The smoke has cleared and the selections have been made.
There is only one thing left to do – go bowling.
The Troy University Trojans accepted the invitation to do so on Sunday night but will be in a different place than season’s past.
The team will be headed down to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala. at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and will square off with another champion, the Central Michigan Chippewas, winners of the Mid-American Conference and ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
“Oh yea, we are definitely excited about playing in the GMAC Bowl,” head coach Larry Blakeney said.
“When you look at all the opportunities it provides us we really feel like we are taking that next step.
“It provides great exposure for the university and it puts two champions against one another – it’s is going to be a lot of fun for the players and the fans and it should be a great game,” the coach said.
The game will be played on Jan. 6 and will be televised by ESPN.
It will be the first time a team from Alabama will play in a Alabama bowl game, as well as the first appearance in the GMAC Bowl for both teams.
This will be the Trojans fourth bowl game in the last six seasons and coming into the game, the team is 1-2.
With the game being a few days shy of a month away, the Trojans will have plenty of time to prepare for the matchup and that is exactly what Blakeney plans on doing
“We are going to get into a schedule where we practice three-to-four times a week and really work hard on preparing,” he said.
“The guys will get off a little bit of a Christmas break and then we will come back and put the finishing touches on our preparation.”
The team will have much to prepare for as the Chippewas were led to an 11-2 record in large part by quarterback Dan LeFevour.
During this past season, LeFevour broke the NCAA record for career touchdowns – currently the quarterback has 148 touchdowns, 101 of those coming through the air.
Many of the players had said during the season they would like to finish off in New Orleans for the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
However, when it was all said and done Middle Tennessee State got the invitation and that is something the players said they were OK with.
“We aren’t disappointed about not going to New Orleans,” junior wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan said. “We are just happy to be going to a bowl game.”
“This is going to be a special game, everyone has worked hard for this point so we have a lot of reasons to be happy.
“It’s going to be a good game,” he added.
Senior qauterback Levi Brown said the opportunities that will be presented to Troy because of this game are endless.
“I am excited about [playing in the GMAC Bowl],” Brown said.
“This is a big opportunity for us – it puts us against a good team with a national audience.
“There are a lot of positives that come with this game,” he added.
While playing a ranked team on national television may add pressure to the game, Brown said he believes the team will be able to look past it.
“Our focus and attention is going to be on doing the best we can to prepare to win this game.”
As for the quarterback battle that will ensue come January, Brown, who this season, broke the Sun Belt single-season records for passing yards and total yards in a season, with 3,868 and 3,887, respectively, said it should be a lot of fun to watch.
“I’m not going to be on the field the same time as [LeFevour], but it is going to be a challenge [for our defense] to stop him,” Brown said.
“He is very good, he has thrown for like nine billion touchdowns throughout his career,” the quarterback laughed.