Bearcats To Papajohns.com Bowl

CINCINNATI — The University of Cincinnati has accepted an invitation to play in the 2007 Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, Ala. Cincinnati meets the University of Southern Mississippi of Conference USA on Dec. 22 at 1 p.m. (ET) at Legion Field.

Tickets for the Papajohns.com Bowl are $30 and are available on-line at www.GoBEARCATS.com or by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX. Starting tomorrow on the Bowl Central page of GoBearcats.com, fans will have a variety of travel options to choose, including same-day and two-day (Friday-Saturday) airplane charters as well as a two-day bus trip. Bearcats' fans interested in traveling to Birmingham for the entire week of bowl festivities should contact Joel at Provident Travel (800) 323-9230 for customized packages.

The bowl game is the 13th television appearance by the Bearcats this season and the 12th on the ESPN family of networks.

"This is a great opportunity for our student-athletes who deserve the opportunity to play in consecutive bowl games," said Director of Athletics Mike Thomas. "This is a reward for the Bearcats to face a tradition-rich team and have a chance for 10 wins. We look forward to making the trip to the beautiful City of Birmingham, and seeing the Bearcats hit the field."

Victorious in its last two bowl games, Cincinnati is 5-4 all-time in postseason games. UC won the 2007 International Bowl, 27-24 in Brian Kelly's first game leading the team. In 2005, Cincinnati topped Marshall, 32-14 in the 2004 Fort Worth Bowl. This will be UC's sixth bowl appearance in the last eight seasons.

"I am excited for our program to be going to bowl games in back-to-back years," stated head coach Brian Kelly. "After a 9-3 season, this group deserves an opportunity to play one more game. I am happy to be going to Birmingham. We have a shot at 10 wins and to make our mark in UC history. By the way, Alabama has been good to me. I won two Division II National Championships in Alabama and I understand this is a passionate state as it relates to college football."

In 2007, the Bearcats ended the regular season at 9-3 overall and third in the BIG EAST Conference with a 4-3 record. They defeated three Top 25 teams this season, including wins at then-No. 20 USF, No. 21 Rutgers and at home against No. 16 Connecticut.

Southern Miss. ended its 2007 regular season at 7-5 overall and 5-3 mark in C-USA. Head coach Jeff Bower, after 17 years at the helm, heads into the bowl game coaching his final game.

The all-time series between Cincinnati and Southern Miss. is knotted, at 7-7. The two sides have not tangled since Gino Guidugli led No. 21-rated UC to a 52-24 win in Hattiesburg, Miss. on Nov. 6, 2004.

The Bearcats are not unfamiliar with Legion Field, the site of the Papajohns.com Bowl. The Bearcats are 5-3 in the historic stadium with all eight meetings coming against former Conference USA foe UAB.

"We need to continue the energy and excitement around Bearcats football that we enjoyed at Nippert Stadium," Thomas added. "This started last season in the International Bowl and continues. We enjoyed a great homefield environment with three sellout crowds this season. Taking that excitement on the road to the Papajohns.com Bowl is our top priority."

Head coaches and student-athletes from both UC and Southern Miss. will be a part of a Papajohns.com Bowl press conference to be held Thursday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham.


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