Yesterday during the annual Rebel Road Trip's Memphis stop, Ross Bjork told the media that the Ole Miss Rebels and Memphis Tigers basketball teams will, as their football counterparts have done, renew their rivalry next season. Calling it a "December-type game," Bjork explained that Memphis will come to Oxford this winter, and the Rebs will make the return visit to the FedEx Forum in 2016.
A few years ago, I wouldn't have liked this move. Then, I did not want Ole Miss to bother playing Memphis in football again, instead looking out of conference to teams like Texas, Boise State, BYU (sorry to bring that up), and the other quality out of conference teams we've been playing as of late. If this meant dropping the Tigers in other sports as well, then so be it.
But now that Memphis is in the zombie Big East, they're technically now a BCS school. Playing them in football benefits Ole Miss more than it ever has when considering the new college football playoff format (don't laugh), and having a biennial trip to the Liberty Bowl is good for both recruiting and alumni relations in the Mid South. The same can easily be said for trips to the FedEx Forum, particularly since SEC basketball will be getting increased exposure with the new SEC Network.
In addition, Memphis has always seemed like an Ole Miss town to me - what's more "Ole Miss" than the occasional quickly-forgotten night on Beale Street? - so it makes sense for the Rebels to play there particularly if they can against a better-than-CUSA team.
As has been rumored in the past, our once-annual date against Memphis in basketball was tied to our football scheduling. We wanted the win in football, they wanted the win in basketball, and we both usually got what we wanted out of it. If this is the case, then it only makes sense that we'd renew our roundball rivalry against Memphis. While we do now have the misfortune of inviting their Deangelo Williams jersey-clad fans to Oxford eery other year, this new arrangement is, on the aggregate, a pretty good one.
In Other News:
- Ole Miss basketball signs Rod Lawrence out of South Plains Junior College. We'll opine on this once we have an opinion.
- Paul Mainieri wants his arms fresh for Ole Miss, LIKE IT'S GONNA MATTER AMIRITE?!
- The 12 Labors of Johnny Manziel, including a hydra with a Bo Wallace head.