December 2, 2012
OLE MISS TO PLAY PITTSBURGH IN BBVA COMPASS BOWL
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Ole Miss Rebels and Pittsburgh Panthers, two football programs with rich bowl histories, will play in the seventh annual BBVA Compass Bowl, bowl officials announced Sunday.
The BBVA Compass Bowl will be played Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 at 1 p.m. (ET)/Noon (CT) at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. and will air nationally on ESPN and ESPN Radio.
With this year's berths in the BBVA Compass Bowl, Ole Miss and Pitt have combined for 63 bowl appearances. This will be the first meeting between the schools.
"We are pleased to feature a great matchup between Ole Miss and Pitt for our fan base," BBVA Compass Bowl Executive Director Mark Meadows said. "Both of these teams have a rich history and we look forward to seeing them compete on the field in what is sure to be a great game."
Ole Miss ranks 13th in the nation with 21 bowl victories and is now tied for 19th in bowl appearances with 34. Overall, the Rebels have compiled a 21-12 record in bowl games.
Ole Miss will be making its first bowl appearance since the 2009 season. The Rebels have won eight of their last nine bowl games, including three straight in the Cotton Bowl in 2004, 2009 and 2010.
"We are excited to continue our great bowl tradition and accept an invitation to the BBVA Compass Bowl," Ole Miss Athletics Director Ross Bjork said. "Congratulations to Coach Freeze and his staff for the fantastic turnaround in one year. I especially want to congratulate our seniors and the rest of the team for their hard work and for buying into the cultural change for our program.
"Birmingham is a sweet spot for Rebel Nation with over 115,000 alumni and so many more Ole Miss fans living in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Through the years, our fans have gained a national reputation of packing bowl games, and we expect them to give our team a home field advantage. In fact, we cannot wait to ‘Lock the Legion' and continue the momentum for Ole Miss Football."
Ole Miss (6-6, 3-5 SEC) is led by first-year head coach Hugh Freeze. Freeze came to Ole Miss from Arkansas State where he led the Red Wolves to a 10-2 record and the Sun Belt Conference championship in 2011. Under Freeze, Arkansas State became just the third school in Sun Belt history to finish undefeated in league play with a perfect 8-0 mark.
"I am so happy for our players, staff and Rebel Nation to be a part of the BBVA Compass Bowl," Freeze said. "This accomplishment is a credit to our team's hard work and dedication, and we are very appreciative of the opportunity. We have one of the richest bowl traditions in college football, and I'm proud of our staff for returning this program to the postseason in our first season. I'm so grateful to Rebel Nation for the amazing support this year, and I can't wait to see The Grove recreated in Birmingham."
The Rebels played in their first bowl game following the 1935 season when they appeared in the Orange Bowl. The BBVA Compass Bowl will be Ole Miss' first bowl appearance in Birmingham. The Rebels last played at Legion Field in 1977 (vs. Alabama).
Pittsburgh (6-6, 3-4 Big East) is making its 29th bowl appearance overall and 10th since 2000 (13 seasons). The Panthers are playing in the BBVA Compass Bowl for the third consecutive year.
Pitt has claimed nine national championships in its history, sixth-highest in the college ranks.
"As we move another step closer to our future in the Atlantic Coast Conference, we are thrilled to be matched with Mississippi of the Southeastern Conference," Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. "While it is unusual to play in the same bowl three years in a row, we are excited to be facing a traditional program like Ole Miss. This game is held in a great football city and our hosts have already discussed giving our team some different experiences on this trip. We are proud of how our team finished the regular season and we're excited they can play one more game together."
First-year head coach Paul Chryst will lead the Panthers into Birmingham. Chryst was hired at Pitt last December after serving seven seasons on the staff at Wisconsin, the last six as the Badgers' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Pittsburgh's 2012 regular season finished on a high note as the Panthers won their last two games over Rutgers and USF, 27-6 and 27-3, respectively. Three of Pitt's losses this season came by a combined 11 points, including a 29-26 three-overtime defeat last month to No. 1-ranked Notre Dame.
"We've been given a great opportunity to play a quality program like Ole Miss," Chryst said. "I know they finished the season strong and looked impressive in winning the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State. We are appreciative of the City of Birmingham and the BBVA Compass Bowl for giving us the chance to play one more game this season."
Tickets to the seventh annual BBVA Compass Bowl are now on sale. Tickets may be purchased by calling (877) 464-9529 or through the Bowl's web site at www.bbvacompassbowl.com. For information on corporate ticket packages, which include prime ticket locations, hospitality benefits and corporate exposure, call (205) 733-3776, ext. 103 or email David.L.Krakower@espn.com. For information on Group Ticket pricing, call (205) 733-3776, ext. 104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT BBVA COMPASS
BBVA Compass is a Sunbelt-based financial institution that operates more than 709 branches, including 368 in Texas, 93 in Alabama, 79 in Arizona, 65 in California, 45 in Florida, 38 in Colorado and 21 in New Mexico. BBVA Compass ranks among the top 20 largest U.S. commercial banks based on deposit market share and ranks among the largest banks in Alabama (2nd), Texas (4th) and Arizona (5th). BBVA Compass has been recognized as one of the leading Small Business Administration lenders and ranked third in American Banker's 2012 reputation study of the leading 30 banks in the U.S. Additional information about BBVA Compass can be found at www.bbvacompass.com.
ESPN Regional Television/Event Ownership
The nation's largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,200 sporting events. Content includes action from NCAA football, basketball and Olympic sports, NHRA and professional and amateur golf, accounting for more than 3,400 live and/or original hours of programming. ERT's owned and operated events reach over a million fans a year and provides more than 200 additional hours of programming.
In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, WAC) and manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several sporting events:
BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg; Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MAACO Bowl Las Vegas; Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.); Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Houston); Texas Kickoff Classic (Houston); Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl (Honolulu) and The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards
Sears Armed Forces Classic (Ramstein Air Base, Germany); Charleston Classic presented by Foster Grant (S.C.); DIRECTV Classic (Anaheim, Calif.); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Classic presented by Corona Extra (Madison Square Garden); Old Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (Bayamón); BracketBusters and State Farm Champions Classic (Georgia Dome, Atlanta)
ESPNU Warrior Classic
ESPN National Golf Challenge
For more information, visit ESPNPlus.com.
Rachel Margolis, ESPN at 860-766-2798 or Rachel.L.Margolis@espn.com; Ralph Evans, BBVA Compass at 205-297-3038 or Ralph.email@example.com; Norm Reilly, BBVA Compass Bowl Media Relations Director, 205-936-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BBVA Compass is a trade name of Compass Bank.
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