clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Every bowl’s weirdest game ever: A living calendar of bowl season’s best oddities

New, 15 comments

Below are bowl/playoff scores and schedules, sure. More importantly, we have 44 pieces of wacky college football history throughout.

Lane Kiffin CBS screen grab. Banner Society illustration.

There’s a wide range of curiosities, from the 1948 team that played three bowls in one month to TCU’s magic shirts to the spreadsheet-packing 2001 GMAC Bowl to the Sun Bowl’s ever-howling desert allure.

This is intended to be a living document, updated each year with new fun facts.

If you believe I’ve failed to choose the right Weirdest Game for any of these, please note it in the comments. Perhaps I’ll swap!

(Also included: title games from non-FBS levels. And I’m referring to bowl years according to seasons, not according to kickoff dates. As in, the Rose Bowl played in 2020 is part of the 2019 season, making it 2019’s Rose Bowl.)

December 20

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Buffalo 31, Charlotte 9
  • All-time champ: Six teams tied at one win each

Weirdest game: In 2014, Central Michigan scored 34 unanswered in a Caribbean stadium built by China, nearly coming back to defeat WKU in a game sponsored by Popeyes Chicken — which had zero locations on the island — but CMU missed a two-point try after a four-lateral Hail Mary TD. The QBs combined to throw for 12 touchdowns and 971 yards, each the most of any bowl ever.

The only way this would be weirder: if the game had been sponsored by an Illinois industrial park named after elk, as it is now.

Frisco Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Kent State 51, Utah State 41
  • All-time champ: Six teams tied at one win each

Weirdest game: Let’s count this game’s Miami Beach Bowl lineage. You recall the 2014 brawl at the Marlins’ stadium between two teams coached by guys who’d become ACC state rivals, yes?

THE STAGG BOWL, aka the Division III championship

  • Reigning champ: North Central 41, UW-Whitewater 14
  • All-time champ: Mount Union, 13 wins

Weirdest game: Until 1973, DII had East and West title games, the latter named after Chicago Maroons legend Amos Alonzo Stagg. 1971 Samford (from the Western state of Alabama) won the West edition (played in the Western state of Alabama), then vacated due to NCAA stuff.

However, the Bulldogs claim the ‘71 Stagg Bowl title in media guides, the school hall of fame, and elsewhere, and since nobody remembers there used to be a second DII title game, this means claiming the NCAA’s second-highest official championship despite the NCAA telling them not to do so. Good for Samford!

Samford football fact book

December 21

Celebration Bowl

  • Reigning champ: North Carolina A&T 64, Alcorn State 44
  • All-time champ: North Carolina A&T, four wins

Weirdest game: A game called THE CELEBRATION BOWL was kinda decided by A CELEBRATION PENALTY. NC Central doing this set up a difficult extra point, and the blocked kick gave Grambling the 2016 HBCU title:

ESPN

#BannerSocietyNewMexicoBowl ... ha ha just kidding ... unless?

  • Reigning champ: San Diego State 48, Central Michigan 11
  • All-time champ: Arizona and Utah State, with perfect 2-0 records each

Weirdest game: Going with 2019 because of its October sponsor: some sort of non-company that didn’t make it to November before being dropped by ESPN. Our offer to pay this bowl $0, yet provide our name as its sponsor anyway, stands.

Cure Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Liberty 23, Georgia Southern 16
  • All-time champ: Five teams tied at one win each

Weirdest game: We don’t pick on the Cure Bowl, an event actually held for a good cause.

But note 2015, the least impressive bowl of the modern era, paired a 6-6 FBS newbie against a 5-7 team from 2,800 miles away, with almost no fans in the seats. It was a blast anyway, just like almost every other game on this list.

Division II championship

  • Reigning champ: West Florida 48, Minnesota State 40
  • All-time champ: Northwest Missouri State, six wins

Weirdest game: I have a soft spot for 1984, when future Birmingham Fire, Samford, Dallas Cowboys, Georgia Tech, and Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey was running one of the world’s last wishbone offenses (a no-huddle, because he didn’t like making his linemen run back and forth to huddles).

His future FBS school (with a different name) Troy State seized glory by beating Division II dynasty (and future Greatest Division I Dynasty Ever) North Dakota State in a non-full high school stadium about 250 miles south of San Antonio, with a freshman kicker belting the 50-yard winner as the final horn sounded.

Troy also swept DII men’s and women’s golf titles this year.

Cheribundi “Tart Cherry” Boca Raton Bowl

  • Reigning champ: FAU 52, SMU 28
  • All-time champ: FAU, 2-0

Weirdest game: In 2017, new Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin won a bowl by 47 points in his home stadium against Terry Bowden, whose first head coaching job had been when Kiffin was eight years old.

Camellia Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Arkansas State 34, FIU 26
  • All-time champ: Appalachian State, 2-0

Weirdest game: Unaffiliated bowls with this name have been in Sacramento (functioning as the 1980 I-AA title game, the mid-’70s DII title game, a regional title game for proto-FCS teams, and the early-’60s NAIA title game) and Louisiana.

The latter’s only edition, 1948, featured Hardin-Simmons Cowboys who shuttled to a record three bowls that December: a Grape Bowl tie with Pacific in Northern California; a loss to virtual hometown favorite Ouachita in Little Rock’s Shrine Bowl; and a win over the Wichita State Shockers in Lafayette’s Camellia.

Las Vegas Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Washington 38, Boise State 7
  • All-time champ: Boise State and Utah, with matching 4-1 records

Weirdest game: In the predecessor California Raisin Bowl’s 1985 edition, hometown Fresno State’s MVP was punter Mike Mancini, who hammered the hell out of Bowling Green. Usually, when a punter wins MVP, the game was close, but this was 51-7.

But we’ll go with 1995, when Gary Pinkel’s Toledo beat Nevada in FBS’ first-ever overtime game after more than a century of despised deadlocks — the second time Toledo beat Nevada in Nevada that season.

New Orleans Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Appalachian State 31, UAB 17
  • All-time champ: Southern Miss and the CAJUNS are 4-1 each

Weirdest game: This photo wasn’t even the weirdest thing about 2011’s:

Elsewhere, the RAGIN’ CAJUNS were running the Oklahoma drill on the field before the game, this was the first of an NCAA-record four straight times they’d win this game, and this was one of two NOLA Bowls in this streak the CAJUNS would have to vacate for NCAA stuff.

December 23

Gasparilla Bowl

  • Reigning champ: UCF 48, Marshall 25
  • All-time champ: Marshall, 3-1

Weirdest name: Instead of games, remember the 2008 magicJack Bowl, 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl presented by Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, 2010-13 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, 2014 Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, and 2017-?? Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.

Christmas Eve

Hawaii Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Hawaii 38, BYU 34
  • All-time champ: Hawaii, obviously

Weirdest game: The islands’ series of distinct games (the 1936-45 Poi Bowl, 1940-1952 Pineapple Bowl, 1982-2000 Aloha Bowl, 1998-2000 Oahu Bowl, and 2002-present edition) includes the 1950 Denver Pioneers, who had a 2-7-1 record before somehow acquiring two invites to Honolulu bowls, allowing them to squash a local high school all-star team on Christmas before losing to the Rainbows on New Year’s Day.

Boxing Day

Independence Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Louisiana Tech 14, Miami 0
  • All-time champ: Air Force at 3-0, including a win over Ole Miss, 4-1 in Shreveport

Weirdest game:

Quick Lane Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Pitt 34, EMU 30
  • All-time champ: Marshall, 4-1 Little Caesars Bowl gods

Weirdest game: College football’s lacked point-shaving scandals since the ‘90s, when notoriously similar universities Arizona State and Northwestern had athletes attempting to join the rest of humanity in profiting off labor.

Here’s a decent way to spot potential point-shaving: UConn wins something by 29 points. The 2004 Motor City Bowl was in a series of games involving three- or four-figure payments to Toledo athletes, eventually landing three football Rockets on probation.

There was also 2019, when EMU lost in part because of a ref catching a stray in a slappin’ spree.

December 27

Military Bowl

  • Reigning champ: North Carolina 55, Temple 13
  • All-time champ: Wake Forest, 2-0

Weirdest game: Selection Sunday is always a dizzying pile of contracts, logistics, politics, and emotions. A masterpiece:

Way down the list of the 2009 EagleBank Bowl’s conference ties was the MAC, giving a spot to Temple, which was in the middle of its exile from the Big East for not trying hard enough at football.

6-6 Notre Dame declined the other bid amid Charlie Weis’ firing, likely leaving the spot to Army, but UCLA began practicing in case Army missed bowl eligibility by losing to Navy a week after bowl invites went out. Army lost to Navy, so Rick Neuheisel traveled across the world to beat Al Golden in a sub-freezing RFK Stadium.

Pinstripe Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Michigan State 27, Wake Forest 21
  • All-time champ: Syracuse, 2-0

Weirdest game: The 2010 Wildcats of Manhattan, Kansas lost a game near the other Manhattan because they respected the troops too much.

Texas Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Texas A&M 24, Oklahoma State 21
  • 2019 Watchability rating: Texas A&M, 3-1 (counting previous Houston bowls)

Weirdest game: Let’s list one game from each of Houston’s three eras:

  • “The Bluebonnet Bowl” made sense as the name for a game in Texas. It’s the state flower. But it was in Houston, so in 1968, they added “Astro” to the name. “The Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl.” That’s something a 1950s space traveler scribbles on a container while collecting vegetation on a new planet. Deranged poetry. Every game with that name makes the cut.
  • The 2003 Houston Bowl offered the best styles-make-fights battle of our millennium: Paul Johnson’s Navy vs. Mike Leach’s Texas Tech. Unfortunately, Leach was in too much of a hurry and won by 24. Yes, this game also produced the following:
  • And hey, do you remember when the NFL Network aired a couple bowls for a couple years? I sure didn’t. In 2008, like 180,000 people watched Rice beat WMU.

Holiday Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Iowa 49, USC 24
  • All-time champ: Kansas State, 3-0

Screwiest game: “Screwiest game I’ve ever been involved in,” BYU head coach LaVell Edwards said of 1989, and that’s saying a lot, since (among other events) his 1980 team came back from 20 down with only four minutes left to beat “Pony Express” SMU in another Holiday Bowl.

In ‘89, BYU dominated the box score as Ty Detmer posted what remains the highest total-offense mark in bowl history (594 yards), but out-of-its-element Penn State won due to ... a 102-yard two-point conversion runback and a 53-yard strip sack runback by safety Gary Brown.

Cheez-It Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Air Force 31, Washington State 21
  • All-time champ: Either Kansas State, 3-1, or one of the many 2-0 teams

Weirdest game: The 2018 edition was one of the most delicious debacles in sports history.

(Let’s note the 2006 Insight Bowl — the Pre-eez-It Bowl, if you will — when Texas Tech pulled off the most numerically daunting comeback in bowl history.)

December 28

Camping World Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Notre Dame 33, Iowa State 9
  • All-time champ: Florida State, 3-0

Weirdest game: Due to injuries, 2015 Baylor ran out of quarterbacks. Against a decent UNC defense, the Bears trotted out wildcat-type guys, spackled together a World War I offense, and set an all-bowls record with 645 rushing yards. Five different Bears took snaps during the opening drive alone:

(We should also note 2013, when Big East Louisville beat ACC Miami in this bowl, one game before ACC Louisville beat ACC Miami.)

Cotton Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Penn State 53, Memphis 39
  • All-time champ: Lots of teams have more wins, but also way more losses, so ... Ole Miss, 4-1?

Weirdest game: You know about 1954, when Tommy Lewis came down with a case of Too Much Bama, stormed off the bench to tackle Rice’s Dicky Maegle, and tried to hide, after which Meagle was credited with the 95-yard touchdown run.

Did you know that was part of a record-setting day? Maegle averaged 24.1 yards on 11 touches, giving him the most explosive bowl ever by almost eight yards per play (among players with at least 10 touches).

More importantly, did you know Rice is 3-0 all-time against Bama?

Props as well to 1959 Air Force-TCU, the last-ever scoreless postseason game, and 1991, the greatest moment in University of Miami history:

Peach Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal

  • Reigning champ: LSU 63, Oklahoma 28
  • All-time champ: LSU, 6-1

Weirdest game: After a 26-6 humiliation at the cruel hands of 1981 West Virginia, Florida coach Charley Pell buried the Peach film under a grave marker by the Gators’ practice field. It remained there for nearly a decade until Steve Spurrier walked in and got rid of it.

Fiesta Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal

  • Reigning champ: Clemson 29, Ohio State 23
  • 2019 Watchability rating: Penn State, 7-0

Weirdest crime spree, on the field and off: Fiesta CEO John Junker earned an eight-month federal sentence for maximizing his income with the help of some fellow hard-working public servants, which also jeopardized the game’s BCS status.

That went down in 2010-2011, during which time the game hosted the reviled Kiddie Table Bowl between upstarts Boise State and TCU, each of whom should’ve gotten to square off against powers, AND THEN hosted UConn, the worst big-bowl team of the whole BCS era.

December 30

First Responder Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Western Kentucky 23, Western Michigan 20
  • All-time champ: A bunch of teams with one win each

Weirdest game: 2018, the only major bowl ever canceled by weather.

NCAA Football: SERVPRO First Responder Bowl-Boston College vs Boise State Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Music City Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Louisville 38, Mississippi State 28
  • All-time champ: Auburn, Louisville, and Vanderbilt are 2-0 each

Weirdest game: In 2007, Florida State was without 36 players against Kentucky in Nashville, due to an academics scandal and injuries. The Noles had only 43 scholarship players against one of the two teams that’d beaten eventual national champ LSU in triple OT.

Redbox Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Cal 35, Illinois 20
  • All-time champ: Cal and Utah, 2-0 each

Weirdest game: There is an annual college football game in Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California. That is weird enough for me.

Orange Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Florida 36, Virginia 28
  • All-time champ: Many teams have more wins, but only Florida is 4-0

Weirdest game: At the major level, we’ve only had 22 bowls that matched teams who’d already met earlier in the season. 1943 was the first, when LSU lost to Texas A&M in October, then achieved vengeance on New Year’s. The two enjoyed it so much, they later joined the same division and began playing as many overtime periods together as possible.

The Austin American

New Year’s Eve

Belk Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Kentucky 37, Virginia Tech 30
  • All-time champ: Virginia, 3-0

Weirdest game: In 2019, Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden Jr. became just about the closest possible thing to a one-man team (I suppose he could’ve also taken up punting). In Charlotte, he took that to the extreme, dominating the broadcast with not just 233 yards rushing (a new all-bowls QB record), but also:

  • Shirtlessly punching a Virginia Tech lineman in pregame (amid general heated banter between both teams)
  • Developing a hangnail on his throwing hand, which led to “ha ha he doesn’t need his throwing hand, because Kentucky never throws” jokes
  • Using his other hand to point straight in a defender’s face during one of two TD runs
  • Carrying 13 times on Kentucky’s final drive alone
  • Finishing with the second most rushing yards in a season ever by a Kentucky player despite starting as a WR who then had to play emergency QB
  • Finishing as UK’s leading 2019 receiver despite only playing WR for five games
  • Waiting until the world had counted out Hangnail Hand, then using Hangnail Hand to throw the game-winner with 15 seconds to go
  • Saying, “Y’all said I couldn’t throw, so over the top it goes”
  • Apologizing for punching a big guy while shirtless

A one-man content machine, going out at the top.

Sun Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Arizona State 20, Florida State 14
  • All-time champ: Since the Sun Bowl is the weirdest bowl, I’m giving this to Texas Tech for being 1-8 here

Weirdest game: No other bowl can top El Paso’s atypical energy:

  • 1939: The most boring bowl ever. Tempe Normal Teacher’s College (now Arizona State) and Catholic (still Catholic) combined for zero points and three pass completions for 16 yards in a turnover-filled abomination. Each head coach then assured the media he had the superior team, as coaches do.
  • 1944: Texas’ Southwestern Pirates defeated the National Autonomous University of Mexico Pumas, 35-0. Unfortunately, the Pumas remain in the record books as the only team to produce negative yards in a Division I bowl, including an astounding -25 yards per pass completion???????????????
  • 1947: Virginia Tech arrived with a 3-3-3 record. I have your attention already. In the coldest and snowiest game in “Sun” history, pre-Beamerball stood tall. VT blocked all three of Cincinnati’s extra points, blocked a punt, and saw the Bearcats muster only 19 yards per punt. But Cincinnati won, thanks to 369 yards rushing.
  • 1967: In the first Sun broadcast by CBS, Auburn threw four interceptions, while Arizona threw eight, including six by a guy named Bruce Lee. Twelve INTs is an all-bowls record. You can see why CBS chose to keep the Sun Bowl to this day.
  • 2001: Kyle Orton heaved 74 passes (again, I have your attention already) for Purdue, Jason Gesser chucked 40 for Washington State, and a couple relief pitchers joined in, giving us the all-bowls record for passes in a game. They combined for a 46% completions rate.
  • 2005: Northwestern led 22-0, [stuff happened], and UCLA’s Brandon Braezell ran back two different Northwestern onside kicks for touchdowns as the Bruins won by 12.
  • 2007: Oregon State 3, Pitt 0, the grimmest bowl anywhere since the 1950s.
  • 2012: USC became the most overrated team since 1962, losing to Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech in a game the Trojans openly wanted no part of. To this day, people ask the Shutdown Fullcast for details on what led to new Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin covering his face with sunglasses and a hood throughout the game. The answer is not all that mysterious.

Liberty Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Navy 20, Kansas State 17
  • All-time champ: Ole Miss, 4-0

Weirdest game: Why is “the Liberty Bowl” in Memphis? Well, it started in Philadelphia, which has a famous bell. In 1964, some businessmen paid organizer Bud Dudley $25,000 to move it an hour to a New Jersey convention hall (used as of 2019 by the Arena Football League). Something like 6,000 people showed up in Atlantic City for Utah-West Virginia, and the Utes probably lost money, but Dudley didn’t, due in part to TV interest in the first indoor bowl. One year later, his tour moved to Memphis, and never left.

Arizona Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Wyoming 38, Georgia State 17
  • All-time champ: Nevada, 2-0

Weirdest game: The first year of this barely-televised bowl saw two teams from the same conference meeting in a non-championship bowl for the first time since 1979’s Nebraska-Oklahoma Orange Bowl. 2015’s Nevada-Colorado State wasn’t quite as anticipated, with Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson blaming the “travesty” on the NCAA letting some 5-7 teams take bowl bids.

Alamo Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Texas 38, Utah 10
  • All-time champ: Nebraska, 3-0

Weirdest game: The 2015 Alamo stands as the best comeback in bowl history, topping a couple other contenders by virtue of, for one thing, triple overtime.

For another, TCU did it with walk-on transfer Bram Kohlhausen at QB, in the only start of his entire FBS career. As Oregon dealt with its own string of injuries, Kohlhausen caught fire for two second-half passing touchdowns and the decisive rushing TD in OT.

The more important factor was Gary Patterson’s halftime shirt change.

It gets better! Two years later, TCU again needed a comeback against a Pac-12 team in the Alamo, barreling back from 18 down to beat Stanford. And there was again a clutch shirt change, as a Frogs fan was spotted making a postgame adjustment just to get a pic with Bryce Love (who was not fooled):

New Year’s Day aka God’s Football Day

Citrus Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Alabama 35, Michigan 16
  • All-time champ: Steve Spurrier will be delighted to note Tennessee is 4-1

Weirdest game: Lots of bad teams have made bowl games. Many bowl games that have hosted bad teams still exist. Based on SRS ratings, 15 teams who graded more than a touchdown worse than an average FBS team played in bowls that are still around.

The worst ever: Lou Holtz’s 5-7 William & Mary in 1970, who rate 17 points below average (the equivalent of 2019’s 1-11 Old Dominion, for reference), beat nobody better than 4-6 Richmond, and posed no challenge for undefeated Toledo.

Outback Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Minnesota 31, Auburn 24
  • 2019 Watchability rating: South Carolina, 4-1

Weirdest game: In 2010, Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka threw and/or ran on 98 plays, by far the most by any player in any bowl ever, including a record 78 throws, record 47 completions, and near-record five INTs. Northwestern’s 115 total snaps is also an all-bowls record. But Auburn won in OT, and Northwestern spent the rest of the decade too exhausted to do any more offense.

Also remember the game’s semi-predecessor, the Cigar Bowl. “Brooke Army Medical 20, Camp LeJeune Marines 0” sounds like something out of World War II, which apparently continued until 1951 in Tampa.

Cornball Valhalla aka a crater in a neighborhood golf course aka a vestigial tack-on to an ancient flower parade that once had an ostrich race aka the only reason we haven’t had a 64-team FBS playoff for decades aka the sappiest thing about an incredibly sappy sport aka very sincerely the greatest sporting event on earth aka the damned/blessed Rose Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Oregon 28, Wisconsin 27
  • All-time champ: All of us, singing together as one

Weirdest game: There are many options — 1938, 1941, 1975, 2001, 2003, etc. — but I’m going with 1901, when a sport that’d gone more than three decades with almost no organized postseason competition suddenly had a horticulture caravan in suburban Los Angeles paying the Point-A-Minute Michigan Wolverines to spend a billion hours riding trains across the planet so they could make a mediocre Stanford quit after 52 minutes of hideous football in front of 8,000 fans.

Everyone needed 12 years to decide a second Rose Bowl was worth the trouble.

Everyone, at some point, then agreed the Rose Bowl is perfect.

Sugar Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Georgia 26, Baylor 14
  • All-time champ: Other teams have more wins, but Georgia Tech is 4-0

Weirdest game:

I can’t decide:

  1. In 1937, Santa Clara beat LSU for the second year in a row. Totally normal. The excitement in this game: each team punted 14 times, setting a combined bowl mark that has never been topped.
  2. In 1963, the SEC’s Alabama and the SEC’s Ole Miss met for the first time in 20 years (yes, they’d been in the same conference for all 20 of those years), playing in Tulane’s outdoor stadium on New Orleans’ snowiest day in 69 years. Minus a suspended Joe Namath, Bama just spammed field goals into victory.

International Hangover Day

Birmingham Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Cincinnati 38, Boston College 6
  • All-time champ: USF, 3-0

Weirdest game: I’m sorry it doesn’t involve Birmingham legends USF or Pitt, but let’s go with 2015’s postgame. The year after Memphis’ Miami Beach Brawl, Memphis safety Reggis Ball wrestled an Auburn equipment guy to the ground and ran off with a football, then posted his souvenir on his Instagram, which also displayed Cincinnati and Tulsa balls. That’s the Ballad of Ball, the Birmingham Bowl Ball Bandit.

Ledger-Enquirer

Gator Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Tennessee 23, Indiana 22
  • All-time champ: Florida State, 6-0-1

Weirdest game: In 2005, Florida State and West Virginia combined for a spectacular 295 yards of penalties, making for the most litigious bowl ever.

January 3

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Ohio 30, Nevada 21
  • All-time champ: Idaho, 3-0

Weirdest game: I will never recover from the fact that the Miami Hurricanes fielded the most Pro Bowl roster in college football history, had three more pretty good years, and then looked up to discover themselves barely hanging on against 8-5 Nevada on blue turf in Boise, Idaho’s 2006 MPC Computers Bowl to close out the FIU brawl season.

I will also insist that Miami walked
Google Maps

January 4

Armed Forces Bowl

  • Reigning champ: Tulane 30, Southern Miss 13
  • 2019 Watchability rating: Army, 3-0

Weirdest game: Coaches don’t worry a lot about most bowls. Sure, some bowls are high points for long-suffering programs, or actual big games, or clear chances to Change Narratives, but coaches prefer to focus on recruiting, replacing assistants, forward-focused practices, and signing contracts with big buyouts.

Well, sometimes coaches should worry about bowl games. In 2018, Major Applewhite had missed his school president’s stated win-loss benchmark and then retained his job through Black Sunday and Early Signing Day and almost all of December ... but then the actual armed forces, the Army Black Knights, delivered arguably the worst bowl beatdown ever, 70-14. Houston fired Applewhite within the week.

January 6

Mobile Alabama Bowl

  • Reigning champ: CAJUNS 27, Miami (Ohio) 17
  • All-time champ: Marshall, Southern Miss, and Tulsa are 2-0 each

Weirdest game: The wildest bowl ever. In the 2001 GMAC, Marshall came back from 30 down to beat East Carolina in double OT, 64-61. It’s still the highest-scoring bowl ever, Byron Leftwich heaved an all-bowl record 576 passing yards, and let’s just watch the whole thing:

January 11

FCS championship

  • Reigning champ: North Dakota State 28, James Madison 20
  • All-time champ: North Dakota State 8-0 lol

Weirdest game: I don’t know why people say, “Wow, we let Randy Moss play against MAC teams in college.” It’s so much worse than that! We let Randy Moss play against I-AA teams! Former Gator Eric Kresser was his QB! Chad Pennington was there! Marshall beat everybody by more than two touchdowns! In the title game, the Montana guy tasked with chasing RANDY MOSS was listed at 5’10!

Then Marshall jumped up a level and still lost only four games over the next three seasons! Why did we allow this!

January 13

National Championship

Weirdest game: I will never wanna talk about it, but it’s LSU-Alabama 2011.