How Many Bowl Games Are There?

Updated December 2017

In the early days of television, there were three TV networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS, and on New Year’s Day they broadcast four major bowl games: The Cotton Bowl (Dallas,) the Sugar Bowl (New Orleans,) The Rose Bowl (Pasadena,) and the Orange Bowl (Miami,) all featuring two of the strongest teams in the country.

To be sure, there were a number of other regional bowl games played all across the country (most of them on New Year’s Day,) but the limitations of the broadcasting industry at the time meant that only four games could be telecast coast-to-coast on that day. Regarding the other games, TV moguls felt that nobody outside the immediate area of the two combatants would have the slightest interest, so if there were coverage at all, it would have to be done by local stations. Over the years, however, TV executives and university officials discovered there was money to be made in post-season bowl games, and that’s how it is that now there are now more than 40. It also explains why there are bowl games on TV from December 16th through Jan 8th, and how a team that ends with an 7-7 record can still get into a bowl game.

Presenting this season’s list, updated for 2017/2018. Check here for dates, times, and networks.

I’ve dropped the corporate sponsor to make reading easier, unless it is actually part of the name. Besides, corporate sponsorships change more often than some people change their socks.

Note that there are also nearly 80 defunct bowl games.

Name Year Begun City Former Name
College Football Playoff 2014 Varies Bowl Coalition (1992–1994)
Bowl Alliance (1995–1997)
Bowl Championship Series (1998-2013)
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl 2015 Atlanta, GA Atlanta Football Classic (1989-2014)
Alamo Bowl 1993 San Antonio, TX
Arizona Bowl 2015 Tucson, AZ
Armed Forces Bowl 2006 Ft. Worth, TX Ft. Worth Bowl (2003-2005)
Bahamas Bowl 2014 Nassau, Bahamas
Belk Bowl 2011 Charlotte, NC Queen City Bowl (2002)
Continental Tire Bowl (2002-2004)
Meineke Car Care Bowl (2005-2010)
Birmingham Bowl 2014 Birmingham, AL Birmingham Bowl (2006)
papajohns.com Bowl (2007-2010)
BBVA Compass Bowl(2011-2013)
Boca Raton Bowl 2014 Boca Raton, FL
Cactus Bowl 2014 Tucson/Phoenix, AZ Copper Bowl (1989-1996)
Insight.com Bowl (1997-2001)
Insight Bowl (2002-2011)
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (2012-2013)
Camelia Bowl 2014 Montgomery, AL
Camping World Bowl 2017 Orlando, FL Blockbuster Bowl (1990–1993)
Carquest Bowl (1994–1997)
MicronPC Bowl (1998)
MicronPC.com Bowl (1999–2000)
Visit Florida Tangerine Bowl (2001)
Mazda Tangerine Bowl (2002–2003)
Champs Sports Bowl (2004–2011)
Russell Athletic Bowl (2012–2016)
Citrus Bowl 2014 Orlando, FL Tangerine Bowl (1947-1982)
Florida Citrus Bowl (1983-2002)
Capital One Bowl (2003-2014)
Cotton Bowl 1936 Dallas, TX
Cure Bowl 2015 Orlando, FL
Dollar General Bowl 2016 Mobile, AL Mobile Alabama Bowl (1999-2000)
GMAC Bowl (2000-2010)
GoDaddy.com Bowl (2011-2013)
GoDaddy Bowl (2014-2015)
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl 2011 Boise, ID Humanitarian Bowl (1997-2003; 2006-2010); MPC Computer Bowl (2004-2005)
Fiesta Bowl 1971 Phoenix, AZ
Fosters Farm Bowl 2014 San Francisco, CA San Francisco Bowl (2002-2003)
Emerald Bowl (2004-2009)
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (2012-2013)
Frisco Bowl 2017 Frisco, TX Miami Beach Bowl (2017)
Gasparilla Bowl 2017 St. Petersburg, FL Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl (2010–2013)
St. Petersburg Bowl (2014-2016)
Hawaii Bowl 2002 Honolulu, HI
Heart of Dallas Bowl 2011 Dallas, TX Ticket City Bowl (2010)
Holiday Bowl 1978 San Diego, CA Merged with Freedom Bowl (1995)
Independence Bowl 2014 Shreveport, LA Independence Bowl (1976-2012)
AdvoCare V100 Bowl (2013)
Las Vegas Bowl 2014 Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas Bowl (1999-2008)
MAACO Bowl (2009-2013)
Liberty Bowl 1959 Memphis, TN
Military Bowl 2010 Washington, DC EagleBank Bowl (2008-09)
Music City Bowl 1998 Nashville, TN
New Mexico Bowl 2006 Albuquerque, NM
New Orleans Bowl 2001 New Orleans, LA
Orange Bowl 1934 Miami, FL Festival of Palms Bowl
(1932-1934)
Outback Bowl 1995 Tampa, FL Hall of Fame Bowl (1986-1994)
Peach Bowl 2014 Atlanta, GA Peach Bowl (1968-1997)
Chick-fil-A Bowl (1997-2013)
Pinstripe Bowl 2010 Bronx, NY
Poinsettia Bowl 2005 San Diego, CA
Quick Lane Bowl 2014 Detroit, MI
Rose Bowl 1901 Pasadena, CA
Sugar Bowl 1934 New Orleans, LA
Sun Bowl 1934 El Paso, TX
Taxslayer Bowl 2015 Jacksonville, FL Gator Bowl (1945-2015)
Texas Bowl 2013 Houston, TX Texas Bowl (2006-2010)
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (2011-2013)

 

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