Birmingham Bowl

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Birmingham Bowl
TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl.png
StadiumLegion Field
LocationBirmingham, Alabama
Conference tie-insThe American, SEC
Alternates: C-USA, MAC
PayoutUS$1,374,545 (2019 season)[1]
Papa John's (2006–2010)
BBVA Compass (2011–2014)
Jared (2018)
TicketSmarter (2019–present)
Former names
Birmingham Bowl (2006, working title) Bowl (2006–2010)
BBVA Compass Bowl (2011–2014)
Birmingham Bowl (2015–2017)
Jared Birmingham Bowl (2018)
2018 matchup
Wake Forest vs. Memphis (Wake Forest 37–34)
2019 season matchup
Boston College vs. Cincinnati (Cincinnati 38–6)

The Birmingham Bowl is a post-season NCAA-sanctioned Division I FBS college football bowl game played annually since 2006 at the 71,594-seat Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The game is owned and operated by ESPN Events.[2] The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) also provides marketing, management and game-day operations support. The game was previously known as the Bowl (2006–2010) and the BBVA Compass Bowl (2011–2014). TicketSmarter signed on as the title sponsor of the 2019 game, making it the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl.[3]


The bowl marked the return of post-season football to the city of Birmingham, which previously hosted the Dixie Bowl from 1947 to 1948, the Hall of Fame Classic from 1977 to 1985 (which relocated to Tampa and became the Outback Bowl), and the All-American Bowl from 1986 to 1990 (which was canceled when the SEC Championship Game was awarded to the city).

In the inaugural edition of the bowl, played on December 23, 2006, the South Florida Bulls defeated the East Carolina Pirates, 24–7, in front of a crowd of 32,023.[4] Running back Benjamin Williams of South Florida scored the bowl's first points on a 16-yard touchdown run less that two minutes into the game; he added a second touchdown during the first quarter and was named the game's MVP.

After being held in December for its first three years, the fourth edition of the bowl was played in January 2010. As a result, there was no game during the 2009 calendar year. The bowl was subsequently played in January through its ninth edition, held in January 2015. The tenth edition of the bowl saw a return to December, resulting in two editions of the bowl being played during calendar year 2015. The bowl remained in December through its 13th edition, held in December 2018. The 14th edition of the bowl was held in January 2020, thus there was no game during calendar year 2019.

With construction of a new football stadium on the grounds of the Birmingham–Jefferson Convention Complex, scheduled for completion in 2021, the Birmingham Bowl "would likely move to the new stadium."[5]

Conference tie-ins[edit]

The bowl originally had a four-year agreement with Conference USA (C-USA) to match a representative of that conference against an opponent from the Big East Conference, but the bowl's officials later appealed to the NCAA for a recertification which was granted in late April 2008. In 2008 and 2009, the bowl featured the ninth bowl-eligible team of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and a team from the Big East Conference.[6]

The game currently features teams from the SEC and the American Athletic Conference (The American). Should either of these conferences not fulfill their bowl commitments, a team from C-USA or the Mid-American Conference (MAC) will take their place, provided it is bowl eligible.[7] Otherwise, the game will choose an at-large team. This happened in 2008, when the SEC was unable to send a team; the bowl selected North Carolina State of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) to face Rutgers from the Big East, even though bowl had an arrangement with the Sun Belt Conference at the time, and that conference had at least one bowl-eligible team it could send.


From 2006 through 2010, the game was the Bowl, named after Papa John's Pizza, who became the title sponsor signing a multi-year agreement in November 2006.[8] On August 6, 2010, Papa John's announced it would not renew its sponsorship, after having secured a sponsorship deal with the National Football League.[9] Following the announcement, the game was temporarily renamed the Birmingham Bowl until BBVA Compass was announced as its title sponsor on November 4, 2010, officially changing its name to the BBVA Compass Bowl.[9][10] The bowl was sponsored by BBVA through the January 2014 game, following which BBVA Compass declined to renew its sponsorship,[11] and the game was subsequently renamed the Birmingham Bowl. The 2018 edition of the Birmingham Bowl was sponsored by the Jared brand of Sterling Jewelers,[12] and the 2019 edition was sponsored by TicketSmarter.[3]

Game results[edit]

Rankings are from the AP Poll from before the game was played.

Date Bowl name Winning team Losing team Attendance
December 23, 2006 Bowl South Florida 24 East Carolina 7 32,023
December 22, 2007 Bowl #20 Cincinnati 31 Southern Miss 21 35,258
December 29, 2008 Bowl Rutgers 29 NC State 23 38,582
January 2, 2010 Bowl Connecticut 20 South Carolina 7 45,254
January 8, 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl Pittsburgh 27 Kentucky 10 41,207
January 7, 2012 BBVA Compass Bowl SMU 28 Pittsburgh 6 29,726
January 5, 2013 BBVA Compass Bowl Ole Miss 38 Pittsburgh 17 59,135
January 4, 2014 BBVA Compass Bowl Vanderbilt 41 Houston 24 42,717
January 3, 2015 Birmingham Bowl Florida 28 East Carolina 20 30,083
December 30, 2015 Birmingham Bowl Auburn 31 Memphis 10 59,430
December 29, 2016 Birmingham Bowl #25 South Florida 46 South Carolina 39 (OT) 31,229
December 23, 2017 Birmingham Bowl #23 South Florida 38 Texas Tech 34 28,623
December 22, 2018 Birmingham Bowl Wake Forest 37 Memphis 34 25,717
January 2, 2020 Birmingham Bowl #23 Cincinnati 38 Boston College 6 27,193


Two-time MVP winner Quinton Flowers
Date Name School Position
December 23, 2006 Benjamin Williams South Florida RB
December 22, 2007 Ben Mauk Cincinnati QB
December 29, 2008 Mike Teel Rutgers QB
January 2, 2010 Andre Dixon Connecticut RB
January 8, 2011 Dion Lewis Pittsburgh RB
January 7, 2012 Darius Johnson SMU WR
January 5, 2013 Bo Wallace Ole Miss QB
January 4, 2014 Jordan Matthews Vanderbilt WR
January 3, 2015 Adam Lane Florida RB
December 30, 2015 Jovon Robinson Auburn RB
December 29, 2016 Quinton Flowers South Florida QB
December 23, 2017 Quinton Flowers South Florida QB
December 22, 2018 Jamie Newman Wake Forest QB
January 2, 2020 Desmond Ridder Cincinnati QB

Most appearances[edit]

A 2017 Birmingham Bowl ticket

Updated through the January 2020 edition (14 games, 28 total appearances).

Teams with multiple appearances
Rank Team Appearances Record
T1 South Florida 3 3–0
T1 Pittsburgh 3 1–2
T3 Cincinnati 2 2–0
T3 East Carolina 2 0–2
T3 Memphis 2 0–2
T3 South Carolina 2 0–2
Teams with a single appearance

Won: Auburn, Connecticut, Florida, Ole Miss, Rutgers, SMU, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest
Lost: Boston College, Houston, Kentucky, NC State, Southern Miss, Texas Tech

Appearances by conference[edit]

Updated through the January 2020 edition (14 games, 28 total appearances).

Conference Record Appearances by season
Games W L Win pct. Won Lost
The American 14 8 6 .571 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009*, 2010*, 2016, 2017, 2019* 2011*, 2012*, 2013*, 2014*, 2015, 2018
SEC 7 4 3 .571 2012*, 2013*, 2014*, 2015 2009*, 2010*, 2016
C-USA 3 1 2 .333 2011* 2006, 2007
ACC 3 1 2 .333 2018 2008, 2019*
Big 12 1 0 1 .000   2017
  • Games marked with an asterisk (*) were played in January of the following calendar year.
  • The American record includes appearances of the Big East Conference, as The American retains the charter of the original Big East, following its 2013 realignment. Teams representing the Big East appeared in seven games, compiling a 5–2 record.

Game records[edit]

Team Record, Team vs. Opponent Year
Most points scored (one team) 46, South Florida vs. South Carolina 2016
Most points scored (losing team) 39, South Carolina vs. South Florida 2016
Most points scored (both teams) 85, South Florida (46) vs. South Carolina (39) 2016
Fewest points allowed 6, SMU vs. Pittsburgh 2012
Largest margin of victory 32, Cincinnati vs. Boston College 2020
Total yards 561, South Florida vs. Texas Tech 2017
Rushing yards 343, Cincinnati vs. Boston College 2020
Passing yards 427, East Carolina vs. Florida Jan. 2015
First downs 33, Cincinnati vs. Boston College 2020
Fewest yards allowed 164, Cincinnati vs. Boston College 2020
Fewest rushing yards allowed 10, SMU vs. Pittsburgh 2012
Fewest passing yards allowed 87, Cincinnati vs. Boston College 2020
Individual Record, Player, Team vs. Opponent Year
All-purpose yards 291, Deebo Samuel, South Carolina vs. South Florida
(190 receiving, 97 return, 4 rushing)
Touchdowns (all-purpose) 3, shared by Flowers, Newman, and Ridder (below)
Rushing yards 155, Damion Fletcher, Southern Miss vs. Cincinnati 2007
Rushing touchdowns 3, shared by:
Quinton Flowers, South Florida vs. South Carolina
Jamie Newman, Wake Forest vs. Memphis
Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati vs. Boston College

Passing yards 427, Shane Carden, East Carolina vs. Florida Jan. 2015
Passing touchdowns 4, shared by:
Ben Mauk, Cincinnati vs. Southern Miss
Quinton Flowers, South Florida vs. Texas Tech

Receiving yards 190, Deebo Samuel, South Carolina vs. South Florida 2016
Receiving touchdowns 2, shared by:
Dominick Goodman, Cincinnati vs. Southern Miss
Tyre McCants, South Florida vs. Texas Tech

Long Plays Record, Player, Team vs. Opponent Year
Touchdown run 62, I'Tavius Mathers, Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh 2013
Touchdown pass 86, Treon Harris to Ahmad Fulwood, Florida vs. East Carolina Jan. 2015
Kickoff return 97, Tony Pollard, Memphis vs. Wake Forest 2018
Punt return 56, Marcus Davis, Auburn vs. Memphis Dec. 2015
Interception return
Fumble return
Punt 60, Ryan Dougherty, East Carolina vs. South Florida 2006
Field goal 53, Jake Elliott, Memphis vs. Auburn Dec. 2015

Source: [13]

Media coverage[edit]

Except for the first two editions of the bowl, which were televised on ESPN2, the bowl has been televised on ESPN.[14]


  1. ^ "2019 Bowl Schedule". Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  2. ^ "ESPN Regional Television to Own and Operate New Bowl Game". May 9, 2006. Retrieved December 25, 2006.
  3. ^ a b "TicketSmarter Named Title Sponsor of Birmingham Bowl" (PDF). Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  4. ^ Solomon, Jon (December 24, 2006). "Cheers for Bowl". The Birmingham News. Archived from the original on March 29, 2007. Retrieved December 25, 2006.
  5. ^ "Protective wins naming rights for Birmingham stadium". April 19, 2019. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  6. ^ " Bowl receives two-year tie-in with SEC". Associated Press. May 1, 2008. Archived from the original on May 5, 2008.
  7. ^
  8. ^ " Signs on as Title Sponsor of Inaugural Bowl Game". November 16, 2006. Archived from the original on March 27, 2007. Retrieved December 25, 2006.
  9. ^ a b Solomon, Jon (August 7, 2010). "Papa John's: New NFL strategy, higher ESPN financial demand mean cutting bowl ties". The Birmingham News. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  10. ^ Russell, Hubbard (November 4, 2010). "BBVA Compass to take over sponsorship of Birmingham bowl game". The Birmingham News. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  11. ^ "BBVA Compass to end sponsorship of bowl game in Birmingham" The Biz Journals. 2013-04-03
  12. ^ "The University of Memphis and Wake Forest University Selected to Play in the 2018 Jared Birmingham Bowl" (PDF). Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  13. ^ "History - TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl". Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  14. ^ Kelly, Doug (ed.). "2019–20 Football Bowl Association Media Guide" (PDF). 166. Retrieved January 3, 2020.

External links[edit]