Bowl games in college football are postseason games given to teams that played well during the regular season in the FBS division. These games are different from the college football playoffs, in which only the top four teams in the country are allowed to participate. With the bowl games, if the teams can meet specific requirements, they become eligible for an invitation to play in a bowl game. Teams from major conferences like the ACC or the PAC-12 can participate in these games, but significant teams like Alabama, Michigan, or Georgia tend to make it to the CFP.
So, why is it called a bowl game? How do teams qualify to play in a bowl game? Where are bowl games played? How many Bowl games occur during a regular season, and why are there sponsors for these matches?
Below we will discuss the bowl game and its significance in college football.
Why Do Fans Call it a Bowl Game?
Bowl games acquired the name “bowl,” thanks to the rose bowl. The rose bowl game in Pasadena, California, was the first high-profile postseason game to be played to much fanfare. The rose bowl game got its name because the teams played the game in the rose bowl stadium, which is a stadium shaped like a bowl.
Once the popularity of this game got out, other regional heads took notice. They began to organize their matches based on the same format as the rose bowl game, even adopting the name “bowl “even if the teams did not play in a bowl-shaped stadium.
How Do Teams Qualify to Play in a Bowl Game?
The requirements for playing in a bowl game have changed over time. There used to be very few bowl games, so the eligibility requirement had to be strict to ensure only the best teams were playing in those games. However, as the interest in these matches has grown, the NCAA has allowed for more bowl games.
Currently, the requirement to qualify for a bowl game is to have as many wins are you do losses (ex., 6-6 record) or a winning record (Ex. 7-5 record). In the past, wins against an FCS school would not count toward your win total when determining bowl eligibility, but that rule has changed, allowing one win against an FCS school to count. However, if there are not enough teams that fit this requirement to fill all of the currently scheduled bowl games, then teams with a 5-7 record become eligible. Then, after the teams with winning or 6-6 records are picked, teams with 5-7 records are selected based on their APR score.
These rules differ from the CFP, where teams are selected based on end-of-the-year ranking, similar to the NFL picking their teams for the playoffs.
Where Do Bowl Games Take Place?
Bowl games take place on neutral fields and usually in the same location yearly. However, sometimes the very name of the stadium gives you an insight into the site of the bowl, such as the Texas bowl or the citrus bowl, which get played in Houston, Texas, and Orlando, Florida, respectively.
Bowl games also take place in stadiums in cities or states that do not get as much sports attention as cities like NYC. For example, these big games will take place in places like Boca Raton, Arlington, New Orleans, Cincinnati, or Hawaii.
How Many Bowl Games Occur During the Regular Season?
Including the national championship game and the college football playoff semifinals, there is a total of 43 bowl games played, including one in the FCS division. This number can fluctuate yearly, often increasing, but in some rare instances, it can be less.
Why Are There Sponsors for Bowl Games?
Sponsorships for bowl games are a unique way for companies to get publicity to an audience. From putting their logo on the field to getting TV networks to cover the match, advertising during these games can benefit companies.
For example, Chick-fil-A sponsors the peach bowl, Allstate sponsors the sugar bowl, Goodyear sponsors the cotton bowl, capital one sponsors the orange bowl, and Vrbo sponsors the fiesta bowl. Sponsorships change yearly depending on who wants the main stage or local attention the most.
How Many People Watch Bowl Games?
The UAB-BYU Independence Bowl had over 3 million views on ABC alone in 2021, the highest ever. Outside of that 3 million, other bowl games tend to draw around a million or more users tuning into the match on TV.
What Team Has the Most Bowl Wins?
As of September 2022, Alabama has the most bowl victories at 44. After them, Georgia has the second most with 35, USC with 34, and Oklahoma with 31. Be sure to visit this link to see every team’s most up-to-date bowl victories.
Conclusion: What are Bowl Games in College Football?
In summary, bowl games in college football are matches for teams that played well during the regular season in the FBS division. They provide unique matchups between teams who would otherwise not play each other. For example, you could see a big ten football team play a Boise State team. As the teams were able to acquire six wins or more, they qualify for a bowl game, but they should also shoot for at least five because they may still have an opportunity to qualify.
These matches are fun to watch, and advertisers like to sponsor these games each season. For example, the UAB – BYU match in 2021 had over 3 million people tune into it. Outside of that matchup, other bowl games draw over a million people watching it. These numbers are great for advertisers to market their product, which is why there are sponsors for matches.