View Full Version : UAB Hits 'Big Time'?

10-21-2004, 05:38 PM
I sure we we played that team this season ...

Birmingham finally hits 'big-time' with
UAB football

October 20, 2004

The contest was played Sept. 7, 1991, before friends and neighbors in Jackson, Miss. - on a field barely up to big-time high school football specs.

It was Alabama-Birmingham's inaugural Division III football game, and it came against Millsaps. The Majors were victorious, 28-0, in an event many people - probably most people - thought would be a small footnote in the Blazers' book of athletics.

Many - most people - thought wrong.

Thirteen years and three classifications later UAB football is no longer non-scholarship, no longer a footnote and certainly no longer a non-factor. In fact, Watson Brown's Blazers should be favored in every regular season game they play from here on out, with the possible exception of the Nov. 27 clash in Hattiesburg against long-time nemesis Southern Miss.

And if UAB wins the ones its favored to win, that means the club will be 9-1 going into the regular season finale and move up in the Top 25.

Let that sink in for just a moment - 9-1 and in the Top 25.

Right now the Blazers are No. 24 in the BCS poll and No. 27 in the AP rankings, and there's no reason to think they won't trade up on both.

A program that started with a bunch of kids who wanted to play football for fun has evolved into a program that has given Birmingham a legitimate, big-time football team to embrace and call its own.

Yes, we had the World Football League Americans and Vulcans in 1974-75, but a good league with poor financing has been dead for nearly 30 years.

The United States Football League was a quality organization, but a decision to move to the fall and a lawsuit against the NFL that netted a grand total of three bucks sealed its fate.

Then there was the World League of American Football, Canadian Football League, XFL - all pro leagues, all failures.

But Birmingham is a college sports town, and now the Magic City truly has big-time Division 1A football. And despite the best efforts of some members of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, it's not going anywhere.

Actually, the Blazers are going somewhere in 2004.

It could be the GMAC Bowl in Mobile.

Maybe they're headed for the Forth Worth Bowl.

The Hawaii Bowl is a possibility, as well as the New Orleans Bowl.

Of course the Conference USA champ is bound for Memphis and the Liberty Bowl, and UAB is smack-dab in the middle of the race that takes the winner to the land of Blues, ribs and Graceland.

For years the Blazers struggled to find a fan base, but people are starting to click through the turnstiles of Legion Field to watch a team that isn't wearing crimson.

No, UAB isn't in danger of selling out the cavernous old stadium, but a lot of programs - good programs - don't sell out their venues, either.

The fact is, UAB is a fun football team to watch and a football team that's winning. Sports fans - especially Birmingham sports fans - love winners.

TCU might not be a "sexy" opponent along the lines of a Georgia or LSU, but when you have a quarterback who can light it up for five touchdowns in the first half, it seems to me the sex appeal is with the home team.

A national television audience saw that last Friday night, as well as 30,000-plus fans in the stadium.

The 41-25 victory over the Horned Frogs accomplished several things. First, it let fans from coast to coast know that Birmingham has an institution of higher learning called UAB that fields a pretty good football team.

It showed them the Blazers have a quarterback, Darrell Hackney, who is one of the most exciting and talented in the game. The tilt also showcased one of the nation's best linebackers in Zac Woodfin and a human highlight wideout in Roddy White.

More importantly, the conquest improved UAB to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the league, meaning a bowl bid is practically a sure bet and a league title is no longer something for some other program to dream about.

So on Oct. 19, 2004 - as the Blazers get ready to take on a struggling Tulane squad in the Superdome - that hot day in Jackson 13 years ago seems almost surreal.

At the time, we thought it was merely a footnote in UAB and Birmingham sports.

Today, it reads like the first word of an exciting new chapter for a town and its school.

And guys like Hackney, White and Woodfin have helped make it a must-read.

(Contact Scott Adamson of the Birmingham Post-Herald in Alabama at http://www.postherald.com.)

10-21-2004, 06:00 PM
I think they meant "Big House" as in jail.

10-21-2004, 09:22 PM
If this is what you mean by big time --


then yeah, they've been hitting the big time for a long time.

10-21-2004, 11:16 PM
All of you know my disdain and disgust for UA's B Team. I've avoided this subject for a while because it pains me to say anything positive about that pathetic excuse of a school and a joke of a team.

But, I have to say, that UAB is doing a lot of things right. They are a very, very good team this year. We tried to recruit Hackney. I wish we had him. He's the real deal. This team is by far the best UAB team ever and personally, I'm glad we don't have them this year after our debacles at NMSU and ASU.

I am sure, however, after this fluke of a season, they will continue to go back into their losing ways next season--afterall, it's a tradition for them!!

10-22-2004, 02:38 PM
when they lose Hackney things will return to normal for the Blazers.

Now that I think if it, isnt that a pretty fitting nickname for that team up the road.