coaching adjustment signals a commitment to shoring up their defensive issues.
Expanding Playoff Format
The expansion of the College Football Playoff to 12 teams creates a significant opportunity for teams outside the traditional Power Five conferences. In fact, the best Group of Five team earns an automatic bid to the playoff. Memphis finds itself in a position to become the first GO5 program to secure a spot in the expanded format.
In the Group of Five, Memphis emerges as the front-runner with favorable circumstances working in their favor. As a matter of fact, SMU is transitioning to a Power Five conference, Tulane is undergoing a coaching change, UTSA has faced significant losses, and both Liberty and James Madison have experienced key departures. Overall, this creates a favorable opportunity for Memphis to assert itself as the top contender for the Group of Five playoff spot.