Are you from Alabama, or at least familiar with it? It is a whole other world, really. I am originally from Atlanta, and you would think, geographically Alabama and Georgia can't be all that different. Really though, you might be in for a shock.
Tuscaloosa is an ugly town.
My favorite areas of Birmingham are Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, and Hoover. The 45 minute drive to Tuscaloosa might get old, but I agree -- Tuscaloosa sucks. Then again, I'm a little biased because I live in Auburn! but seriously, Tuscaloosa as a town really blows. Birmingham can be pretty fun though, and it has the best shopping in the state (but that's not saying much, seriously .. most people go to Altanta).