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Bowl fever makes its way to Birmingham
Legion Field is set to showcase the BBVA Compass Bowl for the seventh consecutive year. As the last weekend of college football games concluded, the bowl selection announcements have begun.
Legion Field will most likely host the Ole Miss Rebels against the Pittsburgh Panthers in their first ever meeting against each other. There are a lot of similarities between the two teams who both finished the regular season with a 6-6 record and are both under first year head coaches.
Pittsburgh will be making their third consecutive appearance in the BBVA Compass bowl after losing to SMU last year and defeating Kentucky two years ago. Ole Miss finished the regular season with a 41-24 win over their in-state rival Mississippi State.
Hugh Freeze is in his first season as the Rebels head coach and already has his football program headed in the right direction. The Rebels offense is led by quarterback, Bo Wallace, and has produced 2,843 passing yards and 19 touchdowns.
Pittsburgh enters the bowl game after a rough start to Paul Chryst’s first season. The Panthers lost their first game to Youngstown State, but have won two straight games.
The most memorable moment for the season came on November 3 when Pittsburgh took Notre Dame to the wire losing 29-26 in three overtimes. The Panthers are led by senior quarterback, Tino Sunseri. Sunseri is the brother of Alabama linebacker, Vinnie, and the son of former Alabama and Tennessee assistant coach, Sal.
The Panthers have a balanced offense with Sunseri producing 3,103 passing yards and throwing for 19 touchdowns. Running back, Ray Graham, ran for 1,042 yards and scored 11 touchdowns.
Hugh Freeze’s road to Ole Miss began by winning two high school state championships at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis.
After winning the 2002 and 2004 high school state championships, Freeze then went to Ole Miss as the tight end’s coach and recruiting coordinator under then Ole Miss head coach, Ed Orgeron.
Freeze won the Sun Belt conference championship in his only season at Arkansas State last year.
Paul Chryst spent time as Oregon State’s offensive coordinator (1997-1998, 2003-2004) and then Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator from 2005-2011 before heading to Pitt. Chryst is a former Badger quarterback from 1986-1988.
The game is set for Saturday January 5 at noon.