Oct. 1, 2007
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- Soon after Brian Mackin was announced as UAB's new director of athletics last February, one of the many areas he spent a great deal of time assessing was the Blazers' philosophy for football scheduling.
Basically since the program moved to the Division I-A level in 1996 (now the Bowl Championship Subdivision), partly for exposure and partly for financial gain, the majority of games that made up UAB's non-conference schedule largely fell under the category of "buy" games and were almost always on the road.
Such a philosophy has aided the budget, but Mackin strongly believes the program can prosper through a different scheduling means, and at the same time, put the Blazers in a much better position to win football games.
"We want to sell seats and we want to win football games," said Mackin.
On Monday, Mackin announced what represents a significant step in change from the previous philosophy and toward achieving some of his scheduling goals.
UAB will play a home-and-home series with Ole Miss with the Blazers traveling to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss. in 2009 and the Rebels coming to Birmingham during the 2012 season.
The home-and-home series with a Southeastern Conference school is a first for the Blazers. In fact, Ole Miss will be just the second SEC school to play in Birmingham. UAB is currently in the midst of a five-game series with Mississippi State with three games in Starkville and two at Legion Field.
When UAB plays MSU in Starkville this coming Saturday (Oct. 6), the game will mark the Blazers' 12th contest against SEC competition. All but one of those, however, has been played away from Birmingham.
"Having a home-and-home series with Ole Miss is huge for our program," said Mackin, "and what we want to do more of in the future in regards to our scheduling. It is something our fans can get excited about, and obviously, our players and coaches can look forward to. Ole Miss has an outstanding SEC program with great tradition and is a school close in proximity to us. They have a lot of alumni in the Birmingham area and throughout the southeast."
Mackin also announced the Blazers' series with Troy is being revived with two games scheduled in Birmingham and two in Troy. The agreement also includes four men's basketball games, again with two scheduled at home and two on the road.
The Blazers are scheduled to play Troy four consecutive years in football, starting with a game on the Trojans' homefield in 2009, in Birmingham in 2010, back to Troy in 2011 and then returning to Birmingham in 2012.
"I think our fans have enjoyed our games with Troy over the years and I think it has been good for both programs," said Mackin. "Obviously, it is a series where fans from both schools can travel easily to see their team play." "I think our fans have enjoyed our games with Troy over the years and I think it has been good for both programs," said Mackin. "Obviously, it is a series where fans from both schools can travel easily to see their team play."
The basketball series with the Trojans will begin in 2008-09 when the teams play a home-and-home in the same season. In 2009-10, UAB will host Troy before playing on the road in 2010-11.
"What we wanted to do was create a schedule situation with Troy where if we are playing them in basketball in Birmingham, we would play football at their place that year, and vice versa," said Mackin.
Mackin also announced a four-game football agreement with Florida Atlantic, who like Troy, is a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
The Blazers will play at FAU, coached by former Miami head coach Howard Schnellenberger, in 2008, before back-to-back home games in Birmingham in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, UAB will again travel to Ft. Lauderdale.
"We think this will be a good series for us," said Mackin. "and we also believe when we play at Florida Atlantic, the opportunity to go see the Blazers play in south Florida will be attractive to our fans."
Mackin also pointed out that another objective in creating the new scheduling philosophy was to avoid playing just five home games in Legion Field year after year.
"We want to get into a rotation where we play a 5-and-7 (home and away) schedule one year, then the next year, we play 6-and-6," he said. "When you're playing a 5-and-7 schedule, and two of your non-conference games are 'buy'games, it makes it extremely difficult on your football team.
"The bottom line for us is to increase the size of our fan base, of course, is we have to win. We want to go to bowl games consistently. I believe with what we are doing (with our scheduling) and adding home games with schools the likes of Ole Miss, Florida Atlantic and Troy is only going to help us get there. We won't have as many 'buy' games, but we will have quality opponents coming to Birmingham.
"When we do look to schedule 'buy' games in the future," Mackin said, "our preference will be to play as many regional games as we can."
UAB Football Series Announced Monday
2009 - Away
2012 - Home
2009 - Away
2010 - Home
2011 - Away
2012 - Home
Troy (Men's Basketball)
2008-09 - Home and Away
2009-10 - Home
2010-11 - Away
2008 - Away
2009 - Home
2010 - Home
2011 - Away