While many Bulldog fans want to see Mississippi State end up in the Liberty Bowl to take on Rice (the team, not the steamed or fried variety), some Mississippi State fans want to see the team end up in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham to face a foe out of the American Athletic Conference, most likely Houston.
While both sides have traded shots about the venues, the prestige of the game, opponents, and the cities, the time has come to delve deep into Birmingham and Memphis to determine the better bowl venue.
The Tale of the Tape: Memphis vs. Birmingham
Best failed pro sports team: Both Birmingham and Memphis have had their runs with non-NFL professional football leagues. Perhaps the most famous of these attempts came with the Birmingham Stallions and the Memphis Showboats of the United States Football League. Both teams drew strong crowds, but Birmingham did a better job on the field, twice winning the Eastern Conference in the Southern Division.
When it came to talent on the field, Memphis had more individual stars: Reggie White, Gary Zimmerman, Jim Kelly, Steve Young, and Lex Luger.
The rivalry returned when the Memphis Maniax and Birmingham Thunderbolts debuted as members of the XFL. The teams only met once on the gridiron, an opening week encounter that saw Rashaan Salaam score twice for Memphis in a 22-20 victory for the Maniax.
Birmingham 1, Memphis 0
Best Professional Wrestlers: In all honesty, this one would be a squash match. Being deep in the south, one would think that many talented wrestlers would have been born in Birmingham, or at least have been billed from Birmingham, but it turns out that is not true. Beautiful Bobby Eaton and the Alabama Jam hail from Huntsville, and Hardcore Holly hailed from Mobile.
In what would not last long, Jerry Lawler, who could be managed by Col. Robert Parker, would quickly defeat Teddy Long, who could be led by Sherry Martel. Unfortunately for Teddy Long, this could not be a tag team match, playa playa.
Birmingham 1, Memphis 1
Best City Landmark: Memphis has many famous places for visitors to visit. People traveling to Memphis can check out the Pyramid, the Mississippi River, or Graceland. Birmingham's most famous monument might be the statue of Vulcan in Vulcan Park. While Graceland can make one nauseous, it barely edges out the statue.
Memphis 2, Birmingham 1
Likelihood of being a victim of violent crime: At any given time, one in 63 people in Memphis will be a victim of violent crime. If you live in Memphis, your odds are 1 in 190 that your car will be stolen. 157 people or 24.1 for 100,000 residents were murdered there last year.
Birmingham does not have much to use as bragging points in this discussion. The city saw 72 people murdered (33 for every 100,000) residents, but in an interesting note, 30 of these murders happened in a dwelling. In Birmingham, one in 67 people will become a victim of a violent crime. There is also a 1 in 140 chance that your car will be stolen if you live in Birmingham.
The murders work out in a wash, and since those fans traveling to the city will not be living in either city, the stolen car problem is also a wash for most. Given that overall, someone in Memphis is slightly more likely to be a victim of violent crime than someone in Birmingham, the nod here will go to Birmingham.
Both cities have been ranked among the deadliest 100 cities in the United States.
TIE: Birmingham 2, Memphis 2
So dear readers, while all points to Memphis, if you had your choice, what would it be and why? Top vote earning city gets something maybe one day.