Oct. 27, 2010
I really enjoy good football games...when the teams play well...when it comes down to the wire...and I enjoy them even more when my team WINS. We were so close to having enjoyable trips to Knoxville and Starkville (and enjoying oneself in those two cities is easier said than done, trust me), but, alas, it just wasn't meant to be. The Blazers gave another valiant effort on Saturday at Mississippi State, but the 24th-ranked Bulldogs had just enough bite to go with their bark (and cowbells) to survive.
It hurts to come so close, so often, against some of the 'big boys,' but I don't think UAB will let it have a lingering affect. In fact, I think it will continue to motivate the Green and Gold the rest of the way. Granted, at some point, you have to start winning games like that, otherwise I'm afraid the "here we go again" mentality may begin to, understandably, creep in. But visiting with the coaches and the players after returning from Starkville, I got the sense there is still a tremendous amount of confidence surrounding this team. I know, at 2-5 that sounds a little silly, but this team is better. The stats show it...and the eye test shows it.
It's Conference USA the rest of the way for the Blazers, and I also think that could be a good thing. You have more familiarity with league teams. You have some rivalry games, like this Saturday's trip to Southern Miss and the Battle for the Bones in a few weeks. I think the Green and Gold will be focused and energized the rest of the way, with many of their pre-season goals still on the table.
Southern Miss will be a BIG test this Saturday. The Golden Eagles have one of the top defenses in the country, and the USM offense has been extremely explosive, especially when they've played at home. They also will have a little bone to pick with UAB after the Blazers ended a decade of frustration with a stunning upset last year at Legion Field...one of my favorite memories since coming to UAB.
The Green and Gold will need to limit the big plays (something they have improved on recently), and they'll also need to be efficient on offense. The Blazers moved it well against Mississippi State, and Bryan Ellis has done a wonderful job of taking care of the football. Turnovers, however, in special teams proved most costly against the Bulldogs on Saturday night. UAB can't afford to turn it over in Hattiesburg, and it sure would be nice to see the defense come up with some takeaways.
If you are making the trip to the 'burg, set the alarm. It's an early start on Saturday, with kick-off at 11 AM. The game will be televised by CSS, and our pre-game will begin at 9:30 AM from Roberts Stadium. Please note, this Saturday's game broadcast will air on WJOX-FM 94.5 in Birmingham. Otis Leverette, John Whitcomb and I will have the call.
Basketball season is right around the corner...make sure you check out the website for a great deal for the men's exhibition game next Friday against West Alabama. Fans can get a reserved seat at Bartow Arena for just $1. That's right, a buck is all it'll cost to see the first action of the year. You can also pick up tickets at any area Full Moon BBQ, who will be providing free food before the game (while it lasts)! Look for other great deals on season tickets, too.
Well, the wings smell wonderful here at Baumhower's. It's just about time for the call-in show, so I'll sign off now. Have a great rest of the week, and I hope we'll see some Green and Gold amongst the Black and Gold this Saturday.