Birmingham, AL is very well known for the Civil Rights moments in the '60s. It was once well known by its title as "Pittsburgh of the South" for its steel industry roots. Today Birmingham should be known for its new unofficial title of "Capital of College Football." See this link below:
This article in the New York Times about college football interest shows the dark blue part of the map includes none other than the Magic City of Birmingham. Here are a few reasons why it should be considered the capital.
First of all is the almighty Crimson Tide. One national title is hard to come by for any school, but try 14 for the team in Crimson. But what makes the Alabama program so legendary is its legendary coaches.
That legacy begins with Wallace Wade and Frank Thomas who introduced "Southern" football to the big programs in the West and Midwest, to Paul "Bear" Bryant who won six national titles and his disciple Gene Stallings, who won the 1992 national title, on down to the recent college football icon by the name of Nick Saban who has more BCS titles than any coach in the FBS today.
Championships are just a common occurrence with the University of Alabama. Birmingham is only about 55 minutes way from Tuscaloosa, and the fanbase is deep in the biggest city of the state.
And if you live in Birmingham, and you are just tired of hearing about Alabama, there is always Auburn. If this school was in any other state, it would be the premier football program of that state.
But Auburn is no little brother to Alabama; in fact it has more Heisman Trophy Winners than its cross-state rivals. Auburn is a bit further away, but competes very well for Birmingham's attention.
Don't forget that they were the National Champions just a little longer than a year ago. As you can see, Auburn can be a good recruiting pick-up away from another National Championship.
There is a joke that says that a baby must pick from the day he is born between Alabama or Auburn. That decision does not include any professional team for football, basketball or any other sport. Nothing else matters in this state.
And one could argue that any other distraction is quickly shut down by the population themselves. Birmingham has about the same population as Jacksonville, Memphis, Salt Lake City and Oklahoma City. All those cities eventually picked up a professional team of their own.
Though Birmingham seems to be passed up every time, this shows a lot about the respect of college sports in this metro area.
This sound byte is from the Paul Finebaum Radio Show that broadcasts from Birmingham's 94.5 WJOX. This call prompted for ESPN to create a film by the name of "Roll Tide/War Eagle." This radio show seems to be tuned in just about every radio around the Birmingham area, specially during football season.
There could be an argument that prime time in radio is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. during this broadcast, as opposed to the 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. that is typical in most metro areas. And since the past three BCS Championship years, Paul Finebaum has exponentially grown his reach nationwide across satellite radio and online streaming.
Finebaum, along with SEC on CBS and College Gameday are staples through a regular football season in Birmingham.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen! Birmingham is home to the SEC, the premier college football conference in America. So even if the Crimson Tide or the Tigers aren't playing, the attention would be focused in the closest SEC team that would be doing its damage.
This is just the capital of a football country that is a world power. And SEC Commissioner Mike Slive seems to be a happy resident in a city where he is a walking celebrity.