Ranking college football bowl names


Photo by TNS

Miami Hurricanes defensive back Malek Young (12) wears the turnover chain after an interception in the second quarter against Notre Dame on November 11, 2017, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS)

Story by John Morgan, sports editor

As the temperature declines and the year comes to an end, so does this chaotic regular season of college football. A season full of upsets galore and countless inspirational tales certainly did not disappoint fans. Now, as teams wrap up 2017, we enter perhaps one of the most exciting times of the year in sports – bowl season!

The next three weeks feature teams that are polar opposites and teams that hold striking resemblances pitted against each other in glorious competition. It’s the most wonderful time of the year on the gridiron.

From A to Z, many of these contests have grown over time to take on some wacky and extreme names. Take a look as I rank from worst to best all 39 of these bowl games by their title.

Criteria: I like simplicity when it comes to bowl names but also admire some quirkiness.

  1. Foster Farms Bowl: Purdue vs. Arizona

What’s next? The Factory Bowl?

  1. Quick Lane Bowl: Duke vs. Northern Illinois

Good idea for advertising, bad name for a football game.

  1. Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State

I barely know what any of these words mean except for the teams playing in the game.

  1. Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Marshall vs. Colorado State

I mean…who wants to go to New Mexico?

  1. DXL Frisco Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. SMU

I’m not sure if Frisco is popular enough yet to have a bowl named after it. Try again in about ten years.

  1. Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Utah State vs. New Mexico State

I’m just saying…who wants to travel to the southwest these days?

  1. Birmingham Bowl: Texas Tech vs. South Florida

A bowl game in Alabama not played in Tuscaloosa just seems pointless.

  1. Dollar General Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Toledo

Everything about this bowl just screams American mediocrity.

  1. Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs. Ohio

Some people love this bowl name. In my opinion, this lacks any substance to it.

  1. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: San Diego State vs. Army

I’m all for the armed forces, but I have no idea what Lockheed Martin is.

  1. Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Utah vs. West Virginia

I truly believe that Utah and West Virginia both represent the heart of Dallas. Oh, wait.

  1. Autonation Cure Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State

Random business + random title = mediocre bowl name.

  1. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Wyoming

This one should be a lot lower than it is, but every good bowl game deserves fries.

  1. Autozone Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. #20 Memphis

What is it with automotive maintenance companies wanting to sponsor football games?

  1. Belk Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M

I went to Belk once. You can tell what my experience was like by my ranking.

  1. Las Vegas Bowl: #25 Boise State vs. Oregon

What happens in Vegas never seems to stay there.

  1. Citrus Bowl: #14 Notre Dame vs. #17 LSU

Citrus is truly an underrated fruit.

  1. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs. North Texas

Cities naming bowl games after themselves seems like a very popular theme.

  1. Camping World Bowl: #22 Virginia Tech vs. #19 Oklahoma State

Best thing about this game is that everyone wears camouflage the entire time.

  1. Cactus Bowl: Kansas State vs. UCLA

Cactus hurt. Like really bad.

  1. Taxslayer Bowl: Louisville vs. #23 Mississippi State

I guarantee that Republicans currently love this name.

  1. Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman: Virginia vs. Navy

Again, I love the military, but what in the world is Northrop Grumman?

  1. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: #18 Washington State vs. #16 Michigan State

Poinsettias are plentiful this time of year, but who will use the San Diego County Credit Union except for people who live in San Diego?

  1. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Kentucky vs. #21 Northwestern

I’m all for some good country music. Is Garth Brooks still making anything?

  1. Hawai’i Bowl: Fresno State vs. Houston

The apostrophe is what gives this the edge over the Bahamas Bowl.

  1. Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl: Texas vs. Missouri

This would’ve been higher if it was called the Buc-ee’s Bowl or the Dr. Pepper Bowl or something else that just screams Texas.

  1. Walk-on’s Independence Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Florida State

A bowl game named after a bar and its own stadium. Not bad.

  1. Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl: Akron vs. Florida Atlantic

To me, this is the strangest name of the entire bowl slate. It’s quirky and interesting, but for some reason, I admire the fact that this name is associated with football.

  1. Capital One Orange Bowl: #10 Miami vs. #6 Wisconsin

Most of my love for this bowl comes from it being played at Hard Rock Stadium.

  1. Allstate Sugar Bowl: #4 Clemson vs. #1 Alabama

This is the favorite game of five-year olds.

  1. Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual: #3 Georgia vs. #2 Oklahoma

They call this one the granddaddy of them all. It’s become a great-granddaddy at this point.

  1. Valero Alamo Bowl: #13 Stanford vs. #15 TCU

Remember the Alamo (pause) Bowl.

  1. Hyundai Sun Bowl: #24 NC State vs. Arizona State

My dad has a Hyundai. I would take his car in an instant.

  1. Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl: #12 UCF vs. #7 Auburn

I love me some chicken sandwiches…

  1. Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. South Carolina

…but a good sirloin will take the cake any day of the week.

  1. New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Iowa vs. Boston College

Another name for this game is the Hipster Bowl.

  1. Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: #8 USC vs. #5 Ohio State

I love me a classic bowl name that rolls of the tongue. This game is what represents the heart of Dallas. Hmmm…

  1. Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: Temple vs. Florida International

This bowl just screams Florida to me. It makes sense that it’s played in St. Petersburg.

  1. PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: #11 Washington vs. #9 Penn State

PlayStation was smart to sponsor this game. This bowl name just sounds like you’re bound to have a fun and great time.