History of Bowl Games
College football began decades ago prior to the formation of NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) in 1960. NCAA is the regulatory body that prepares bowl game programs across the USA. It later introduced various postseason marches. However, before the initiation of the postseason, the football program was entirely anarchy. As the 1901 season ended, bowl games started and it was agreed on 73 years later that they should be competing for the national title claims. More bowls began showing up which has seen the transition from one postseason game to several games with only three making a title tournament.
Before 2002, games were considered an exhibition with a payout to the teams playing without the inclusion of the game statistics in the player’s career totals. In spite of attempts to come up with a permanent system of determining the FBS national winner, various games are still held due to the economic interests vested in them.
How Many Bowls Are There These Days?
Previously, teams had to pass tough bowl qualifications in order to be given an invite to a game. This resulted to only a few teams qualifying for the games, but now, the teams participating have increased to 40 excluding the playoff national championship for college football as per the beginning of 2015-16 season. However, the number is set to reduce to 39 participating in the 2017-18 season. With the growth of bowl game, NCAA has had to loosen its eligibility rules from 2006 to accommodate teams losing records. Such teams are mostly needed to fill up some of the bowl slots (78) available.
Where Did The Term “Bowl” Come From?
The name originated from Rose Bowl Stadium, a venue that hosted the initial post season games. What’s interesting is that the stadium also gets its name alongside the bowl like Yale Bowl design which is the model for majority of the football stadiums found in the US. Ever since, the term has been associated with most NCAA football events with the exception of a few. For instance the Egg Bowl, a nickname given to the yearly matchup comprising of Ole Miss Rebels and Mississippi State Bulldogs. The annual match between the Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide is also nicknamed the Iron Bowl. NFL’s “Pro Bowl” and “Super Bowl” in professional football refer to the college football bowl games.
Today, “bowl” is used in professional football and even in the collage Canadian football. A good example is the yearly Banjo Bowl rematch game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers under Canadian Football League. Prior to the Vanier Cup, Canadian university football championship game, the Mitchell Bowl and the Uteck Bowl, U semi-finalsds two semi-final “bowl games.” The matches are determined with respect to conference rotation, with the Mitchell being held at the westernmost host team and the Uteck Bowl is held at the easternmost host team.