College football is usually good for one feel good story per season and the 2017 season is no different.
When the UAB football program was forced to shut its doors on Dec. 2, 2014, many outside of the Birmingham area and the UAB fan and alumni base thought that would truly be the end. Even as details came out and the fight raged on, many thought the UA System Board of Trustees would be just too powerful of a foe for the UAB Faithful to overcome. Yet they proved everyone wrong.
Fast forward to Fall 2017 and UAB continues to do just that. After the Birmingham community rallied to save this program, this program has rallied around it in return, even providing the rallying cry of #GreaterBham at their home games. The program currently leads Conference USA in average attendance with over 30,000 fans per game, even breaking their previous attendance record opening day vs. Alabama A&M University with over 45,000 spectators.
But the biggest surprise of all? A team projected to win 3-4 games all year has matched that total halfway through. A 4-2 record, 2-1 in Conference play with said loss coming down to a special teams lapse against the best team in the conference. This UAB football team isn’t just scrappy, they’re GOOD. With three very winnable games still looming, there’s a great chance this team finishes with 6, 7 or even 8 wins.
So they go bowling. But where?
Conference USA has tie ins to the R&L Carriers, Bahamas, Gilden NM, and Boca Raton Bowl, but they also serve as alternates to the Birmingham Bowl. A bowl the University’s athletic department handles gameday operations and marketing for.
This may be against the norm, and it’d be great for the Blazers to travel, but how fitting would it be to play the final game of the 2017 season in front of the city that made #TheReturn possible?
Do the right thing Birmingham Bowl, there aren’t too many great SEC teams this season, so let UAB get the spotlight. Let the city cheer them on one more time to close out a storybook season and set the tone for 2018.