Published December 14, 2018
It’s an 18-hour road trip. Flights, given the proximity to the holidays, are upwards of $500 round trip (although we found one for $374). Still, there are plenty of good reasons to make the trek to Mobile, Alabama, for UB’s game against Troy in the Dollar General Bowl.
For starters, the forecast this week in Mobile calls for sunshine and temperatures in the low- to mid-60s — shorts and T-shirt weather to most vitamin D-starved Western New Yorkers, especially this time of year.
And, accompanying the mild weather will be a schedule full of events in the days leading up to the 20th annual Dollar General Bowl, which will be played Dec. 22 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on the University of Southern Alabama campus.
It’s the first-ever football meeting between UB and Troy. The two universities competed against each other in basketball in the 1990s when both were members of the Mid-Continent Conference (now the Summit League). At that time, Troy was called Troy State University; the word “State” was dropped in 2004.
Game tickets are $45 and can be purchased in person at the Alumni Arena box office, online, or by calling 1-877-UB-THERE. The Bulls fan sections are on the west side of the field.
If you’re not going to Mobile, visit the UB Athletics bowl game page for official watch parties, and how you can contribute, even if you’re not going to the game, by purchasing $15 tickets that will be donated to nonprofit organizations in the Mobile area.
Here’s a look at the events the Dollar General Bowl committee has organized as Mobile rolls out the red carpet to welcome Buffalo and Troy. Note that all times are Central.
Travel day: Teams will be arriving in Mobile and will be greeted with a welcome press conference at 3:30 p.m. at Mobile Downtown Airport. At 7 p.m., each team’s hotel will host a kickoff party featuring Southern food, games and live entertainment. There will even be barbers on hand to make sure the players look GQ for the week.
Wintzell’s Wives Day Out: 9 a.m., downtown Mobile
The wives of the coaching staff and administrators will show their creative side with a painting event at Fli Studios, followed by lunch at Wintzell’s Oyster House.
Hospital visit: Players and coaches from both teams will visit USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital. They’ll meet with young patients there, and present one of two roll-up, bedside gaming units donated by the Dollar General Bowl and Gamers Outreach.
Team bowling challenge: 8 p.m., Eastern Shore Lanes
What’s a bowl game without bowling? This isn’t just a friendly competition between members of the Bulls and Trojans: The team that won the bowling challenge has won the game in 15 of the 19 years of the event.
Chick-fil-A Battleship USS Alabama team luncheon: 11 a.m., Battleship Memorial Park
Celebrating 50 years on the Mobile Bay, the USS Alabama will serve as the backdrop for a luncheon for the bowl teams, which will get to tour the World War II battleship known as “The Mighty A” afterward while meeting with fans and local media.
DGB Mayor’s Luncheon: Noon, Mobile Convention Center Exhibit Hall
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson hosts this annual event, which this year features football great Archie Manning — father of Peyton and Eli – as the keynote speaker. Tickets cost $30. The event also will feature a performance from the UB and Troy bands.
This is Alabama Street Party: 5 p.m., Mardi Gras Park
There will be music and other activities, plus photo opps with Santa.
Mardi Gras Parade: 6:30 p.m., downtown Mobile
Fun fact: Mardi Gras’ American origins aren’t in New Orleans, they’re in Mobile, where the Fat Tuesday celebration began in 1703 — 134 years before the first recorded Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. The skies of downtown Mobile will be filled with beads, moon pies and more. Local high school marching bands, plus the bands from UB and Troy, will also perform.
Pep rally: 7:30 p.m., Mardi Gras Park
UB and Troy will hold their pep rallies immediately following the parade in a battle for marching band supremacy. The night concludes with a fireworks display over downtown Mobile.
Dec. 22: Game day
Kickoff is at 6 p.m. Central time, but Bulls fans going to the game should head to Ladd-Peebles Stadium early for a pre-game party hosted by the UB Office of Alumni Engagement. The party starts at 4 p.m., and registration is required. Tickets, which are separate from the game ticket, cost $20, or $10 for students. Registration is required by Dec. 17.
If you do go, just make sure you’re saying Mobile correctly: It’s pronounced Moe-beel, with emphasis on the second syllable.