Wade on Birmingham

Tigers, Tide earn bowl bids, Heisman honors


Vanderbilt - BBVA Compass Bowl

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin celebrates with his team
Sunday over their BBVA Compass Bowl invitation.

The state of Alabama excels at football. Doubters, see evidence below …

• While No. 2 Auburn heads west to play for the national championship, rival No. 3 Alabama (11-1) will play Jan. 2 in the Sugar Bowl. Facing the Tide in New Orleans will be No. 11 Oklahoma (10-2).

Should both Auburn and Alabama win their bowl games, they could end the season ranked 1 and 2.

• Alabama and Auburn received additional good news today, as Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron and Tigers running back Tre Mason received invites as finalists to the Heisman ceremony Saturday in New York.

Jameis WintsonLeading candidate Jameis Winston, left, quarterback at No. 1 Florida State, is a Hueytown native.

• Closer to home, the BBVA Compass Bowl will feature Vanderbilt and Houston, both 8-4. The Jan. 4 game at Legion Field will be the last to feature the bank as title sponsor; a new sponsor has not been announced.

Vanderbilt last played in a Birmingham bowl game in 1982, for the Dec. 31 Hall of Fame Classic. The Commodores lost to Air Force 36-28 (and yes, I was at that game).

• Mobile will hold its two annual bowl games. The GoDaddy Bowl on Jan. 5 will pit returnees Ball State (10-2) against Arkansas State (7-5). It’s Arkansas State’s third consecutive appearance, and the first for Ball State since 2009.

And the 65th Senior Bowl will take place Jan. 25.

• With 78 bowl-eligible teams but only 70 slots, someone has to stay home and watch all these games. Alabama teams Troy and South Alabama — both 6-6 — didn’t receive invites.

• In last week’s state high school championships, Hoover beat Auburn 20-3 in 6A, a second consecutive title and 30 straight wins. Madison Academy topped Leeds 31-14 in 3A.


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