By Allen Moff | Staff writer
Both teams took part separately in The GoDaddy.com USS Alabama Team Luncheon, which featured a tour of the World War II battleship USS Alabama. Following a brief walk-through at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, the team attended a Mardi Gras Parade held in downtown Mobile, followed by a Pep Rally at the Mobile Convention Center, a fireworks display and a Street Party featuring the music of Hotwire.
— I think nearly everyone who has attended all of the events associated with the GoDaddy.com Bowl this week would agree that the USS Alabama Battleship tour has been the highlight of the week thus far. Flashes players, coaches and officials were first treated to lunch inside the Medal of Honor Aircraft Pavilion at USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. Dozens of U.S. fighter planes from previous wars hung from the rafters of this massive building. Paul Crane, who played center for a national championship team at Alabama and for the 1967 Super Bowl champion New York Jets, served as guest speaker. After the lunch, everyone on hand was invited to tour the massive USS Alabama Battleship on their own. Flashes players spent over an hour walking through the battleship, which shot down 22 enemy planes during World War II. The ship is 680 feet in length, with a beam over 108 feet wide, and weighed over 90 million pounds during battle while hauling a crew of about 2,500. We navigated at least 10 flights of steps that went both above and below the main deck. I could go on and on about this ship, just an incredible spectacle that was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Before the tour I spent about 20 minutes talking to current KSU offensive coordinator Brian Rock, along with fellow local media members. Most of what we talked about wasn't for print, but I can say that Rock is a great coach and a class individual who has some intriguing stories to tell from spending nearly three decades coaching college football. All signs point to Rock staying on new head coach Paul Haynes' staff, and I hope that's true.
— Next came the Mardi Gras Parade, which drew thousands of people into the streets of downtown Mobile. Beads and Moon Pies (invented in Mobile) were flying from dozens of huge floats featured in the parade along with marching bands from both Kent State and Arkansas State. Then fans from both schools gathered separately in the Mobile Convention Center parking lot for a fireworks display over the Mobile River, followed by a pep rally.
— The weather today was rather ugly again, at least by Mobile standards. It was cloudy all day, with highs reaching the low 50s but not feeling like it. Rain was expected for later Saturday night, but the forecast for tonight's game remains partly cloudy with a temperature around 50 degrees at kickoff.
A tailgate party for Flashes fans attending the game will begin around 5:30 p.m. Mobile time at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. New head coach Paul Haynes will be introduced to the crowd.
Kickoff: Tonight, 9 p.m.