2011 BBVA Compass Bowl

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The 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl was played on Saturday, January 8, 2011 with the Pitt Panthers (8-5) of the Big East defeating the Kentucky Wildcats (6-7) of the Southeastern Conference by a score of 27-10.

This was the 5th Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field, and the first of four named for primary sponsor BBVA Compass. The announced attendance was 41,207, the second-highest attended game up to that point.

Kentucky opened the scoring in the first quarter with a bowl-record 50-yard field goal. Pitt tied it up with a 21-yard field goal early in the 2nd, and scored twice more to go into half-time with a 13-3 lead. Pitt and Kentucky traded touchdowns in the 3rd quarter, but Pitt protected their lead and piled on with a late touchdown in the 4th, for a final score of 27-10. The bowl's record for longest field goal was set at 50 yards by Kentucky's Craig McIntosh. Game MVP was Pitt's Dion Lewis, who at the time was projected to be a Heisman Trophy front-runner for the 2011 season.

The loss ended Joker Phillips' first season as head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats. Pitt defensive coordinator Phil Bennett served as interim head coach for the Panthers following the forced resignation of Dave Wannstedt.

Ticket prices increased from $40 to $50, with corner seats dropping from $40 to $30. Payouts for the 2010 game were increased from $900,000 to $1 million for the SEC and from $600,000 to $900,000 for the Big East. The MAC and Sun Belt also had agreements to participate if the primary conferences had no eligible teams. Along with its primary sponsorship in the Birmingham game, BBVA Compass also secured secondary sponsorships for the Texas Bowl in Houston, the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, and the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque.

Former Alabama running back Siran Stacy delivered the keynote at the FCA breakfast on Wednesday January 5. Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden and sports psychologist Kevin Elko spoke at the Monday Morning Quarterback Club luncheon on Friday January 7, where Bowden was awarded the Golden Flake Legend of Birmingham Award. The street festival and pep rally that afternoon featured Groove Daddy and country singer Josh Thompson. North Carolina-based Christian rock band "Building 429" headlined the ESPN Fan Zone outside Legion Field.

Birmingham Bowl
Site: Legion Field
Names: Papajohns.com Bowl (2006-2010), BBVA Compass Bowl (2011-2014), Birmingham Bowl (2015)
By year: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, Jan. 2015, Dec. 2015

References

  • Solomon, Jon (August 7, 2010) "Papa John's: New NFL strategy, higher ESPN financial demand mean cutting bowl ties." The Birmingham News
  • Piper, Ben (November 4, 2010) "BBVA Compass takes over as Birmingham Bowl sponsor." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Solomon, Jon (November 5, 2010) "ESPN develops new financial model for BBVA Compass Bowl." The Birmingham News
  • Segrest, Dough (January 8, 2011) "BBVA Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh caps a rough month with a rousing victory." The Birmingham News