It's Bama/Iowa State in the Independence Bowl

After an unpredictable chain of events that saw at least two bowl committees make surprise selections, Sunday afternoon the Mainstay Independence Bowl formally extended a bid to Alabama. <br><br>In an intra-conference matchup between the SEC and Big 12, the Tide will face the Cyclones of Iowa State.

"We're extremely excited about having Alabama at the Independence Bowl," Executive Director Glen Krupica said. "We've been very fortunate to have had some outstanding programs over the last few years participate like Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, LSU and Army.

"With Alabama, you have one of the great names in the history of college football."

The Tide's opponent will be Iowa State of the Big 12 Conference. Riding one of the best pass defenses in the nation, the Cyclones finished with a 7-4 record. The game will mark the second bowl trip in a row for Iowa State, after having gone bowless the previous 22 years. Alabama and Iowa State have never met.

The game will take place on Thursday, December 27 at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. Kickoff is set for 6:30 pm (CST) with television coverage provided by ESPN. The teams arrive on the 22nd, with bowl events stretching through the Christmas holidays. "We feel a great responsibility to show the Crimson Tide a tremendous bowl experience," Krupica said. "To provide the student-athletes with an experience they won't forget. Our main focus is on the participants. It always has been in this market."

2001 Mainstay Independence Bowl

Tide Head Coach Dennis Franchione commented on the trip; "The Independence Bowl has a great reputation. As I've talked to teams and coaches that have been there, they all reinforce that the kids and the coaches have a great time. And the hospitality is one of the best of all the bowls."

"We were glad to accept this bid," said Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore. "We're pleased to have the opportunity to play against the Big 12 and Iowa State. I'm thrilled for Coach Fran and our football team and for their strong finish, which gave us this opportunity.

"I want to emphasize the opportunity that we have to play in a post-season bowl. I appreciate Glen and his city for following us through the year. They've been to quite a few of our games. We look forward to an exciting trip and hopefully a great win."

Because of the late ending to this year's season, Tide fans will have to move quickly to purchase tickets. "Priority ticket orders were mailed last week, and there is a 5 pm deadline Tuesday to turn in those orders," said Larry White, Alabama's Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations. ""Starting Wednesday, any of our ticket allotment not sold through priority tickets will be on sale for $30 per ticket. The number to call is 1-800-240-2300. Orders will be taken starting at 8 am on Wednesday."

Both Alabama and Iowa State were allotted 12,000 tickets, located on the West (Alabama) and East (Iowa State) stands respectively. "We encourage fans to call the schools first," Krupica said. "They have the better tickets. We are probably about 5,000 tickets away from selling out locally, but the better tickets will be in the hands tomorrow of Alabama. If they end up requesting beyond that, perhaps we'll have something to provide beyond their allotment."

Tickets for the 2001 MainStay Independence Bowl are still available through bowl officials by calling 888.414.BOWL or through the ticket office located in Suite 120 of the American Tower in downtown Shreveport, or through the internet at Individual tickets start at only $30, with $25 south endzone seats also still available.

"Once all their tickets are exhausted, then we'll appreciate Alabama pointing their fans in our direction," Krupica said.

Despite being played in the Deep South, last year's Independence Bowl between Mississippi State and Texas A&M took place in a driving snowstorm. But Krupica promises better weather this time around. "In 1999 we had 69 degrees at kickoff, but last year it was 26 (degrees) in a real blizzard--not just a Southern dusting. We have those type snow storms every 16 years, so we'll probably have some weather somewhere in between."

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