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College Football Betting Online: The 2016 Birmingham Bowl was a classic, as South Florida defeated South Carolina in the first overtime game in the bowl’s history. That game will be hard to top, but the 2017 version will do its best to become another competitive affair.
Even though this game usually features one of the lowest-seeded SEC bowl-eligible teams, it still gets a quality team because the conference is so good. The city of Birmingham didn’t have a bowl game for several decades, and the fans really respond when a team that is close in proximity is chosen, as tens of thousands of fans gobble up seats and bring a raucous atmosphere.
The 2017 Birmingham Bowl will take place on Saturday, December 23, 2017 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. ESPN will televise this game at 12 p.m. ET.
Birmingham Bowl Odds at BookMaker.eu
Texas Tech Red Raiders +2.5
South Florida Bulls -2.5
USF heads into this bowl game as a ranked team. With a 9-2 record, the Bulls get a matchup against a Big-12 program, even if the Red Raiders were just 6-6.
Given the records, South Florida—even being from a traditionally weaker conference—has the apparent upper-hand. The spread backs that up, though these teams should make the game close. Texas Tech has fared better ATS this season than USF and is coming off an impressive upset win over the Longhorns.
For those looking for offense, this could be one of the better bowl games of the year. The South Florida Bulls are an elite offensive force. Ranking in the top-10 in total yards, Quinton Flowers is the key cog. He’s thrown for 2,600 yards and 21 scores while running for 972 more yards and 10 more touchdowns. There’s a triple threat for USF on the ground and several solid targets for Flowers in the air.
While his completion percentage is meager, Flowers has done a good job keeping it out of the opposition’s hands. He figures to have many open receivers given the Red Raiders’ struggles in the secondary. This is the final chance for Flowers to shine before heading on out into the sunset. He’s got a great matchup to make a few more highlight reel players.
On the other side, the Texas Tech offense is plenty good enough to match up with South Florida blow-for-blow in a shootout, but if either of these teams is going to be able to nab a big stop or two on defense, it’s the Bulls. Texas Tech is all about that offense.
For a team based on the offense, it’s interesting that the Red Raiders have a bit of a quarterback crisis going into the Birmingham Bowl. Nic Shimonek is the likely guy, but McLane Carter got the start in their last game and there could be a timeshare under center. That’s hard for offensive continuity, but there’s one thing that can be counted on: Keke Coutee. Is there a better wide out in college football?
Birmingham Bowl Format
The SEC’s ninth-place team is tied in to the Birmingham Bowl, which sounds like a lot, but the conference usually has that many. The SEC team is scheduled to face off against one of the best teams from the American Athletic Conference.
If one of the conferences can’t fulfill the request, the Birmingham Bowl will go to the Conference USA or the Mid-American Conference for a foe. If there is no program available there, then it will accept an at-large team.
The Big East was also formerly a conference tie-in of the Birmingham Bowl.
Birmingham Bowl Game Results
South Florida has put a pair of bookends on the history of the Birmingham Bowl, though that will obviously change in 2017 unless the Bulls can come up with another win. The SEC has done well here in the bowl game’s history with a record of 4-3. The American conference is not far behind with a record of 6-5.
The 2016 game was the highest-scoring contest in the Birmingham Bowl’s history. With SEC teams in the mix it is not a surprise to see some impressive defensive efforts. Auburn only allowed 10 points to Memphis in an easy win in 2015.
Some of the more notable MVPs from the Birmingham Bowl include Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk in 2007, Pittsburgh running back Dion Lewis in 2010, Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews in 2013, Auburn running back Jovon Robinson in 2015 and South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers last season.
This bowl game used to be known as the PapaJohns.com Bowl and the BBVA Compass Bowl but it is now back to the Birmingham Bowl since there is no title sponsor.
Most All-Time Wins at Birmingham Bowl
South Florida became the first team in Birmingham Bowl history to win twice when it defeated South Carolina last season. Its original victory came in 2006 by a score of 24-7 over East Carolina.
Pittsburgh has the most appearances of any team at the Birmingham Bowl with three but has only won here once, defeating Kentucky 27-10 in 2010. South Carolina and East Carolina have both made it to the Birmingham Bowl twice but both lost their two appearances.
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