Friday, December 18, 2009

The "What" Bowl?

Ok, so the bowl season officially kicks of tomorrow with the New Mexico Bowl and the St. Petersburg Bowl. If I'm not mistaken, 33 bowls will be played before the BCS National Championship Game. That's correct, 33.

Over the years many college football fans have asked, "why so many pointless bowl games?" I myself asked the same question as I saw the number of bowls double over the past 15 years. Its like every year I would say, "Oh brother, another one."

But I get it. College football is a business and if they can make the money-- hey, why not?


I do have a problem with some of the names given to these bowl games. I mean, who thinks up these boring names? And I also have a problem with some of the older bowls who have sold out to corporate sponsorship.

Let's start with tomorrow's games (New Mexico and St. Petersburg). Now c'mon-- these names are boring. Couldn't they come up with something catchier? For example, the New Mexico Bowl-- why not call it the Sombrero Bowl or the Cactus Bowl? And the St. Petersburg Bowl-- why not call it the Sunshine Bowl or the Pelican Bowl. St. Petersburg is known as the Sunshine City and the Pelicans is the name of their rugby team. Yes, rugby is played in St. Petersburg.

In the next few days, we'll be watching the Hawaii Bowl and the New Orleans Bowl. The Hawaii Bowl used to be call the Aloha Bowl. What is wrong with calling it the Aloha Bowl? I always found it to be a catchy name-- much better than the Hawaii Bowl. And the New Orleans Bowl? Boring! Why not call it the Cajun Bowl?

I mean, just look at the big boys. Part of their mystique comes from their classic and iconic names. The Rose Bowl. The Sugar Bowl. The Orange Bowl. The Fiesta Bowl. Now these are awesome names.

And going down to the next tier, we have some great names also-- the Cotton Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the Gator Bowl, the Liberty Bowl, the Sun Bowl and the Independence Bowl.

I could also live with-- the Humanitarian Bowl, the Alamo Bowl, the International Bowl and the Emerald Bowl.

Now we come to my other problem--

First of all, I don't have any beef with corporate sponsorship per say. Almost every bowl has a sponsor (i.e. The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, the FedEx Orange Bowl). My problem is with bowls who have abandoned their classic names and sold their souls to their corporate sponsor.

Let's start with the worst of the worst-- the Citrus Bowl. Remember the Citrus Bowl? Well, its now called the Capital One Bowl. When the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets won a share of the national championship back in 1990, next to their name, it says (won Florida Citrus)-- not (won Capital One). What was wrong with calling it the Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl, like it used to be called?

The second worst of the worst-- the Peach Bowl. Remember the Peach Bowl? Now its called the Chick-fil-a Bowl. When "Chick-whateva" became its sponsor, it was called the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. That's ok. But why drop its classic name? So if Chick-fil-A decides to sponsor the Ty Cobb Estate are they going to change his nickname from the Georgia Peach to the Georgia Chick-fil-A? Just a thought.

Other bowls who have dropped their good names: The Hall of Fame Bowl (now the Outback Bowl), the Copper Bowl (now the Insight Bowl) and the Motor City Bowl (now the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl). Why not just call this one, the Pizza Bowl presented by Little Caesars? Just a thought.


My belief is that naming bowls after their corporate sponsor took off with the creation of the infamous Blockbuster Bowl (now called the Champ Sports Bowl) back in 1990. This was all part of Blockbuster Videos founder Wayne Huizenga's mission of making South Florida the mecca of the sports world. In a short period of time he created this overrated bowl, bought the Miami Dolphins, created the MLB's Florida Marlins and the NHL's Florida Panthers.

But, I guess "Wayne's World" is a story for another day.

Anyway, bad names and all, there are some good match-ups in the upcoming bowl games. Some of them should be fun to watch.

Stats courtesy of Wikipedia


  1. Good point Jose! I don't mind all of the bowls, it's good for the schools and the kids. If you don't like 'em, don't watch 'em, but a new naming convention is in need. I suggest they name some bowls from college greats, like the Red Granger Bowl, someday the Tebow Bowl.

  2. Excellent idea, Charley. I didn't think of it that way. Naming them after the college greats does have a nice ring to it.

    But yes, I think there's a lot to a name. Just look at how players celebrate by putting oranges and roses in their mouths when their teams clinch a berth or win those 2 great bowls.

    Naming them after the city or state or corporate sponsor is boring and quite frankly, dumb.

  3. Jose,

    I am troubled with your casual waving off of core issues with the bowl system. You write "College football is a business and if they can make the money--hey, why not?" But isn't that the point? It is that very corporate interest which you outline so well in your discussion about the naming system that continues to corrupt the sacntity of college football. Why so many bowls? Because those corporate guys CAN get in there an muck things up. A Gallop poll showed that 85% of college football fans prefer a playoff system. And yet our wishes are no where represented and listened to because "if they can make money--hey, why not?". Its the case of the emporer's new clothes except everyone is saying "hey dude, you're buck naked" and tht guy just aint listening because he's the king. Everyone knows its wrong but we can't do jack about it. Rather than focus on the symptom of naming conventions, I think we should focus on the disease of the corporate control of the holy game of college football.