#20 Houston and Auburn Selected to Play in the 15th TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The University of Houston (11-2), representing the American Athletic Conference, and Auburn University (6-6), representing the Southeastern Conference, will meet in the 15th TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 28. The game will kick off at 11 a.m. CST at Birmingham’s new Protective Stadium and will air on ESPN and Bowl Season Radio.

“We have a great matchup this year with Houston and Auburn playing at our brand new venue, Protective Stadium. We look forward to having the teams and their fans spend the holidays in Birmingham to enjoy the unique southern hospitality and food that our city offers. We hope local football fans join the free pre-game bowl festivities at Uptown on December 27th and 28th,” said TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl Executive Director Mark Meadows. “We encourage everyone to purchase their tickets now while they are available.”

“We’re excited about the opportunity to compete in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl against a good Auburn football team. Our players and coaches have worked hard to put our team in this position. I know the chance to go out and try to win a 12th game this season will be a strong motivator for our group, and we look forward to the challenge,” said Houston Head Football Coach Dana Holgorsen.


“We are thrilled for the opportunity and stage the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl provides our student-athletes, coaches and staff, as they look to close out an already historic season with another victory. Along with our fans, we’re looking forward to watching this group compete one more time with the chance to reach 12 victories and send out our seniors the right way,” said Houston Vice President for Athletics Chris Pezman.


The Houston Cougars are 11-2 and currently ranked #20 nationally. This will be Houston’s second appearance in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl, last playing against Vanderbilt in 2014, where they lost 41-24. Houston is led by Coach Holgorsen, who is in his third year with the Cougars.

“Auburn football has a long history of playing in Birmingham, and now we have a chance to continue that against a nationally ranked Houston team that has won 11 games this year,” said Auburn Head Football Coach Bryan Harsin. “Our mindset is to end the season with a win as we build momentum for 2022, while allowing our guys to enjoy a great bowl experience. This game is an opportunity for a number of our players to play close to home and many of our fans to easily attend after Christmas. We want the Auburn Family to turn the new Protective Stadium in Birmingham orange and blue, creating a home field advantage on game day.”

“We look forward to competing in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl and the opportunity to send our seniors off on a positive note as we build for the future,” Auburn Director of Athletics Allen Greene said. “We invite the Auburn Family to support the Tigers December 28 in the first postseason game at state-of-the-art Protective Stadium.”


The Auburn Tigers are 6-6 and led by Coach Harsin, who is in his first year at Auburn. This will be Auburn’s second appearance in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl, last playing against Memphis in 2016, when they won 31-10.

Auburn and Houston have played six times, with Auburn leading the series 5-1. The teams last played each other in 1973, when Auburn won 6-0 in a game played at Auburn.

Tickets can be purchased here. All seating is reserved, with ticket pricing starting at $30. All tickets will be delivered digitally.

In commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl, a new logo will be used for this Bowl season. Click here to download the new logo for media usage.

The TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl is one of 17 college football bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events. For more information, please visit TicketSmarterBirminghamBowl.com. For up-to-the-minute information, please follow our social handles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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ESPN Events 
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of 35 collegiate sporting events nationwide. The roster includes five early-season college football games, 17 college bowl games, 12 college basketball events and a college softball event, which accounts for approximately 400 hours of live programming, reaches nearly 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in more than 10 markets across the country, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

Local Media Contact:

Heather Jeffcoat, 205-515-1972 or [email protected] 


ESPN Media Contact:

Bill Hofheimer, 860-766-9589 or [email protected]