UAB–Memphis rivalry

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"Battle for the Bones" redirects here. For the Fresno State–Louisiana Tech rivalry, see Battle for the Bone.
Trophy used in the "Battle for the Bones" football rivalry between Memphis and UAB. The Bones

The UAB–Memphis rivalry is a sports rivalry between the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers and the University of Memphis Tigers. The two NCAA Division I schools, formerly Conference USA rivals until Memphis joined the American Athletic Conference (The American) in 2013, compete in various sports, with men's basketball and college football in particular being prominent.

The rivalry began in 1984, when the two schools first met in men's basketball. The two programs are among Conference USA's strongest and the series has been highly competitive, though Memphis currently leads 30-10. The football rivalry began in 1997. Since 2006 it has been known as the "Battle for the Bones" due to its trophy, a bronze rack of ribs. The future of the rivalry is unclear as Memphis joined The American for the 2013-14 season.

Mens' basketball[edit]

Memphis-UAB basketball rivalry
Teams Memphis Tigers
UAB Blazers
Originated 1983
Series Memphis leads, 36-10
Latest Winner Memphis

The UAB–Memphis men's basketball rivalry has the longest history of all their sports, and tends to be the most intense and heated affair. The first matchup between the Memphis Tigers and UAB Blazers was played in 1984, when the teams first met in basketball. The two teams have played at least twice a year since 1992, when they both moved to the Great Midwest Conference and later to Conference USA. Over the years, Memphis and UAB have been two of the more successful teams in the conference.

Head coach Gene Bartow was influential in both programs. He coached Memphis (then Memphis State) from 1970 to 1974, and in 1978 he became the first head coach of UAB's new program, which he led until 1996. His long tenure and success with the Blazers has led to him being known as the "Father of UAB Athletics".[1]

On February 16, 2008 during a game at UAB, the #1-ranked Memphis Tigers were nearly upset before pulling out a 79-78 win. As the Tigers were down by 8 points with 2 minutes left, they went on a 9-1 run. After the conclusion of the game, an altercation between Memphis players and UAB fans occurred. Ultimately, people in the stands began booing the Memphis players off the court and throwing drinks and shakers at them as the players were escorted off the court by local police officers.[2]

Memphis currently leads the basketball series over UAB 36-10, including winning the last fifteen consecutive games.


The Blazers and Tigers began competing in football after the Blazers football team joined Division I in 1997. The series has been played nearly every year since, and is led by UAB with a win-loss record of 10 to 5. In 2006, the schools introduced a trophy, a 100-pound bronze rack of ribs alluding to the two cities' reputation for barbecue, and dubbed the game the "Battle for the Bones".[3] In keeping with the theme, a fan barbecue competition accompanies the game.[3][4]

Football results[edit]

UAB–Memphis football rivalry: Battle for the Bones
Year Home Team Score Visiting Team Score Location Series
1997 Memphis Tigers 28 UAB Blazers 7 Memphis, TN UM 1-0
1999 UAB Blazers 14 Memphis Tigers 38 Birmingham, AL UM 2-0
2000 UAB Blazers 13 Memphis Tigers 9 Birmingham, AL UM 2-1
2001 Memphis Tigers 14 UAB Blazers 17 Memphis, TN Even 2-2
2002 UAB Blazers 31 Memphis Tigers 17 Birmingham, AL UAB 3-2
2003 Memphis Tigers 10 UAB Blazers 24 Memphis, TN UAB 4-2
2004 UAB Blazers 35 Memphis Tigers 28 Birmingham, AL UAB 5-2
2005 Memphis Tigers 20 UAB Blazers 37 Memphis, TN UAB 6-2
2006 UAB Blazers 35 Memphis Tigers 29 Birmingham, AL UAB 7-2
2007 Memphis Tigers 25 UAB Blazers 9 Memphis, TN UAB 7-3
2008 UAB Blazers 30 Memphis Tigers 33 Birmingham, AL UAB 7-4
2009 Memphis Tigers 21 UAB Blazers 31 Memphis, TN UAB 8-4
2010 UAB Blazers 31 Memphis Tigers 15 Birmingham, AL UAB 9-4
2011 Memphis Tigers 35 UAB Blazers 41 Memphis, TN UAB 10-4
2012 UAB Blazers 9 Memphis Tigers 46 Birmingham, AL UAB 10-5



  1. ^ Steve Irvine (January 7, 2012). "UAB trying to treat today's game against Memphis as just another day at Bartow Arena". The Birmingham News. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ C-USA officials investigating what happened after Memphis-UAB game, ESPN, 2008-02-18, retrieved 2012-06-04 
  3. ^ a b Timanus, Eddie (2006-10-07), Weekend Preview: Plenty to watch in SEC games involving unbeatens, USA Today, retrieved 2012-06-04, "In a tasty twist, the game will inaugurate a new rivalry trophy, a 100-pound bronze rack of ribs. The newly christened "Battle for the Bones" will also feature a barbecuing contest for fans." 
  4. ^ Bryant, Walter (October 8, 2006) "Legion Field has nothing on ribs." The Birmingham News
  5. ^