Know Your Bowls: Are These Games Real Or Fake?

A whopping 38 games are on the college football bowl schedule before the national championship game Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas. These aren’t the old days where the schedule was limited to premier games such as the Rose Bowl and the Cotton Bowl. Now, just about anyone with deep pockets can host a bowl game.

Because I have long spells of insanity during the first few weeks of December (you can thank the end of high school football season and my coverage for the Republican-American), I devised a quiz to test the average sports fan’s knowledge of this year’s bowl schedule. It’s simple: Each game is either a legitimate bowl on this year’s slate or it’s not. The answers, along with plenty of explanation, are at the bottom.

1) Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
2) Old Spice Dominican Bowl
3) Baton Rouge Bowl
4) Jiffy Lube Diamond Bowl
5) Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
6) Fort Lauderdale Bowl
7) Ski Aspen Rocky Mountain Bowl
8) Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
9) Dixie Classic Bowl
10) Gildan New Mexico Bowl
11) Miami Beach Bowl
12) Levi’s Bowl by the Bay
13) Foster Farms Bowl
14) Wrangler El Paso Bowl
15) Aloha Bowl
16) Boca Raton Bowl
17) Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl
18) Quick Lane Bowl
19) Belk Bowl
20) New Balance Kickoff Bowl
21) TicketCity Cactus Bowl
22) Georgia Tourism Bureau Pecan Bowl
23) Motor City Bowl
24) Silicon Valley Bowl
25) California Pistachio Bowl
26) Firestone Akron Bowl
27) Microsoft Surface Seattle Bowl
28) Duck Commander Independence Bowl
29) Zatarain’s Cajun Bowl
30) In-N-Out Burger Houston Bowl
31) Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
32) Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl
33) Russell Athletic Bowl
34) Prudential Freedom Bowl
35) Mutual of Omaha Harvest Bowl
36) Birmingham Bowl
37) Johnsonville Tailgate Bowl
38) ExxonMobil Gulf Coast Bowl
39) Tangerine Bowl
40) National University Holiday Bowl
41) Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
42) Sierra Bowl Hosted by 1&1 Internet
43) TaxSlayer Bowl
44) Unbridled Spirit of Kentucky Bluegrass Bowl
45) Michelin Orlando Bowl
46) AutoZone Liberty Bowl
47) Meineke Car Care Bowl
48) AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
49) San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
50) Gator Bowl

ANSWERS

(WARNING: OBVIOUS SPOILERS BELOW)

(YOU REALLY SHOULDN’T KEEP SCROLLING IF YOU’RE NOT FINISHED)

(OK, I WARNED YOU)

1) Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl — REAL: Royal Purple (an automotive lubricant manufacturer) began sponsoring this bowl, which started in 1992, in 2013. This year, Utah will face Colorado State on Dec. 20. It’s owned and operated by ESPN Events and has tie-ins to the Mountain West and the Pac-12.

2) Old Spice Dominican Bowl — FAKE: There’s never been a bowl game in the Dominican Republic.

3) Baton Rouge Bowl — FAKE: Baton Rouge used to host the Grantland Rice Bowl, which has been a tournament game in sub-DI-A brackets.

4) Jiffy Lube Diamond Bowl — FAKE: Just a negative all around.

5) Popeyes Bahamas Bowl — REAL: This year will be the inaugural playing of this bowl game, between Central Michigan and Western Kentucky, on Christmas Eve in Nassau. The bowl has tie-ins to Conference USA, the MAC and the AAC.

6) Fort Lauderdale Bowl — FAKE: The city hosts events alongside the Orange Bowl, but there’s no game in Fort Lauderdale.

7) Ski Aspen Rocky Mountain Bowl — FAKE: Nope. The “Ski Aspen” thing has gotten some people to bite, though.

8) Raycom Media Camellia Bowl — REAL: This year will be the inaugural playing of this bowl game, between South Alabama and Bowling Green, on Dec. 20 in Montgomery, Ala. The old Camellia Bowl used to be a championship game at the NAIA, Division II and Division I-AA level from 1961-80 in Sacramento, Calif. It’s owned and operated by ESPN Events and has tie-ins to the MAC and the Sun Belt.

9) Dixie Classic Bowl — FAKE: But there were three Dixie Classics (1922, 1925 and 1934 in Dallas) and two Dixie Bowls (1948-49 in Birmingham, Ala.).

10) Gildan New Mexico Bowl — REAL: Gildan (a T-shirt company) began sponsoring this bowl, which started in 2006, in 2011. This year, Utah State will face UTEP on Dec. 20 in Albuquerque. It’s owned and operated by ESPN Events and has tie-ins to the Mountain West and Conference USA.

11) Miami Beach Bowl — REAL: This year will be the inaugural playing of this bowl game, between BYU and Memphis, on Dec. 22. The AAC helped create this bowl for its teams. The bowl also has tie-ins to Conference USA, the MAC and the Sun Belt.

12) Levi’s Bowl by the Bay — FAKE: Sounds good, though, right? Levi’s Stadium is right on the San Francisco Bay and will actually host the …

13) Foster Farms Bowl — REAL: Yep, this one is in San Francisco. Foster Farms (a poultry company) took over the sponsorship this year from Kraft Foods, which used to call it the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The game was born in 2002 and has been known as the San Francisco Bowl, the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl and the Emerald Bowl. The bowl has tie-ins to the Pac-12 and the Big Ten.

14) Wrangler El Paso Bowl — FAKE: The Hyundai Sun Bowl is played in El Paso.

15) Aloha Bowl — FAKE: The Aloha Bowl lasted from 1982-2000 in Honolulu, and it was usually played Christmas morning. In 2002, the Hawai’i Bowl started with its games played on Christmas Eve. The state has also hosted the Oahu Bowl, the Pineapple Bowl and the Poi Bowl.

16) Boca Raton Bowl — REAL: This year will be the inaugural playing of this bowl game, between Northern Illinois and Marshall, on Dec. 23. It’s owned and operated by ESPN Events and has tie-ins to the MAC, Conference USA and the AAC.

17) Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl — FAKE: This bowl ended in 2013 and was played in Detroit. It used to be known as the Motor City Bowl from 1997-2008. Its spot was taken by a new bowl called the …

18) Quick Lane Bowl — REAL: Aside from the name and history, this will have all the looks of the old Motor City Bowl. The inaugural playing of this game will be between Rutgers and North Carolina and will be played Dec. 26 in Detroit. It’s backed by the Detroit Lions and has tie-ins to the Big Ten and the ACC.

19) Belk Bowl — REAL: Sponsored by Belk (a department store chain based in North Carolina) since 2011, this bowl was born in 2002 as the Continental Tire Bowl and was known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl from 2005-10. This year’s game will be between Georgia and Louisville on Dec. 30 in Charlotte, N.C. The bowl has tie-ins to the SEC and the ACC.

20) New Balance Kickoff Bowl — FAKE: Seriously, though, what better name can you think of for the first bowl game of the season?

21) TicketCity Cactus Bowl — REAL: This bowl has been played since 1989, but this is the first time it’ll be known as the Cactus Bowl. It was known as the Copper Bowl from its inception until 1996, followed by a stretch as the Insight (and Insight.com) Bowl from 1997-2011. For the last two seasons, it was known as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. This year’s game will be between Washington and Oklahoma State on Jan. 2 in Tempe, Arizona. The bowl has tie-ins to the Big 12 and the Pac-12.

22) Georgia Tourism Bureau Pecan Bowl — FAKE: There is no such thing as the Georgia Tourism Bureau. There were seven Pecan Bowls played between 1964-70, but they were played in Texas and part of the regional playoffs in Division I-AA.

23) Motor City Bowl — FAKE: This bowl is all gone. See the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl and the Quick Lane Bowl above for more.

24) Silicon Valley Bowl — FAKE: This was a real bowl from 2000-04 in San Jose, Calif., but it’s dead.

25) California Pistachio Bowl — FAKE: Sometimes if you imagine different foods in bowls, they sound like good games.

26) Firestone Akron Bowl — FAKE: There’s never been a bowl game in Akron, Ohio. But because Firestone is headquartered there, you might have thought there’s a game there.

27) Microsoft Surface Seattle Bowl — FAKE: The Seattle Bowl did exist in 2001 and 2002. But based on wise regional product placement, it sure seems convincing.

28) Duck Commander Independence Bowl — REAL: Duck Commander, the popular brand of duck calls, jumped on board starting this year. This bowl has been known as the Independence Bowl for all but once year (2013) since its inception in 1976. This year’s game will be between Miami and South Carolina on Dec. 27 in Shreveport, La. The bowl has tie-ins to the SEC and the ACC.

29) Zatarain’s Cajun Bowl — FAKE: The only Cajun Bowl was played in 1947 between Southern Arkansas and McNeese State in Lake Charles, La. It was a scoreless tie. Zatarain’s just screams Cajun, though.

30) In-N-Out Burger Houston Bowl — FAKE: There were six Houston Bowls from 2000-05 (well, it was called the galleryfurniture.com Bowl in 2000 and 2001). How great would an In-N-Out Burger Bowl be, though?

31) Famous Idaho Potato Bowl — REAL: This game has actually been sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission since 2011. Prior to that, it was known as the Humanitarian Bowl (1997-2003, 2007-10) and the MPC Computers Bowl (2004-06). This year’s game will be between Western Michigan and Air Force on Dec. 20 in Boise, Idaho. It’s owned and operated by ESPN Events and has tie-ins to the Mountain West and the MAC.

32) Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl — REAL: This bowl was born in 2008 but has been known or the last four years as the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl. The new sponsor is Bitcoin, which is a type of digital currency. This year’s game will be between Central Florida and North Carolina State on Dec. 26. It’s owned and operated by ESPN Events and has tie-ins to the AAC, the ACC, Conference USA, the MAC and the Sun Belt.

33) Russell Athletic Bowl — REAL: This bowl game has been all over the place, but it might be best known as the new version of the Champs Sports Bowl (2004-11). Before that, it was known as the Blockbuster Bowl, the Carquest Bowl, the MicronPC Bowl and three versions of the Tangerine Bowl (not related to the historic Tangerine Bowl). Now, the athletic clothing brand takes the sponsorship. This year’s game will be between Oklahoma and Clemson on Dec. 29 in Miami. The bowl has tie-ins to the ACC and the Big 12.

34) Prudential Freedom Bowl — FAKE: The Freedom Bowl did exist from 1984-94 and was played in Anaheim, Calif. Prudential has never sponsored a bowl game.

35) Mutual of Omaha Harvest Bowl — FAKE: Totally invented.

36) Birmingham Bowl — REAL: This poor bowl has no sponsor, but the folks in Alabama decided to keep this one going at historic Legion Field. The bowl started in 2006 and was known as the PapaJohns.com Bowl for five years before being called the BBVA Compass Bowl for the last four. This year’s game will be between East Carolina and Florida on Jan. 3. The bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events and has tie-ins to the AAC, the SEC, Conference USA and the MAC.

37) Johnsonville Tailgate Bowl — FAKE: Somebody needs to make this bowl happen.

38) ExxonMobil Gulf Coast Bowl — FAKE: Such logical product placement, such a fake bowl.

39) Tangerine Bowl — FAKE: All right, this one takes some sorting out. There’s no such thing as the Tangerine Bowl now, but its lineage is still alive in the form of the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. The bowl was originally the Tangerine Bowl from 1947-82 before becoming the Citrus Bowl from 1983-2002. Capital One took the reins from 2003-14 before the game took a step back to some tradition this year. The Citrus Bowl’s lineage, which includes 35 years’ worth of Tangerine Bowls, makes it the seventh oldest bowl — younger than the Rose, Cotton, Sun, Gator (although it’s not called that this year), Orange and Sugar bowls.

40) National University Holiday Bowl — REAL: The Holiday Bowl name has been alive since 1978, although it’s taken on a whole list of sponsors over the years (including Sea World from 1986-90). National University is located in San Diego, where the game is played, and is a growing online college. This year’s game is between Nebraska on USC on Dec. 27. The bowl has tie-ins to the Pac-12 and the Big Ten.

41) Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl — REAL: Zaxby’s is a chain of fast casual restaurants all about chicken. This bowl began in 2011, but this is Zaxby’s first year as the title sponsor. This year’s game will be between Illinois and Louisiana Tech on Dec. 26 at the Cotton Bowl — the actual Cotton Bowl is played these days at AT&T Stadium. The bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events and has tie-ins to the Big Ten and Conference USA.

42) Sierra Bowl Hosted by 1&1 Internet — FAKE: This one is really, really believable.

43) TaxSlayer Bowl — TRUE: What a shame it is that the Gator Bowl isn’t known as the Gator Bowl anymore, but TaxSlayer (an online tax preparation website) paid enough to make the bowl its own. The Gator Bowl name was attached to this bowl from 1946 until last year. This year’s game will be between Iowa and Tennessee on Jan. 2 in Jacksonville. The bowl has tie-ins to the SEC and the Big Ten.

44) Unbridled Spirit of Kentucky Bluegrass Bowl — FAKE: Oklahoma State beat Florida State, 15-6, in the only Bluegrass Bowl on Dec. 13, 1958. “Unbridled spirit” is the new tourism motto of Kentucky. It seemed like a cool idea.

45) Michelin Orlando Bowl — FAKE: Negative. The Citrus Bowl is in Orlando, though. Michelin has never sponsored a bowl.

46) AutoZone Liberty Bowl — REAL: This is actually one of the older bowls out there, having begun in 1959. AutoZone, the automotive store, took over sponsorship in 2004. This year’s game will be between Texas A&M and West Virginia on Dec. 29 in Memphis. The bowl has tie-ins to the Big 12, the SEC and the AAC.

47) Meineke Car Care Bowl — FAKE: This game is now known as the Belk Bowl (see above).

48) AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl — REAL: Started in 2006, the Texas Bowl is played in Houston and has tie-ins to the Big 12 and the SEC. AdvoCare, a nutrition and sports performance company, took over sponsorship this year. This year’s game will be between Arkansas and Texas on Dec. 29. It’s owned and operated by ESPN Events.

49) San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl — REAL: The San Diego County Credit Union has been the name sponsor of this bowl since its inception in 2005. This year’s game will be between San Diego State and Navy on Dec. 23. The bowl has tie-ins to the Mountain West.

50) Gator Bowl — FAKE: TaxSlayer ripped the heart from one of college football’s oldest bowls by buying full sponsorship.

What do you think?