Sunday, December 05, 2004
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TUSCALOOSA -- The University of Alabama has been invited to participate in the 2004 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl presented by Bridgestone, according to an announcement Sunday afternoon by Director of Athletics Mal Moore.
The Crimson Tide (6-5, 3-5 SEC) will face the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-5, 3-5 Big Ten) in an 11 a.m. kickoff on New Year's Eve at The Coliseum in Nashville.
"On behalf of the city of Nashville, the Music City Bowl Board, our staff and volunteers, I can't say how happy we are to have the University of Alabama represent the Southeastern Conference in our game this year," Scott Ramsey, Executive Director of the Music City Bowl, said as he formally invited Alabama to the 2004 Music City Bowl late Sunday afternoon.
"We are a relatively new game compared to a lot of the other bowls, but we are excited about hosting the fans, the University, Coach (Mike) Shula and his players and we are going to make it a great week for them. I can't tell you how excited we are here in Nashville."
Alabama will be making its 52nd all-time bowl appearance and will be seeking its 30th all-time bowl win at the 2004 Music City Bowl. The Crimson Tide holds the NCAA record for most bowl appearances and bowl victories entering the 2004 season.
The Crimson Tide will be playing in the Music City Bowl for the second time in the bowl's brief six-year history. Alabama dropped a 38-7 decision to Virginia Tech in the inaugural Music City Bowl on Dec. 29, 1998. That game was played at Vanderbilt Stadium.
"On behalf of The University of Alabama, and certainly on behalf of Dr. (Robert E.) Witt, we are thrilled and honored to accept this offer to play in the Music City Bowl," Alabama Director of Athletics Mal Moore said. "This is an unbelievable opportunity for us, and given the situation we have faced the last couple of years, I want to say too how proud I am of Coach Shula and staff, and certainly the players, to put us in this position in the first year that we are eligible to go to a bowl and we won the games necessary to get there."
"We are thrilled to be going to Nashville and playing in the Music City Bowl," Alabama head football coach Mike Shula said. "Our players worked hard all year and fought through a lot of tough injuries. This senior class has been through a lot. They are excited about playing in the post season.
"This will be my first experience as a coach. I remember what bowl games were like as a player and know that our guys are going to have a lot of fun, and yet they are going to work real, real hard between now and the time we kick the ball off and get themselves as ready as they can."
Minnesota is back in Nashville for the second time in three years. The Golden Gophers beat Arkansas 29-14 in the 2002 Music City Bowl, the SEC's fifth straight loss in the Nashville bowl game.
The date with Minnesota will be the first-ever meeting between these two schools. This will be the seventh time that Alabama has faced a Big Ten in a post-season bowl game, with UA holding a 4-2 series lead in the previous six meetings.
Alabama is 13-8 all-time against the current members of the Big Ten Conference, while Minnesota is 3-3 against the SEC.
The SEC has lost five of the previous six Music City Bowl games. The only SEC team to win in Nashville was Auburn, who posted a 28-14 win over Wisconsin last season at The Coliseum.
"We want to represent the Southeastern Conference in the way that Alabama knows how and have a great week in Nashville and hopefully come home with a win," coach Shula added.
Moore also announced Sunday afternoon that the Crimson Tide had already sold its allotment of tickets for the
Music City Bowl.
"I love Nashville. This will be a great trip. This will be a great trip for our fans. We have sold out our allotment of tickets already and that is a good indication."
Fans are encouraged to contact the Music City Bowl for ticket information. Ticket prices for the Bowl begin at $15 and $30 for Upper Level, $45 for Lower Level and $65 for Club Level and are available in all sections of The Coliseum. Tickets can be purchased in Nashville by calling Ticketmaster at 615-255-9600 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com
The Crimson Tide will begin bowl preparations later this month and is expected to arrive in Nashville for the bowl festivities on Dec. 26. The 2004 Music City Bowl is set for Dec. 31, 2004 at 11 a.m. (CT) and the game will be televised by ESPN, with Dave Barnett, Bill Curry, David Norrie and Alex Flanagan calling the action.