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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fans Sound Off on C-USA

University of Memphis fans sound off on C-USA

March 11, 2007

While the Big East Conference might be good for Tiger basketball the geographic makeup would be a disaster for those of us who want Memphis football to reach the next level. If the elitists that are the BCS would create a level playing field I think C-USA would thrive. C-USA members represent some of the finest universities in the nation and if given the opportunity would suddenly be on a equal footing with the so-called power conferences.

John Jacobs

Let's be honest, folks. It is all about John Calipari. A wise man once told me "A problem is not a problem until it's a problem, then it's a problem." The fact that Cal is here has made all the difference. He has recruited better players in recent years than at anytime in the old league. We have been highly ranked for two consecutive years. (Translation -- Not a problem.) As long as he stays, Conference USA will be just fine for the Tigers.

The Big East would have been great. That is indisputable. But, C-USA is a true basketball and football conference unlike the Big East. The only change Memphis needs to make is play a tougher out of conference schedule. Granted, that is easier said than done but as long as Cal stays, it should be doable. For now, most Tiger fans are happy to be winning the conference, ranked No. 5 in the country, on ESPN almost every game, and headed to the NCAA tournament with a No. 2 seed.

Plus, look at Cincinnati sitting at the bottom of the Big East this year, after years of dominance in C-USA. We need to be careful what we wish for ... all the while waiting patiently for a Tulsa, or a Southern, or a Houston to get better. It is bound to happen eventually, and if it doesn't, who can complain about winning 30 games a year?

Coach Cal's presence at Memphis has transcended the conference weakness. The Tigers should continue to remain at or near the top of C-USA, as long as he stays. If he leaves, then we have a problem.

Robert Preston

While I do think that Memphis would benefit greatly from moving to a power conference such as the Big East, SEC, Big 12, etc., I do not think that it is time to give up on Conference USA. In football, it is a very competitive league week in and week out. It is not close to the level of other football conferences, but it has some solid teams.

In baseball, it is one of the best conferences with powerhouses such as Rice, Houston and Tulane, and good programs like Southern Miss, East Carolina, and now Memphis. Basketball is the sport where the conference is at its weakest, but with a top national program like Memphis leading the way, other teams will catch up. Let's remember that this is only the second year with the new schools and it may take a couple more years to get to be a respectable conference across the board.

Robert Donaldson
Cordova, TN

I am a huge Memphis fan ever since I was a kid, I am a student at the UofM and I think we need to be in another conference. Hats off to all the Memphis fans who support the Tigers by going to the games because I think our crowds are pretty good considering we are in one of the worst conferences. We have great fans that travel to every road game and we have a lot to offer. I ask kids coming out of high school where they want to go to school and they throw out names like Tennessee, Ole Miss, Arkansas, and I ask them why and all they say is because they are in the SEC.

Chad Finley

I am very happy with the Tigers' accomplishments this season; however, I must admit that there was much more excitement when Louisville and Cincinnati were in the conference. Now all the excitement is gone and we don't really have a rival team. I have lost the interest and enthusiasm of the past years. Now I really don't attend the tournament or watch it on TV.

Perhaps, a new conference is needed!

Barbara Willett

Geoff Calkins does Memphis and the University of Memphis no good at all when he ridicules C-USA as he does. Let's get Memphis behind this conference! After all, it is the one we are in. And it is the one that the university can compete in across the board. Let's face facts: Basketball is the only sport in which we totally excel in the conference. In all the other sports we are a competitor (some stronger than others). Certainly we know the football program would be bottom rung against the Big East or the SEC. Women's basketball is a weak Division 2 program. Let's come face to face with reality here. Unless the state of Tennessee would make major financial changes to the athletic department of the UofM, we are right where we belong. And, let's enjoy it! Stop the whining! Why would anyone want to be a Vanderbilt in the SEC?

Don Rodgers
Cordova, TN

I think a new conference is desperately needed if Memphis wants to gain the respect it really needs. I see in some of the other conferences where competition is heavy and four to eight losses still earn them a good ranking and respect. Although it is nice for Memphis to rack up all the easy wins, we stand to lose more with a loss or two in Conference USA play vs. a more big-time conference. I think we need to pursue the big-time conferences to continue building a perennial program and give Coach Cal a bigger reason to stay.

Don Kennedy
Collierville, TN

Based upon our geographical location, there is no competitive conference near us but the SEC. Let's see, I must take my shoes off to count the number of times they have rejected us.

We must understand that with so many new teams being brought into this conference, there will be a transition period.

Not only does this conference have new teams, but these teams come with new coaches, who inherited a team that they did not recruit. I feel there will be major improvements within this conference as early as next season.

Ralph Bridgewater

Forget the Big East. Bring back the Metro! Louisville, Cincinnati, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Southern Miss, and for road trips, Tulane. Now THAT's a conference.

Gary Shelly

Way to go Geoff Calkins and The Commercial Appeal. There actually were fans visiting Memphis for the Conference USA Tournament, and you have insulted every one of them. What were you hoping to accomplish with your "fresh" insights? The fact is that the University of Memphis is a member of Conference USA. We hosted this tournament and would like to continue hosting it. A number of fine corporations have chosen to sponsor the C-USA Tournament. Geoff Calkins and The Commercial Appeal have chosen to go out of their way to insult and demean this event and our visitors.

Liz Miller
Collierville, TN

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