For the last few seasons, the GoDaddy Bowl has been one of the last games of the postseason, and has often served as an appetizer for the college football championship. The contest now has been moved back to its original pre-Christmas slot for the first time since 2005, which means it is less than a month away.

Representatives from the Sun Belt and Mid-American conferences will clash at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Wednesday, Dec. 23. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.

The opponents will not be announced until Sunday or Monday, but the list of candidates has become clearer since Thanksgiving.

It was a crazy weekend in the MAC. Northern Illinois (8-4, 6-2) suffered what appeared to be a crushing loss to Ohio, but then No. 24 Toledo was also upset. This left a three-way tie in the Western Division, and NIU won the tiebreaker thanks to wins over Toledo and Western Michigan. Bowling Green (9-3, 7-1) won the Eastern Division and has secured the other berth in the MAC championship game to be played Friday night in Detroit.

(Photo/Courtesy of GoDaddy Bowl) 1st place winners (from left): 6th-8th Grade: Roman Hinckle, Causey Middle School; Kasie Tanley, New Horizons Credit Union; 11th-12th Grade: Ayaka Hara, Satsuma High School; 9th-10th Grade: Leah Brown, St. Paul’s Episcopal School.

(Photo/Courtesy of GoDaddy Bowl) 1st place winners (from left): 6th-8th Grade: Roman Hinckle, Causey Middle School; Kasie Tanley, New Horizons Credit Union; 11th-12th Grade: Ayaka Hara, Satsuma High School; 9th-10th Grade: Leah Brown, St. Paul’s Episcopal School.


Arkansas State (8-3, 7-0) clinched a share of the SBC title for the fourth time in the last five seasons with a 52-28 win over New Mexico State. Currently tied for second are Appalachian State (9-2, 6-1) and Georgia Southern (8-3, 6-1).

Appalachian State will close out its regular season this Saturday under the lights at Ladd-Peebles. The Mountaineers will face the University of South Alabama (5-6, 3-4) at 6:30, and the game will be available on ESPN3. The Jaguars must win to be eligible for a bowl.

● Although the players will not be here for a few weeks, bowl game activities are already underway. The GoDaddy Bowl and New Horizons Credit Union recently hosted the event’s 10th annual art competition with a banquet honoring the winners. During the last decade, almost $18,000 has been awarded to art programs at local schools.

More than 200 students entered this year’s competition, which has as its theme “Southern Charm.” Judges from the Eastern Shore Art Center and the Mobile Museum of Art selected the finalists.

The top finishers were: 6th through 8th grades — Roman Hinckle of Causey Middle School; 9th and 10th grades — Leah Brown of St. Paul’s Episcopal School; and 11th and 12th grades — Ayaka Hara of Satsuma High School. According to game organizers, winning artwork has been chosen for the front cover of the GoDaddy Bowl football program since 2007. All winners will be featured in the 2015 program.

This week, nearly 2,000 elementary students attended a program at the Mobile Civic Center Theater to recognize the winners of the Reading and Writing Contest hosted by the GoDaddy Bowl and Hoar Program Management. The top 10 finishers in the essay contest received contributions to a College Counts 529 fund ranging from $500 to $5,000.

A new event has been added to the bowl schedule this year with “A Christmas Experience” on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Mobile Civic Center. Headlining the show will be evangelist and author Franklin Graham along with Christian hip-hop recording artist and six-time Grammy Award winner TobyMac. Tickets cost $15, $25 and $35 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

For additional information on the football game, visit www.GoDaddyBowl.com or call 251-635-0011. Tickets are $45 for sideline seats and $15 for the end zone.

Soccer event this weekend
The Mobile Sports Authority has helped to bring the 3v3 Live Gulf Regional Soccer Tournament to Mobile this Saturday and Sunday. Teams from throughout the South will play at Herndon (Sage) Park and the intramural fields at the University of South Alabama.

Organizers say this is the final regional prior to the Disney 3v3 Soccer World Championships set for Jan. 16-18 in Orlando. Teams ranging from ages 6 to adult will compete for one last chance to qualify. These regional playoffs usually average between 85 and 180 six-person teams.

“3v3 Live is very excited to be coming to Mobile in December,” 3v3 President Mike Tew said. “This location will offer our teams a chance to play in the winter and then go to the beach.”

3v3 soccer, which began in 1996, only allows each team three players on a field smaller than a regulation pitch. This format provides each player more opportunities to touch the ball. For more information, visit 3v3live.com/gulf.

Forever Wild meeting set
The board of trustees for the Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust will conduct its quarterly meeting Dec. 10 in Spanish Fort. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Tensaw Theater at the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center on the Causeway.

Since 1992, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has used the trust to expand the number of public natural areas in the state for present and future generations. More information can be found at OutdoorAlabama.com.

At the meeting, administrators will provide information on program activities and tract assessments. It will also serve as a public hearing for anyone who would like to make comments about the program or current land nominations.

UM represented in MLS playoffs
The Major League Soccer league championship game is set for Sunday afternoon. Although they will not make an appearance in the final, two former University of Mobile players did help their teams reach the playoffs.

Michael Azira is a midfielder with the Seattle Sounders, which won its first-round match over the L.A. Galaxy before falling in the Western Conference semifinals to FC Dallas. Azira was an honorable mention All-American for the Rams in 2011.

Remi Roy is the goalkeeper coach for the New England Revolution, which lost in the first round to D.C. United. In his fifth season with the Revolution, Roy was also an honorable mention All-American for the Rams in 1999. He went on to serve UM as an assistant coach for 10 years.