It’s the holiday season, and for college football fans across the country, that means it’s time for one thing….ridiculous bowl games!
Though coaches (and some fans, as you’ll read) would probably go all Herm Edwards on you if you dare question the importance of such contests as the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Duck Commander Independence Bowl, or (god forbid) the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, there have been some classics that will go down in the annals of college football history as some of the most cockamamie, existential athletic events ever contested.
Just click through the slideshow below and fill your senses with the wonderment, passion and pageantry of bowl season.
Try to contain your excitement.
This gem of a bowl game was around for just two seasons (2000-01), but in its short time, it made an impact on all of our lives that is still felt to this day. East Carolina defeated Texas Tech, 40-27, in the inaugural edition of this game, while Texas A&M pasted TCU, 28-9, in the bowl’s finale. Ahh, those were the days.
The game was played at the old Astrodome in Houston, and the 2001 edition was the final college football game ever played in that eighth wonder of the world. It even led to this classic article by ESPN’s Bill Simmons, back in his “Page 2”-Sports Guy days, before he transformed into the most annoying, high-pitched broadcaster on television.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is BY FAR the biggest game in San Diego County all season long, and there’s no doubt that the residents of San Diego County and customers of San Diego County Credit Union understand that fact.
If you don’t think that the San Diego County Credit Union gets its money’s worth from its sponsorship of the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, particularly with the game being played at Qualcomm Stadium in downtown San Diego, San Diego County, and including the San Diego State Aztecs for the past three seasons, well…I just don’t know what to tell you.
Everyone in San Diego looks forward to this game all year long, and local television news anchor Ron Burgundy’s annual package on the impact that the game has on the community is always well-received. I mean, the game is named after poinsettias. Now that’s classy.
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Who wouldn’t get jacked up to play for the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl trophy??!! I know I would. The team that wins gets a lifetime supply of Little Caesars pizza (not really, but that would be cool, right?) and the winning coach always makes a ridiculous speech about how much this game means to the school and its fan base.
Just look at then-Marshall coach Rick Minter making this impassioned speech after his Thundering Herd outlasted the mighty Ohio Bobcats in The Fat Uncle of them All back in 2009.
Look at how ridiculous he looks.
You know he wishes he had this moment back.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl
The Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl is like the white whale of college football bowl games, based on the fact that no one I’ve ever met has ever seen, heard of, or thought about (much less been to) a Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, outside of its sponsorship of this bowl. I’m not even sure Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is actually a real thing; it might just be a bowl game secretly sponsored by The Onion. Their website even looks like a fake. Like, I feel like you could click on one of the links and it’ll take you to The Onion’s homepage.
If there is such a thing as Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, I’m thinking it has something to do with Chef Boyardee. I don’t know why, but I’ve always made that connection.
In a complete acquiescence to corporate America , the NCAA, the Ecuadorian mafia, or whomever controls the bowl games in college football, decided to let the GMAC Bowl be a thing from 2000-2010. (It’s now called the Go Daddy Bowl).
The winning school in this bowl game received $750,000. Probably not a smart financial decision, given the fact that approximately 11 people knew the bowl existed during its 11-year run.
This game is probably best remembered for its 2001 edition, in which future Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich led Marshall back from a 38-8 halftime deficit to edge East Carolina, 64-61, in overtime. It is widely considered one of the greatest meaningless bowl games of all-time.
We’re not making this up–this was a legitimate bowl game from 1948-52, played at old Montgomery Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona. It was called the Salad Bowl because it was sponsored by the Arizona Vegetable Growers’ Association, and its proceeds actually went to charities that helped out disabled children, so yeah….you feel bad about making fun of it now, don’t you?
Back in the Salad Bowl’s salad days, The Vegetarian of Them All was almost always a heated contest between an Arizona school and a team that no longer plays Division I football. Drake edged Arizona, 14-13, in the 1949 edition of the game, while Xavier (OH) defeated Arizona State, 33-21, in 1950.
Dayton also played in the game in 1952, and then things got weird, as teams like Camp Brekinridge, the Skyline All-Stars and the Border All-Stars started playing in it. Those are most certainly not college football teams.
Again, we’re not making this up–the Bacardi Bowl was played in Havana, Cuba, between 1907 and 1946. LSU defeated Havana University, 56-0, on Christmas Day in the original version of the bowl game. SEC!! SEC!!
Havana got its revenge the next year though, as the city’s athletic club trounced Tulane, 11-0, for the Bacardi title in the next version of the game, in 1910. But Mississippi State won one for the States and one-upped the Cubans in 1912, beating Havana Athletic Club, 12-0.
When Georgia Teachers College smoked Havana U., 27-7, in 1939, the Cubans called it quits. There was only one more Bacardi Bowl, a 55-0 waxing of HU by Southern Miss in 1946.
Gracias a Dios.
Duck Commander Independence Bowl
Duck Commander, the seller of the highest-quality duck call and duck and buck call accessories in the United States, sponsors this annual classic that was once known as the Weed Eater Independence Bowl (who could forget).
Just look at the passion, excitement, and pure, unadulterated joy in South Carolina fans’ eyes as their team staved off a below-.500 season with a victory over 6-6 Miami in the 2014 version of the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.
Bowl season…..feel the excitement!
Curiously, the short-lived Cigar Bowl was not played in Cuba, and it had about as long of a lifespan as those people who regularly smoke cigars can reasonably expect. The game, which was instead played in Tampa, Florida, was around from 1947-54. Tampa now hosts the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day (which I used to think was in Australia).
The game, pictured above, was sponsored by the Tampa Egypt Temple Shrine and is probably best remembered for its 1949 edition, which was a barnburner between Missouri Valley and West Chester that ended in a 13-13 tie.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
I’ll always remember where I was when Colorado State won the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in 2013. This is mostly because I said, “I’ll always remember where I was when Colorado State won the Gildan New Mexico Bowl,” in 2013, as a CSU grad was celebrating her team’s 48-45 win over Washington State. She subsequently reamed me out, talking about my job performance that day, my inability to beat Candy Crush Level 277, and the fact that my great-grandfather never even finished that one semester at community college.
That tells you all you need to know about the passion, tradition, and history of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
This game is INTENSE. There’s no two ways about it. I’m sure some sports writer in a television station working news on Saturdays in Utah found that out this year, when he tried to make sarcastic comments to a co-worker with a degree from Utah State as she celebrated her Aggies’ 2014 Gildan New Mexico Bowl victory.
Honorable Mentions: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, uDrove Humanitarian Bowl, Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, Cosmopolitan Bowl, Refrigerator Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Papa Johns.com Bowl, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, SportzEdge.com Your Sports, Your Voice Bowl (OK, we made the last one up).