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What If Series: Big XII Expansion Added Memphis

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It's time again to see how the Tigers would have played last season against a different schedule in a different conference. Expansion time is again upon us!

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Last week I previewed how the simulators predicted Memphis would do in the SEC.  For those that have not checked it out I have linked the article here.

Here we are again with yet another Memphis article.  But what more is there to write outside of the SEC?  The Tigers are neck deep in SEC country.  Tigernation hates the SEC.  Could there be anything more fun than seeing how the Tigers would do in the SEC?  Other than reality of course?

The Big XII

The reason for bringing the Big XII in to the ever changing P5 expansion atmosphere.  The rumor world is so interesting to Tiger fans that they have a megathread dedicated to the rumor mill.  Nothing is saying this could/would ever happen, but we as a society abide by a "what if" mantra in plenty of situations throughout our daily life.  I mean, who among us hasn't had the "what if I won the lottery" conversation with ourselves?  So what that said, what if the Big XII had expanded last year and added Memphis?

The rules (modified):

1.      Memphis will play the 2011 Missouri Tigers schedule, but with 2014 rosters.  Reasoning?  Since Missouri was the closest team to Memphis that exited the Big XII in 2011.

2.      All sims were conducted using What if Sports' Sim-Matchup.

3.      You can only use the first sim as the official sim, no matter how silly it may seem.

If Memphis had Missouri's 2011 schedule against 2014 rosters

1 2 3 4 Final
2014 Miami Redhawks 7 0 2 7 16
2014 Memphis Tigers 7 6 0 10 23

The 2014 Redhawks went 2-10 so this was an expected start.

1 2 3 4 Final
2014 Memphis Tigers 7 0 0 14 21
2014 Arizona State Sundevils 10 0 7 9 26

The Tigers had a chance in this one but 2 interceptions proved costly.

FCS Autowin:  Western Illinois takes a trip to Beale Street to enjoy the blues, some fantastic ribs, and collect a check for a pounding.  The Tigers win this final tune up before conference season begins.

1 2 3 4 Final
2014 Memphis Tigers 7 7 3 7 24
2014 Oklahoma Sooners 0 3 7 21 31

The Tigers at one point led 17-3.  However, the sweetest comeback (since the Twinkie of course) in the 4th brings victory for the home team.  Oklahoma breaks Memphis' heart with a 4 yard touchdown run and only 4 ticks on the clock.  I have full confidence that, had Oklahoma not scored, Stoops would have missed calling a TO and the Tigers would have won in OT.

1 2 3 4 Final
2014 Memphis Tigers 0 7 0 3 10
2014 Kansas State Wildcats 17 3 7 14 41

Maybe the Tigers should have stayed in the SEC?  Clearly the more easy of the competition.

1 2 3 4 Final
2014 Iowa State Cyclones 3 0 7 7 17
2014 Memphis Tigers 10 7 7 0 24

Yep, clearly the better conference.  At least the bad Big XII schools put up a fight in losses.

1 2 3 4 Final
2014 Oklahoma State Cowboys 3 7 3 7 20
2014 Memphis Tigers 7 3 3 10 23

*In the 8th game of the year the Tigers would have been slated to play Texas A&M.  Since the Aggies jumped to the SEC I decided we should replace this conference game with the team that replaced the Aggies.

1 2 3 4 Final
2014 Memphis Tigers 14 0 0 7 21
2014 TCU Horned Frogs 14 21 0 23 58

Coach Justin Fuente's return to the place where he really cut his coaching teeth was anything but pleasant.  The Toads proved to be too much for the Tigers.

1 2 3 4 Final
2014 Memphis Tigers 10 3 7 0 20
2014 Baylor Bears 7 7 13 13 40

1 2 3 4 Final
2014 Texas Longhorns 7 7 7 7 28
2014 Memphis Tigers 0 3 7 0 10

1 2 3 5 Final
2014 Texas Tech Red Raiders 0 14 3 14 31
2014 Memphis Tigers 7 13 7 10 37

The Texas portion of the Tigers schedule seemed pretty brutal.  The Tigers were outscored 157-88 over that stretch.  Yikes!

1 2 3 4 Final
2014 Kansas Jayhawks 3 3 0 7 13
2014 Memphis Tigers 10 6 7 12 35

Memphis fans still hurting from the Chalmers 3 and eventual Kansas defeat of Memphis in the 2008 Men's Basketball Championship....this doesn't make it feel any better.  But a win is a win and equals bowl eligibility.

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So when the dust settles the Tigers find themselves sitting at 6-6 (4-5).  Close results to the Tigers sim in the SEC.  In my What If article on Memphis in the SEC I concluded that the Tigers were clearly legit in 2014 (as if that were in question).  The Big XII sim leads me to think the same results.  The 2014 Tigers simply could have easily gone toe to toe in any conference and enjoyed bowl eligibility.