Football stands in the way of Memphis-Tennessee rivalry being renewed

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On Wednesday, Andy Katz of ESPN.com discussed the non-conference schedule for the Memphis Tigers, one that should end up being one of the tougher schedules in the country.

They’ll play Big 12 contender Oklahoma, potential top 25 teams in Ohio State and Florida State, and will also lock horns with LSU, who could end up being one of the top three teams in the SEC next season. Perhaps most noteworthy is that the Tigers will be renewing their rivalry with Ole Miss for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Josh Pastner has not wanted to play local power conference opponents, as schools like Ole Miss and Arkansas — which is about an hour from Memphis — have made a point of targeting the talent in Memphis to recruit.

The name you don’t see on that list?

Tennessee.

And that’s something that new head coach Rick Barnes is trying to change.

“We would really like to be able to get Memphis back on the schedule,” Barnes told fans, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “A couple of my assistants have had conversations with (Memphis coach) Josh Pastner, who I have known for a long time. It’s something he’s actually said he would consider.”

The issue seems to be on the football side. Ole Miss agreed to a four-year series to play Memphis in football in a non-conference game, and as a result the Rebels get a chance to take on the Tigers in hoops. Tennessee hasn’t agreed to play a football series against in-state rival Memphis, and that’s why they aren’t yet on the hoops schedule.

“Unless my bosses say differently, that is my stance,” Pastner told the News Sentinel.