It is one of the biggest comebacks in college football history. In four years, UAB Football has gone from being disbanded to winning a Conference USA Division title and notching a Top 25 ranking in the National Coaches Poll.
Division Title Clinched
Last Saturday, UAB clinched a Conference USA West Division title with an overtime victory over University of Southern Mississippi in front of more than 25,000 fans. The victory secures UAB a spot in the Conference USA title game.
UAB is not SMU
A true cinderella story, the last time a college football team was disbanded and reorganized in two years was the notorious SMU football death penalty in the 1980s. For nearly 40 years, the historic SMU football program has yet to recover.
Many thought that would be the same fate of UAB (albeit, UAB did not have a hint of NCAA problems like SMU). Instead, the program retained its popular head coach, raised significant monies privately from the Birmingham community, built a new state of the art football facilities and earlier this year secured an agreement with the city of Birmingham and Jefferson County Commission to build a new football stadium.
Here is great story by CBS Sports Jon Solomon describing the comeback a couple of years ago.:
UAB is playing today for its 1st football championship. Remarkable. UAB had to die to have a chance to live. My story from a couple years ago on UAB’s exciting/risky experiment after football was shut down. https://t.co/rvnV900Q3O
— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonAspen) November 10, 2018
More than just a game, UAB Football has also won the hearts of Birmingham residents everywhere with its commitment to Children’s Harbor, and the annual game that they dedicate to the children by wearing their names on the back of the team uniforms.
Social Media Reaction
The victory this weekend has gotten attention locally, regionally and nationally on social media. Here are some of the reactions.
From death to rebirth to rings, all in four years. The best story in college football, and the best part — UAB’s not done yet.
— Kevin Scarbinsky (@KevinScarbinsky) November 11, 2018
ESPN’s Marty Smith
This is one of the great stories in sports this year.
Two years ago there was no UAB Football. @CoachBillClark could have gone to a bigtime P5 Program as OC.
But he was passionate as hell and indomitable in the desire to resurrect UAB.
Now look. https://t.co/7YZNn2cf9M
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) November 11, 2018
My top 25; UAB could be the best story in college football https://t.co/Gody6PSqZa
— MDJ Online (@mdjonline) November 11, 2018
Bottomline, it is the story of the year in college football. More importantly, the resurrection of the UAB Football program has been a community-wide effort.
WE DID IT BIRMINGHAM!
Next up – Texas A&M on national TV in front of 102,000 fans. UAB Football has hit the big time.