On December 2, 2014, UAB president Ray Watts announced UAB Blazers football was shutting down.
Today, November 26, 2017, exactly 1091 days later, it has been announced that UAB will be playing the Ohio University Bobcats in the Bahamas Bowl.
After two years off from playing, preseason expectations for UAB were pretty low. I myself said not to worry about the record for a couple of years; just be glad football is back. The Blazers proved us all wrong, however, and in their first year back on the gridiron they finished 2nd in C-USA West with an 8-4 (6-2) record. They stayed at home in bowl season in 2014 despite being bowl eligible. That will not happen in 2017.
Bill Clark HAS to be coach of the year. To stick with a team that was literally shut down, fight to bring that team back, and then lead them on the kind of season that UAB has enjoyed is nothing short of remarkable.
This will mark the second bowl appearance in UAB history. The Blazers joined FBS in 1996, and made their first appearance in 2004. They played Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl, losing 59-40. Once again they will be leaving the US mainland to play, but they will of course be hoping for a different result.
Quarterback A.J. Erdely and star freshman running back Spencer Brown will lead the Blazers to the Bahamas, where they will face Ohio. The Bobcats dominated Toledo, the best team in the MAC, and looked to be on their way to the MAC title game until being upset a week later by Akron.
Yesterday, they were upset yet again by Buffalo, allowing the Bulls to reach bowl eligibility. Ohio, 8-4 (5-3), will be looking to get the sour taste of two straight losses out of their mouth and end the season the right way. This has the makings of a very intriguing match-up.
The Bahamas Bowl will be played on December 22 at 12:30 ET on ESPN. The Blazers and Bobcats will face off in Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau. This will be the fourth edition of the game. It will be the first time the MAC sends a team from outside the state of Michigan (all three directional Michigan schools have appeared) and the first time C-USA sends a west division team (WKU, MTSU, and ODU have appeared).