In the powerhouse world of Alabama college football, the Blazers have long been the scrappy underdog.
This season, there was a turnaround for the University of Alabama at Birmingham: A new coach led the team to six wins, game attendance doubled to more than 20,000, and after a 45-24 victory against Southern Miss, the Blazers became eligible to play in a bowl game for the first time in a decade.
Then it came crashing down.
A few days after that lopsided victory, university President Ray L. Watts announced he was killing the football program, making UAB the first college to drop a Division I football team in nearly 20 years. Five days later, no bowl invitation,...