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Landon: Get over yourself, Memphis

Sep. 29, 2009 @ 12:00 AM

There's one in every family.

Maybe it's an obnoxious older brother. Or, perhaps, an over-bearing uncle.

But there always seems to be someone who condescendingly thinks he's better than the rest.

Which leads us to Memphis.

The Tigers are that brother, that uncle in Conference USA.

Memphis believes it is superior to the other 11 members. The Tigers consider themselves a BCS-quality program trapped in a non-BCS league.

That's why Memphis has hired retired Big East Conference commissioner Mike Tranghese as a consultant. He is being paid $5,000 per month on a six-month contract to help the Tigers get into one of the six BCS conferences.

Their chutzpah is stupefying considering the circumstances.

Memphis football has a 1-3 record and is one of the very worst programs in Conference USA. The Tigers were abandoned by the most recognizable figure in C-USA -- basketball coach John Calipari. And Memphis is dealing with an NCAA scandal involving its revered basketball program.

And now -- of all times -- Memphis has the audacity to believe a BCS league would be interested in serving as a porter for all their baggage?

It would be laughable, if it weren't so outrageous.

But that's how it always is with those obnoxious older brothers and over-bearing uncles. They never see their own faults, only the short-comings of their other relatives.

And so it is with Memphis.

Poor eaten-up-with-envy Memphis, which can't see the forest for all the trees while wearing those green, jealousy-tinted glasses.

I started to suggest some Blue-blockers, but that would be mean since the Tigers' condescending attitude isn't entirely their fault.

The real culprit is the BCS scenario.

Just ask Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick.

"That's what the BCS is doing," he said. "It's forcing the have-nots to make a decision to either do everything possible to be with the haves or stay with the have-nots.

"That's what the BCS has done to Conference USA. That's why when I was in the Mountain West we were so public and so adamant about trying to position ourselves as a conference. We didn't go as individual schools, we positioned ourselves as a conference.

"I would like to see Conference USA try to position ourselves as a conference to go, but obviously some schools feel they need to do that individually."

Most notably, Memphis.

"To be honest," said Hamrick, "Memphis is doing publicly what I think everyone else would like to do -- get to a BCS conference.

"What you're seeing happening is the affect the BCS is having on non-BCS schools. Everybody is kind of going their own way, trying to position themselves to get into a BCS conference.

"At least, Memphis has been public about it. Quite honestly, I hold no grudge against them for trying to do it."

Not everyone in Conference USA is as magnanimous as Hamrick. Memphis' attitude and actions reportedly have rubbed several people in the league the wrong way.

The problem is Memphis' athletics, fans and media never have gotten over being snubbed by the Big East. They still feel jilted because the Big East's raid of C-USA took Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida, but didn't include them.

The Tigers are still sulking.

Which leads to the advice every family inevitably gives that obnoxious older brother or over-bearing uncle.

Get over yourself, Memphis.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827. E-mail him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.



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