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Texas Tech vs South Florida: beyond the Birmingham Bowl

A look at the history of the two football programs and the Birmingham Bowl

Texas Tech and South Florida meet in the Birmingham Bowl on Saturday, December 23, in what’s sure to be a thrilling matchup. With very little research you’ll be able to find all of the predictions and projections your heart desires. Not here. We’re just going to take a look at some different facts and figures. Some serious, some not even close.

This is the 12th installment of the bowl game in Birmingham, AL, which earned its sanction in 2006. The bowl was initially called the PapaJohns.com Bowl from 2006-10, then the BBVA Compass Bowl from 2011-14. The game has been the Birmingham Bowl since 2015 and is presented as a cooperative effort by ESPN and University of Alabama at Birmingham.

When you search the bowl game on the internet the most common result is the trophy. This will be the first year that the winning team will hoist a trophy at the end of the game. This trophy isn’t interesting because of what it has, rather, it’s interesting because of what it doesn’t have. You see, this trophy has a bare bum.

I guess it goes without saying that the winning team will be asked to be respectful when holding the trophy.

Because this is a football game played by two teams, let’s take a look at them now. Not a serious, scheme analysis, player matchup type look. Just a look.

University of South Florida

The University of South Florida was established in 1956 and is located in Tampa, FL. The school is part of the state university system of Florida and reports a student enrollment of 50,577. The school colors are green and gold.

In 1997, USF decided to put a football team together. The USF Bulls started out competing at the Division I-AA (now Division I FCS) level and then moved to Division I-A (now Division I FBS) in 2001. They competed as Independents at both levels until 2003 when they joined Conference USA. They joined the Big East in 2005, which became the American Athletic Conference. The AAC is their current conference.

The Bulls have a 145-105 all-time record, which includes a 5-3 record in bowl games. They won their first bowl game in the inaugural PapaJohns.com Bowl in 2006. This will be the third appearance in this particular bowl game and they play in Birmingham for the second year in a row, looking to move to an all-time record of 3-0.

USF is coached by former Texas Longhorn coach Charlie Strong. Strong is finishing up his first season and is the program’s fourth head coach.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University was established in 1923 and is located in Lubbock, TX. It is part of the state university system of Texas and reports a total enrollment of 37,010 students. The school colors are scarlet and black.

Texas Tech Red Raiders decided to start playing football in 1925, although at the time they were called the Matadors. They have competed in three different conferences: Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association, Southwest Conference, and the Big 12 Conference.

Tech has an overall record of 551-429-32 with a bowl record of 14-22-1. The Red Raiders got their first bowl win in the 1952 Sun Bowl and have won seven of their last ten bowl games. Their only other appearance in Birmingham was a 49-21 victory over Duke in the 1989 All-American Bowl.

The Red Raiders are currently led by fifth-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury is the program’s 15th non-interim head coach and is 30-32 overall with a bowl record of 1-1.

Tech may have a more extensive past, but its recent performance is very similar to USF’s. The Bulls are 66-58 with a total of 36 weeks in the top-25 during the last 10 years, while Tech is 71-54 with very few weeks in the top 25. This is the sixth bowl game (with four wins) for USF and the seventh (with four wins) for Tech in the past 10 years.

Red Raider fans have set bowl attendance records at 10 of their 37 bowl game appearances. Two of those records, 66,222 in the 2004 Holiday Bowl and 88,175 in the 2009 Cotton Bowl, still stand.

Unfortunately, this game isn’t shaping up to be one of those high attendance games. USF has reportedly only sold about 1,100 of its allotment of tickets while Tech has only sold about 2,000. This game also is scheduled for 11 a.m., which will make it the eighth game with an 11 a.m. kickoff this year for Tech. I guess this will be a small coming out party for the inaugural statue and its bare bum.