Trojans shafted as Bama, Tigers go bowling

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The regular season is again over for the highest held sport in the state. For some fans in the state there is one more curtain call waiting in the wings before the play is hung up until another day. For others, their team was seemingly taken from the spotlight during the ovation, without time enough for the final bow.

What I am trying to convey is that, while Alabama and Auburn &8212; despite less than admiral seasons on the part of both teams &8212; are heading to bowl games in the next month, the more deserving, Troy State University &8212; the red-headed step child of Division I football in the state &8212; will not.

And Blakeney has a point &8212; his team was shafted due appeal to bowl organizers of a 6-6 school with a large fan base that will travel over that of a team that has produced and is in a smaller conference. And Troy has produced arguably more than either in-state school that is bowl bound.

The Trojans posted an 8-4 record, with losses to No. 4 Georgia, No. 9 Florida and No. 9 Arkansas. Troy beat Louisiana Monroe 24-7 (something Bama couldn&8217;t) and, more impressive, beat Oklahoma State, who finished 6-6 and is bound for the Insight Bowl, by 18 points. But the last loss cost the Trojans, falling 38-32 to Florida Atlantic to become the outright Sun Belt Conference champion and receive to conference&8217;s only bowl berth &8212; the New Orleans Bowl.

Meanwhile the Tide and the Tigers are on their ways &8212; Bama to Shreveport, La., for the Independence Bowl where it played last year and the Plainsmen to Atlanta for the Chik-fil-A Bowl where they will resume an old rivalry a little early.

Bama is probably the biggest bowl recipient surprise in the state, if not the SEC, after falling in its last four games. The 6-6 group is playing in its fourth consecutive bowl and sets an NCAA record with 55 total, though quality bowls are hard to come by for the Tide this decade.

Maybe Saban can regroup his backsliding team and pull off a win against Colorado in the bowl where sometime defensive coordinator and subbing coach Joe Kines lead the Tide to a 34-31 loss last year.

Speaking of redemption, Auburn, too, has something to prove in their bowl. The 8-4 Tigers from the Plains are facing a 9-4 Clemson group coached by former Auburn assistant and brother to former coach Terry Bowden, Tommy Bowden.

The two groups are scheduled to play in the 2010 and 2011 regular seasons and the two schools have played one another 45 times &8212; with Auburn taking the 21-17 win in the last match up at the 1997 Peach Bowl.

Groves hit the nail on the head. There are a lot of teams that won&8217;t get a chance to play and both Auburn and Alabama are luck for the number of butts they will put in the seats, which allows them to get bowls other school can&8217;t. They both owe it to Troy to make the most of their opportunities.

Brandon Glover is the sports editor of The Times. He can be reached at brandon.glover@demopolistimes.com.