‘Tis the Season: Best College Football Bowl Names of All-Time

By Max Kaplan

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (Photo by BYU Graphics)

Today, the BYU Cougars defeated the San Diego State Aztecs in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is a whopping 7-word title with a length of 39 characters. A close second is the 6-word Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, coming in at 37 characters.

This got me thinking. What are the best bowl names (or corporate sponsorships) in bowl history? Have you ever made fun of the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl or wondered why there is a Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl?

My personal favorite bowl name is the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission.

Worst 5 Bowl Names

TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl (2012): Because nothing says football like filing your taxes.

Poulan Weed-Eater Independence Bowl (1990-96): Just why?

Dallas Football Classic (2011): You cannot create a brand-new bowl and suddenly declare it a ‘classic.’ This year they changed it to the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Not much better.

magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl (2008): magicJack is a USB appliance that lets you make unlimited phone calls.

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl presented by Bridgestone (2003–2007): The longest bowl name ever. One title sponsorship was not enough…

Funniest Retired Bowl Names

Salad Bowl (1947-51): Precursor to the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix.

Epson Ivy Bowl (1988-96): The Ivy League All-Stars played the Japan All-Stars in Japan each year. The Ivy League won every game. The games did not count towards official NCAA records because the two teams were not NCAA-affiliated schools.

Gotham Bowl (1961-62) in NYC: They tried to have one in 1960 as well, but only one team was willing to play.

California Raisin Bowl (1981-91): Naming rights purchased by the California Raisin Advisory Board.

Others (I am not making these up): Bluebonnet Bowl, Cherry Bowl, Cigar Bowl, Glass Bowl, Oil Bowl, Oyster Bowl, Pecan Bowl, Pelican Bowl, Refrigerator Bowl, Shrine Bowl, Tobacco Bowl, and Vulcan Bowl

Top 5 “What is that company?” Bowls

Ourhouse.com Florida Citrus Bowl (2000): Apparently, Ourhouse.com now redirects you to Amazon’s Home & Kitchen department.

Culligan Holiday Bowl (1998-2001): Culligan is a water treatment company in Illinois.

Insight.com Bowl (1996-2011): Insight Enterprises is a business to business technology provider.

Roady’s Truck Stops Humanitarian Bowl (2007-09): Nearly 350 locations in 45 states!

USF&G Sugar Bowl (1987-95): The United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company (Financial Services) went out of business in 1998. They also sponsored the USF&G Classic at English Turn Golf and Country Club in the PGA.

Name Changes in Bowls

The Pointsettia Bowl seems unique in that it has had the same corporate sponsor since its establishment in 2005. How volatile are bowl names?

Notes:

  • The Chick-fil-A Bowl formerly was the Peach Bowl until 1997.
  • The Outback Bowl formerly was the Hall of Fame Bowl until 1994.
  • Corporate sponsorships did not appear until the 1980s so the older bowls have fewer sponsorships per year.
  • The average sponsorship looks to be 5-6 years.
  • The average bowl is over 30 years old. However, only one-third of them are over 30 years old.
  • The BCS National Championship has had 6 sponsors (tied for the most) since its advent in 1998. Its purpose is to make money.

5 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season: Best College Football Bowl Names of All-Time

  1. Agree: awesome post, fantastic research. However, I beg to differ: the Poulan Weed-eater Bowl Independence Bowl, in beautiful Shreveport, La., is and always will be my favorite bowl name. It rolls trippingly off the tongue.

  2. My two favorite bowl names of all time were the GalleryFurniture.com Bowl and IBM OS/2 Warp Fiesta Bowl. Also, I’ve seen the trophy for the Epson Ivy Bowl in former Columbia coach Ray Tellier’s office. Quite a site to behold.

  3. I’ve got to go with Roady’s Truck Stops Humanitarian Bowl…because I’ve met so many humanitarians at truck stops in my time. Not a surprise that they were three years and out in the sponsorship game!

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