- Holiday Bowl
name = Holiday Bowl
full_name = Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
caption = Pacific Life Holiday Bowl logo
San Diego, California
years = 1978-present
previous_tie-ins = WAC (1978-1997)
Big Ten (1986-1994)
conference_tie-ins = Big 12, Pac-10
payout = 2,130,000 (2006)
sponsors = Pacific Life Insurance Company
Thrifty Car Rental
prev_matchup_year = 2007
prev_matchup_teams = Arizona State vs. Texas
prev_matchup_score = Texas 52, ASU 34
next_matchup_year = 2008
next_matchup_teams = Pac-10 #2 vs. Big 12 #2
next_matchup_date = December 30
The Holiday Bowl is a post-season NCAA-sanctioned Division I-A
college football bowl gamethat has been played annually at Qualcomm Stadiumin San Diego, California, since 1978. The game is currently sponsored by Pacific LifeInsurance, so it is known as the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl; previous title sponsors have been SeaWorld, Thrifty Car Rental, Plymouth, and Culligan.
The bowl was founded in 1978 pitting the
Western Athletic Conferencechampion against an at-large opponent. In the early days, that champion was invariably Brigham Young University. BYU played in the first seven Holiday Bowls, and later competed in an additional four games, prompting some to call it the "BYU Bowl." Fans remember the 1980 game as having one of the most exciting four minutes in NCAA history when BYU erased a 20 point Southern Methodist lead to win on the final play of the football game. BYU fans simply call the game "The Miracle Bowl."
Four years later, the Cougars, led by their coach,
LaVell Edwards, won the national championship in the Holiday Bowl by defeating the University of Michigan, coached by Bo Schembechler, 24–17. It was the first — and only — time that the title was won in a December Bowl Game. Because of the WAC's contract with the Holiday Bowl, BYU, #1 ranked and the only undefeated team in Division I-A going into that season's bowls, was obligated to play in the mid-tier Holiday Bowl against a mediocre (6-5) Michigan squad, a state of affairs that did not go unnoticed by the so-called major bowl games and the five (at the time) top-tier football-playing conferences. A series of bowl game structure changes over the next twenty years served to prevent a repeat of the 1984 Holiday Bowl scenario.
As of 2007, the game features the 2nd place Pac-10 team and the 3rd place Big 12 team. The game has recently become a type of "upset" bowl. For the past three years, teams rejected by the BCS have lost to heavy underdogs. In 2005, an Oregon team playing without its star quarterback (10–1) lost to a battered Oklahoma team, 17–14, solidifying many people's opinions that Oregon was unworthy of a BCS bid. In 2004, one-loss California was blown out by Big 12 middleweight Texas Tech, 45–31. Sonny Cumbie, Tech's quarterback, had one of the most memorable performances in Holiday Bowl history, quite an accomplishment after following BYU's long line of All-American quarterbacks. In 2003, Big 12 third-place Texas was knocked off by Pac-10 second-place Washington State, led by Matt Kegel.
One of the more popular (yet unusual) events associated with the Holiday Bowl is the
Wiener Nationals, the national championships for the U.S. dachshund racingcircuit. [cite news | url=http://sandiego.about.com/od/sportsandrecreation/a/holidaybowl2004.htm | title=It's Cal vs. Texas A&M in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl | author=Figuracion, Inigo | work=About.com | date= December 16 2006|accessdate=2007-11-08]
The Holiday Bowl is not to be confused with an unrelated game called the Holiday Bowl which was played in
St. Petersburg, Floridafrom 1957-1960.
List of college bowl games
* [http://www.holidaybowl.com Official Website of the Holiday Bowl]
* [http://www.wienertakesall.com "Wiener Takes All" - a documentary about the Holiday Bowl's "Wiener Nationals" event]
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