USF at Memphis
Game Date: Saturday, November 12
University Setting: Urban
Nearest Airport: Memphis International (MEM)
Alternate Airport(s): None/Get in your car and drive
Usefulness of a Rental Car (1 meaning you don’t want one, 10 meaning you need one): 8
Stadium Name: Liberty Bowl
My Road Game Rank (1 is the best road game to attend and 5 is the least desirable): 1
Writer’s Note: I am writing this on 11/9/16. I have no idea if it will even run because I am so late. My apologies to anyone who might have wanted to read this a couple weeks ago. After the election, does anyone even know if Collin is still alive? (Yes, we're all still here. We just needed a day off to refocus.)
Getting to the Game
Let’s start with the flights. I hope you already have flights, since this is so late. If not, either redeem some frequent flyer miles or make a spontaneous road trip. This should be a great game in a great city.
This game you will want a rental car. The stadium isn’t in downtown. Things are spread out, mass transit is lacking and rental cars in Memphis are pretty cheap.
There are three areas that I tend to gravitate towards in Memphis. Downtown if you want to hit up Beale Street and be able to walk back to your hotel. By the airport if you have an early flight out of town and want to get as much sleep as possible. The third option is the casino resorts down in Tunica (I’m staying at the Gold Strike).
My Take on the City
I really like Memphis. There is lot of decay on the infrastructure, but once you overlook that you get a city that comes close to rivaling New Orleans for fun and food. I love that downtown has venues like the arena and baseball stadium (minor league AAA) right by Beale Street, so you can walk out after a game and hit a great (but small) bar and nightlife district. You may also want to check out the Gibson Guitar factory and the National Civil Rights Museum on the site of the Lorraine Motel (where MLK was assassinated).
Now we need to talk about something really important, BBQ. Memphis is famous for its BBQ. While there must be 100 places you can visit and not go wrong, I am going to highlight my 3 that are the most famous and do not disappoint. Let me start with the place I would pick if I was only eating one meal in Memphis. Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous is famous for their dry ribs. The ribs are not actually dry, but they are served and meant to be eaten without sauce. The ribs are rubbed with seasoning and based during cooking to keep the meat juicy. Yes they do have sauce on the table, but eat at least one without it. You can also call ahead (at least 24 hours) and order the 5 pound kettle of BBQ shrimp.
To contrast the dry ribs at Rendezvous then head to Corky’s for their famous web ribs. I also try to work in a visit to Jim Neely’s Interstate BBQ. They invented BBQ spaghetti, but I love their BBQ pork sandwiches. They are also priced very reasonably.
(Seriously, how did you forget Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken? C'mon Mike!)
Getting Out of the City
There aren’t a lot of places to go from Memphis, except Tunica about 40 miles to the south. Tunica is home to many casino resorts offering plenty of ways for a Bulls fan to win big. I am partial to the Gold Strike or Horseshoe, but each property has their own charm. There is no strip, so casinos are spread out.
Road Game Rank
I rank all the road games in my subjective opinion based on the following factors: desirableness of the destination, USF history and significance of the opponent/game.
Here is my rankings (1 being the best road trip and 5 being the least desirable trip):
4. Cincinnati (tie)
4. Syracuse (tie)
This is the top dog. Combine Beale Street, BBQ, Tunica casinos and a good game. If you don’t have plane tickets you should probably start driving right now.