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Tigers release 2018 Football schedule

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Justin Ford/USATSI

The Memphis Tigers have released their schedule for the 2018 season and the first thing we noticed was no Thursday nights games!

Four games will be played on Friday and the rest will be Saturday games. There's 7 home games for the third straight season. This is the fifth-straight season Memphis opens and closes a campaign with home games.

Schedule highlights-

Sept. 1 vs. Mercer: The Tigers’ third FBS or FCS opponent from the state of Georgia; Memphis has played only Georgia and Georgia Tech from the Peach State

· Sept. 8 at Navy: Tigers’ earliest conference opener since joining The American in 2013; also earliest West Division game since league went to two divisions in 2015 (previous was Oct. 14 at Tulane in 2016; Oct. 14 vs. Navy in 2017)

· Sept. 14 vs. Georgia State: The first of only two Friday home match-ups in 2018 (Tigers only had two non-Saturday home games in 2017 also); first FBS visit by a team from Georgia since the Georgia Bulldogs played the Tigers in Memphis in 1984

· Sept. 22 vs. South Alabama: The fourth FBS program from the state of Alabama the Tigers will face in their history, leaving Troy as the only FBS team remaining Memphis has not played; Memphis has played Alabama, Auburn and UAB

· Sept. 28 at Tulane: Third-straight season the Tigers and Green Wave meet in a Friday night league clash; Memphis won the last two Friday encounters with Tulane

· Oct. 6 vs. Connecticut: The Huskies’ first trip to the Liberty Bowl since the 2014 regular-season finale, a game in which Memphis won a share of the American Athletic Conference crown with a 41-10 win

· Oct. 13 vs. UCF: Tigers welcome the defending American Athletic Conference champion to the Liberty Bowl for the Knights’ first visit since 2013 (inaugural season of The American)

· Oct. 20 at Missouri: Fourth time Memphis meets Missouri in program history, and the third time the two teams play each other as members of different leagues (1991: UofM/Metro vs. MU/Big 8 Conference; 1996, 1999: UofM/C-USA vs. MU/Big 12 Conference; 2018: UofM/The American vs. MU/SEC); Memphis faces former defensive coordinator Barry Odom, who enters his third season as Missouri’s head coach in 2018

· Oct. 27 (BYE)

· Nov. 3 at ECU: Tigers’ first trip to Greenville, N.C., since 2012, and Memphis’ first trip to ECU as an American Athletic Conference foe; when last played in Greenville in 2012, both were members of Conference USA

· Nov. 10 vs. Tulsa: Tigers look to become the first home team to win this match-up since 2014 (a 40-20 Memphis win at the Liberty Bowl; Memphis won the 2015 and 2017 games in Tulsa, and the Golden Hurricane won the last meeting in the Bluff City in 2016

· Nov. 16 at SMU: The 2017 Memphis-SMU game piled up 111 points and 1,141 of total offense; the 111 combined points was a Memphis school record for two weeks before the Tigers and UCF totaled a new school record 117 points in The American Championship game

· Nov. 23 vs. Houston: Fourth-straight season the Tigers host the regular-season finale at home and the sixth-consecutive season Memphis is playing a home Thanksgiving weekend contest; only the second home Friday game of the season (same number of non-Saturday home games as in 2017)

Final thoughts-

The season is set up nicely for the Tigers to make another run at the Western Division title. You get a tough test in week 2 at Navy for the conference opener but it's a winnable game.

The Tigers return 8 starters on defense and 7 on offense.

If the Tigers do get by Navy, they could be 6-0 when UCF comes to Memphis. They'll have Mizzou the following week and then the rest of the AAC conference games to end the season.

It's early but looking at the way this schedule lays out for the Tigers, it could be another conference championship contending year for Memphis.

The announcement for televised games will be in the summer.