Memphis. It’s different.
Having lived in New Orleans in a former life, I know what it’s like to be part of a community that feels separate from the state in which it is located. New Orleanians are New Orleanians first, and residents of Louisiana second (or perhaps last). I’ve always had a feeling that Memphis is no different.
Having been raised in the corner of the Volunteer state farthest from Memphis, the River City felt less like a part of my state than Asheville, NC. Thus, the “Three Great States of Tennessee” moniker always united us, yet divided us, too.
When people question me if the Memphis-Tennessee rivalry is like Michigan-Michigan State, Indiana-Purdue, or Iowa-Iowa State, I usually give them a quizzical look, while wondering from where such an idea came. Memphis and UT within the realm of football do not bring up the word rivalry. Occasional, sometimes frequent opponents is more like it. An in-state rivalry doesn’t describe it for me, or perhaps to you also if you hail from the Tri Cities, or Knoxville, or Chattanooga.
If you’re a Vol, living in or from the Memphis area, I can imagine Saturday’s matchup has some visceral meaning. Otherwise, it’s just another matchup within the ‘rather dull’ category.
Apologies to Shelby Foote, Booker T. Jones, Ike Turner, and the many good Memphians with whom I went to school. But, I really don’t give a wit about Tennessee vs. Memphis…
… as long as we win.
Oh, and I forgot Johnny Ace…