Not that we’re complaining, but college football has a lot of bowl games. Every year, it seems like we get one or two new bowl games with weird and crazy names. There’s actually a bowl game that’s willing to call itself the Tony the Tiger Bowl. However, there are plenty of other wacky and weird bowl games from yesteryear that have now gone defunct. In case you’re too young to remember bowl games past or you’ve just forgotten some of the not-so-classic bowls, here are some defunct bowl games worth remembering.
Naturally, the Aviation Bowl was meant to pay homage to the Wright Brothers, which was a nice gesture. The game was played in their hometown of Dayton. However, Dayton isn’t exactly a college football hotbed. Barely 3,000 people showed up to watch New Mexico and Western Michigan in the first and only Aviation Bowl in 1961.
Before Fidel Castro took power and it was illegal to travel to Cuba, the country played host to the Bacardi Bowl. Between 1907 and 1946, there were six games played at La Tropical Stadium, although the bowl was sometimes referred to as the Cigar Bowl or the Rhumba Bowl.
Taking place in Houston, the Bluebonnet Bowl was designed to feature a team from the state of Texas, usually from the Southwest Conference or Big 8, against an out-of-state opponent. Of course, there were a few exceptions to that over the years. The Bluebonnet Bowl has a considerable history, being played yearly from 1959 to 1987.
Nearly 50 years before the Pinstripe Bowl was born, New York hosted the Gotham Bowl. The game lasted just two years. In 1960, Oregon State was invited, but the bowl couldn’t find a willing opponent. The next year, Baylor beat Utah State in the Polo Grounds. The last Gotham Bowl in 1962 was played at Yankee Stadium between Nebraska and Miami.
Great Lakes Bowl
If bowl games are supposed to be a reward for the players, why send them to Cleveland in December? Fortunately, one Great Lakes Bowl in 1947 was all it took to realize this was a bad idea. In the all-Wildcat battle, Bear Bryant’s Kentucky beat Villanova 24-14.
Yes, even before modern marketing and advertising, someone was stupid enough to call a game the Salad Bowl. In fact, there were five Salad Bowls played in Phoenix from 1948 to 1952. Somehow, the Salad Bowl was a New Year’s Day bowl game in four of those five years.
California Raisin Bowl
If the name California Raisins doesn’t ring a bell, do yourself a favor and find videos on YouTube. You’ll quickly learn why these rocking, dried fruits were able to sponsor the California Bowl, which ran from 1981 to 1991. This bowl brought together teams from the old Big West and the MAC with Fresno State being a frequent participant. It was far from the most prestigious or memorable bowl game, but it’s a good reminder of how awesome the California Raisins were back in the day.