Sunday, August 24, 2008

Barnhouse's Bottom 25: UAB

Legendary sportswriter Wendell Barnhouse recently left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is now a correspondent for Big 12 With 30 years experience of observing the college scene, his expertise is unmatched. In the spirit of Steve Harvey's Bottom Ten, Wendell will provide us a capsule look at college football's less fortunate, counting down the Bottom 25 teams in Division I-A football.

No. 7 Alabama Birmingham
Location: Birmingham, Ala.
Nickname: Blazers.
Conference: Conference USA, East Division.
Coach: Neil Callaway, 2-10, one season.
Division I-A history: 91-96-2 in 17 seasons, .486 winning percentage.
Last bowl season: 2004.
Best record in last five years: 7-5 in 2004.
Rank(ed) because: Even when this program started out as a Division III team in 1991 (and lost its first game to Millsaps, 28-0), the Blazers never failed to win at least four games each season. In Watson Brown's final season (2006), UAB won three games. In Neil Callaway's debut season, the Blazers went one worse and won only two games. As CUSA has improved, UAB has slipped.
Negative number: In UAB's 10 losses, the Blazers gave up fewer than 30 points only once — a 25-9 loss to Memphis. In five of the losses, UAB gave up 40 or more.
Possible victory: At Tulane, Nov. 15. Selecting a conference road game is a leap of faith. But the Green Wave also reside in the Bottom 25 (No. 11). If UAB hasn't lost hope by this point of the season, this is a game it should win.
Biggest blowout: At Tennessee, Sept. 13. The Volunteers will be looking to move up in the polls and tune up for their game with Florida the following Saturday. The Blazers have to hope Tennessee is lacking focus.
Is there hope?: A number of players left the team before last season because of raised standards in academics, offseason behavior and workouts. That reduced the roster to 60 scholarship players and contributed to the 2-10 record, but Callaway believes that sent a message and that his staff is recruiting solid citizens who also are good players.

Thanks to the Helmet Project.

No comments: