Memphis Football: Tigers should repeat atop AAC West in 2018

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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The Tigers lost their most important players from last year’s ten-win team, but they still return a ton of production. Could we see Memphis football win the AAC West for a second straight season?

Justin Fuente was more or less a miracle worker during his four-year tenure with the Tigers. He inherited a 2-10 team – in Conference USA, mind you – and went 7-17 in his first two seasons as the Tigers adjusted to the tougher American Athletic Conference, then went a remarkable 19-7 over the next two seasons. When Fuente departed for Virginia Tech and all-conference quarterback Paxton Lynch graduated, many pundits figured Memphis football would return to the dregs of the conference before too long.

Mike Norvell stepped in and promptly disproved that theory. With Norvell calling the shots and Tennessee transfer Riley Ferguson at quarterback, the Tigers went 8-5 in 2016 before breaking through and winning their first AAC West title in 2017.

Once again, Memphis seems to be flying under the radar this offseason following the losses of Ferguson and second-round draft pick Anthony Miller, a consensus All-American in 2017. Many are tabbing Houston as the early favorites in the AAC West, but with the amount of talent returning to the Liberty Bowl, you can bet that the Tigers will be in the mix once again.