"Having had all spring and pre-season to prepare for Ole Miss, Memphis' performance was surprisingly lackluster."
All of us on the Flyer editorial staff have commented at one point or another this year that the "Flyer Flashbacks" often seem more like "Flyer Déjà Vu." The sentence above was written by former Flyer editor Dennis Freeland in 1999, following the U of M's 30-10 drubbing at the hands of Tommy Tuberville's Ole Miss squad in the season opener.
Here's more from Freeland: "Part of what annoys Tiger fans is the success they see at other programs. Besides the reconstruction job Tuberville has done at Ole Miss, there is Tulane. Last year, the Green Wave hired the other Bowden, Tommy, to replace Buddy Teevens. Tulane went 7-4 in Bowden's first year. They opened the 1998 season at Cincinnati last weekend, scoring 52 points against the Bearcats. ... If Tulane can score that many points against a conference opponent in only the second season under their new coach, why can't Memphis at least average more than one touchdown per game?"
Freeland went on to point out what eventually became the downfall of former Tiger coach Rip Scherer: his teams' total lack of offense. His successor, current coach Tommy West, has taken care of that problem; his teams have scored lots of points through the years. And to be fair, West has significantly upgraded the program, having taken the U of M to several bowl games.
But, as Freeland's 1999 column reveals, some frustrations remain eternal. The Tigers just can't turn the corner on Ole Miss. But since last Sunday's 41-14 pounding is apparently the last game in the series for a while, Flyer writers in 2019 will at least be spared the anguish of writing about losing to Ole Miss.
My stepdaughter, Agatha, has moved back from Brooklyn to live in our garage apartment until next summer. She's a law school grad and clerking for a federal judge in Memphis. I love her dearly, but she has one habit that has caused me stress. She takes in foster dogs ...