University of Memphis

 

Tulane Green Wave vs Memphis Tigers, 10/27/2017, 7pm

Final Score: Memphis 56 – Tulane 26; Attendance: 17,989

Weather:  Cold and damp 42; Ticket: Free (Face $20); Parking: $0 (Took Uber)

Review: “Come for the stadium, stay for the football” by Tree

The Site:

The Memphis Tigers play in the Liberty Bowl which has a great architectural design. The lines of the stadium are curved and it feels very much you are in stadium from the 1960’s. The only problem with the Liberty Bowl is that it might be a tad too big for the Tigers. Even with most of one end zone tarped off, it still felt very empty. There are two video boards but one didn’t show highlights so it was pretty much useless. The seats were standard bleacher benches, but seat backs were available for rental. The concessions were local and beer was served. However, it was butt cold so the most popular item was hot cocoa. They, unbelievably, had no souvenir cup. The rest rooms were nice and toasty warm, which offered a comforting respite from the cold wet chill outside.

I attended with other somanystadium member, Momo. He actually had a connection with the Tulane coaching staff so he was able to get us free tickets for the game. They were in the corner of the end zone with a $20 face value. We had a good view and given the size of the stadium, I would say any seat would be a decent one. It rained fairly hard right up until kickoff so Momo and I opted to stay inside the bar for our pregame festivities. Accordingly, I can’t really comment on the tailgating at the Liberty Bowl. I saw a few tents coming in, but not too many. I really didn’t recall any specific cheers or other motions made by the Memphis fans during the game. I will say that the band was pretty good.

 

The Logistics:

The University of Memphis campus is not central city, but rather about halfway between the airport and Beale street. In other words, it is in no man’s land. We stayed near the airport which made for a relatively cheap room, but not a particularly convenient one. We checked out Beale Street prior to the game and it was pretty quiet, but the pouring rain probably had something to do with that. We then took a harrowing Uber ride from Beale Street to the Liberty Bowl. At one point, I thought we were going to buy it as our driver Fayed nearly flipped us over the median. Momo gently reminded our driver that we were in no hurry to get to the game. Fayed, however, was highly motivated to get to the garage to pick up his van before it closed for the weekend. It was not exactly the kind of noble quest that either Momo and I were willing to give our lives for. Fortunately the rain began to lighten up and we made it safely to the Liberty Bowl.

The Game:

Memphis came into the game ranked at 25 and they were smoking hot. Tulane had a losing record but had been playing well as of late and I was hoping they could give the Tigers a game. Memphis scored early and often getting out to 35 – 0 lead only three and half minutes into the second quarter. It looked grim indeed for Tulane. However, the Green Wave responded with a long touchdown drive, but missed the extra point. The Tulane defense than showed some life with an interception by Jarrod Franklin. I had tailgated with Jarrod’s parents the previous year when I visited Tulane. (It is a small world for somanystadiums.com.) The Green Wave capitalized on the turnover and scored a touchdown on the last play of the first half. They were unsuccessful in going for two, but at least they had shown some life.

Perhaps Memphis took a nap at halftime or perhaps it was some timely defensive adjustments by Tulane, but the Green Wave scored again and now it was 35 – 19 as the game went into the 4th quarter. Momentum was starting to swing toward Tulane and on a 2nd down scramble the Tulane QB just missed a wide open streaking receiver up the seam. Perhaps that woke up Memphis back up, because the defense responded with a scoop and score to pretty much seal up the game. Tulane responded with another touchdown but then Memphis scored two more to close them out.

Personal Notes:

After the game, we headed back to Beale Street in hopes that it had picked up. It had improved but we both thought it was pretty quite for a Friday night. We spent most of our times in a blues bar just chilling out. I would say I was only slightly impressed with the experience.

What I was impressed with was the ability of some the young Tulane fans to wear mini-skirts and no jackets in the low 40’s. Momo and I were bundled up in coats, hats and gloves and still had to make trips to the rest rooms to warm up. Perhaps it was the Bud Light that was keeping them warm, but whatever it was, it was some feat. Or, maybe Momo and I are just getting old.

In the end, I would say that Memphis isn’t a must see, but I wouldn’t pass on going to see a game there either. The Liberty Bowl is a very likable stadium and the Tigers have been very competitive in recent years. Those are two big positives. I can’t say if the tailgating is good or bad and there didn’t seem to be a lot of traditions present at the game. The biggest disappointment for me was Beale Street. I had much higher expectations and it felt more like a tourist trap than anything else. I thought it might be the highlight of the trip but it was pretty tame. Go to Memphis to check out a classic stadium and some very good football (at least right now). If you have a good time on Beale Street afterwards consider it a bonus.

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