Holiday Bowl

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Holiday Bowl
National Funding Holiday Bowl
Stadium Qualcomm Stadium
Location San Diego, California
Operated 1978–present
Conference tie-ins Pac-12 (1997–present)
Big Ten (1986–1994; 2014–present)
Previous conference tie-ins WAC (1978–1997)
Big 12 (1995–2013)
Payout US$2,825,000 (As of 2015)[1]
SeaWorld (1986–1990)
Thrifty Car Rental (1991–1994)
Plymouth (1995–1997)
Culligan (1998–2001)
Pacific Life Insurance Company (2002–2009)
Bridgepoint Education (2010–2012)
National University (2013–2014)
National Funding (2015–present)
Former names
Holiday Bowl (1978–1985)
Sea World Holiday Bowl (1986–1990)
Thrifty Car Rental Holiday Bowl (1991–1994)
Plymouth Holiday Bowl (1995–1997)
Culligan Holiday Bowl (1998–2001)
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (2002–2009)
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (2010–2012)
National University Holiday Bowl (2013–2014)
2015 matchup
Wisconsin vs. USC (Wisconsin 23–21)

The National Funding Holiday Bowl is a post-season NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision college football bowl game that has been played annually since 1978 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California, United States. Since the 2014 edition, it has featured Pac-12 and Big Ten teams.


The Holiday Bowl was founded to give the Western Athletic Conference an automatic bowl bid after the Fiesta Bowl, which previously had a tie in with the game, ended its association with the WAC after Arizona and Arizona State (the latter of which served as the game's host) left the conference to join the Pacific-8 Conference in 1977. Thus, the Holiday Bowl inherited the Fiesta Bowl's former WAC ties and gave the conference's champion its automatic bid. For the first several years, the WAC champion played an at-large team in the Holiday Bowl. Beginning in 1986 and continuing until 1994, the Big Ten Conference was given the second bid provided it had enough bowl eligible teams.

Beginning in 1995, the Big Eight Conference replaced the Big Ten and remained tied with the bowl through as the conference expanded to become the Big 12 the following year. The WAC's automatic bid was split, with first choice given to the Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas, and a team from the Pacific-10 Conference was added as the alternate pick (meaning that, if the WAC champion played in the Cotton Bowl, the Pac-10's team would play in the Holiday Bowl). The WAC ended its association with the Holiday Bowl after the 1997 game, and the game became a matchup between the Big 12 and Pac-10.

From 1998–2009, the matchup featured the #2 Pac-12 team playing the #3 Big 12 team, but the Alamo Bowl outbid the Holiday Bowl to feature that matchup beginning in 2010. Holiday Bowl Executive Director Bruce Binkowski stated that average ticket prices for the Holiday Bowl would have had to have been increased from $60 to $100 to match the Alamo Bowl's offer of a $3 million payout (the Holiday Bowl was only offering $2.35 million).[2] The now-Pac-12 and Big 12 retained their contracts with the Holiday Bowl, however, and the 2010–2013 matchups pitted the #3 Pac-12 team against the #5 Big 12 team.[3]

Effective with the 2014 game, the Big Ten signed a six-year contract to return after a 20-year absence to the Holiday Bowl, regaining the slot they held from 1986–1994. With this agreement, the Holiday Bowl now features the #3 Pac-12 team and the #4 Big Ten team.

Previous sponsors have included SeaWorld, Thrifty Car Rental, Chrysler Corporation (through its Plymouth brand), Culligan, Pacific Life, Bridgepoint Education and National University.

Related events

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 racing circuit. The game is also celebrated with the Big Bay Balloon Parade, organized by the Port of San Diego and currently sponsored by San Diego County Credit Union.

Game results

Texas Tech on offense at the 2004 Holiday Bowl

For the first seven games, Brigham Young University represented the WAC as its champion. In the inaugural game on December 22, The Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy came in with an 8–3 record and a Commander-in-Chief's Trophy and then capped the remarkable season with a 23–16 comeback victory over the highly favored Cougars. BYU has played in a total of 11 Holiday Bowls, more than any other team. The 1980 game was known as "The Miracle Bowl" as BYU erased a 20-point Southern Methodist lead in the last 2 minutes of the game, tying the score on the last play of the game - a 60-yard pass from All-American quarterback Jim McMahon to tight end Clay Brown as time expired. BYU kicker Kurt Gunther added the go ahead extra point.

The 1983 game between BYU and Missouri had its own miraculous ending, as BYU rallied behind All-American quarterback Steve Young. With just 23 seconds left, Young gave a handoff to Eddie Stinnett. Stinnett then turned around and passed it back to Steve Young, who caught it and ran in for a touchdown, giving BYU a 21-17 win. Young achieved a rare feat in college football: one touchdown pass, one touchdown run, and one touchdown reception all in a single game. For his efforts, he was named offensive MVP.

One year later, BYU, led by their legendary coach, LaVell Edwards, won the national championship in the Holiday Bowl by defeating the University of Michigan Wolverines, coached by Bo Schembechler, 24–17. 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. Again, the Holiday Bowl came down to the final few plays. BYU drove the length of the field and scored on a pass from injured All-American quarterback Robbie Bosco to Kelly Smith with 1:23 remaining. Marv Allen, who also played in the very first Holiday Bowl as a redshirt freshman in 1978, sealed the victory with an interception. It was the first — and only — time that the title was won at the Holiday Bowl.

Date Played Winning Team Losing Team notes
December 22, 1978 Navy 23 BYU 16 notes
December 21, 1979 Indiana 38 BYU 37 notes
December 19, 1980 BYU 46 SMU 45 notes
December 18, 1981 BYU 38 Washington State 36 notes
December 17, 1982 Ohio State 47 BYU 17 notes
December 23, 1983 BYU 21 Missouri 17 notes
December 21, 1984 BYU 24 Michigan 17 notes
December 22, 1985 Arkansas 18 Arizona State 17 notes
December 30, 1986 Iowa 39 San Diego State 38 notes
December 30, 1987 Iowa 20 Wyoming 19 notes
December 30, 1988 Oklahoma State 62 Wyoming 14 notes
December 29, 1989 Penn State 50 BYU 39 notes
December 29, 1990 Texas A&M 65 BYU 14 notes
December 30, 1991 [4] BYU 13 Iowa 13 notes
December 30, 1992 Hawaii 27 Illinois 17 notes
December 30, 1993 Ohio State 28 BYU 21 notes
December 30, 1994 Michigan 24 Colorado State 14 notes
December 29, 1995 Kansas State 54 Colorado State 21 notes
December 30, 1996 Colorado 33 Washington 21 notes
December 29, 1997 Colorado State 35 Missouri 24 notes
December 30, 1998 Arizona 23 Nebraska 20 notes
December 29, 1999 Kansas State 24 Washington 20 notes
December 29, 2000 Oregon 35 Texas 30 notes
December 28, 2001 Texas 47 Washington 43 notes
December 27, 2002 Kansas State 34 Arizona State 27 notes
December 30, 2003 Washington State 28 Texas 20 notes
December 30, 2004 Texas Tech 45 California 31 notes
December 29, 2005 Oklahoma 17 Oregon 14 notes
December 28, 2006 California 45 Texas A&M 10 notes[5]
December 27, 2007 Texas 52 Arizona State 34 notes[6]
December 30, 2008 Oregon 42 Oklahoma State 31 notes
December 30, 2009 Nebraska 33 Arizona 0 notes
December 30, 2010 Washington 19 Nebraska 7 notes
December 28, 2011 Texas 21 California 10 notes
December 27, 2012 Baylor 49 UCLA 26 notes
December 30, 2013 Texas Tech 37 Arizona State 23 notes
December 27, 2014 USC 45 Nebraska 42 notes
December 30, 2015 Wisconsin 23 USC 21 notes


Most appearances

Rank Team Appearances Record
1 BYU 11 4–6–1
2 Texas 5 3–2
T3 Washington 4 1–3
T3 Arizona State 4 0–4
T3 Nebraska 4 1-3
T5 Kansas State 3 3–0
T5 Iowa 3 2–0–1
T5 Oregon 3 2–1
T5 Colorado State 3 1–2
T5 California 3 1–2
T10 Ohio State 2 2–0
T10 Texas Tech 2 2–0
T10 Arizona 2 1–1
T10 Michigan 2 1–1
T10 Oklahoma State 2 1–1
T10 Texas A&M 2 1–1
T10 Washington State 2 1–1
T10 USC 2 1–1
T10 Missouri 2 0–2
T10 Wyoming 2 0-2
T20 Arkansas 1 1–0
T20 Baylor 1 1–0
T20 Colorado 1 1–0
T20 Hawaii 1 1–0
T20 Indiana 1 1–0
T20 Navy 1 1–0
T20 Oklahoma 1 1–0
T20 Penn State 1 1–0
T20 Wisconsin 1 1–0
T20 Illinois 1 0–1
T20 San Diego State 1 0–1
T20 SMU 1 0–1
T20 UCLA 1 0–1

Media coverage


Date Network Play-by-play announcers Color commentators Sideline reporters
2015 ESPN Adam Amin Kelly Stouffer Olivia Harlan
2014 ESPN Rece Davis Jesse Palmer and David Pollack Samantha Ponder
2013 ESPN Joe Tessitore Matt Millen Maria Taylor
2012 ESPN Dave Pasch Brian Griese Jenn Brown
2011 ESPN Rece Davis Jesse Palmer Jenn Brown
2010 ESPN Chris Fowler Todd Blackledge Erin Andrews
2009[7] ESPN Chris Fowler Craig James and Jesse Palmer Erin Andrews
2008 ESPN Chris Fowler Craig James and Jesse Palmer Erin Andrews
2007 ESPN Brent Musburger Kirk Herbstreit Lisa Salters
2006[8] ESPN Chris Fowler Kirk Herbstreit Erin Andrews
2005[9] ESPN Keith Jackson Dan Fouts Holly Rowe and Todd Harris
2004[10] ESPN Sean McDonough Craig James Heather Cox
2003[11] ESPN Ron Franklin Mike Gottfried Adrian Karsten
2002[12] ESPN Mike Tirico Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit Jerry Punch
2001 ESPN Mike Tirico Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit
2000 ESPN Mike Tirico Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit
1999[13] ESPN Mike Tirico Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit
1998 ESPN Mike Tirico Todd Blackledge
1997 ESPN Rich Waltz Rod Gilmore
1996 ESPN Brad Nessler Gary Danielson
1995 ESPN Brad Nessler Gary Danielson
1994 ESPN Brad Nessler Gary Danielson Adrian Karsten
1993 ESPN Brad Nessler Gary Danielson Sharlene Hawkes
1992 ESPN Brad Nessler Gary Danielson Sharlene Hawkes
1991 ESPN Steve Physioc Gary Danielson Jerry Punch
1990 ESPN Sean McDonough Mike Gottfried Neil Lomax
1989 ESPN Tim Brando Vince Dooley Jerry Punch
1988 ESPN Bob Carpenter Kevin Kiley Sharlene Hawkes
1987 ESPN Jim Kelly Kevin Kiley
1986 ESPN Jay Randolph Dave Logan
1985 USA Network

Lorimar Sports Network

Eddie Doucette

Tom Hammond

Kyle Rote, Jr.

Terry Donahue

Geoff Witcher

1984 ESPN/Mizlou Howard David Paul Maguire
1983 ESPN Jim Simpson Bud Wilkinson
1982 ESPN Fred White Irv Brown
1981 ESPN
1980 ESPN/Mizlou Ray Scott Grady Alderman


Date Network Play-by-play announcers Color commentators Sideline reporters
2015 ESPN Radio Drew Goodman Tom Ramsey Marty Cesario
2014 ESPN Radio Bill Rosinski David Norrie Joe Schad
2013 ESPN Radio Bill Rosinski David Norrie Joe Schad
2012 ESPN Radio Bill Rosinski David Norrie Joe Schad
2011 ESPN Radio Bill Rosinski David Norrie Joe Schad
2010 ESPN Radio Bill Rosinski David Norrie Joe Schad
2009[7] ESPN Radio Bill Rosinski Dennis Franchione Joe Schad
2006 ESPN Radio Dan Fouts Tim Brant Jack Arute



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  2. "Holiday Bowl drops down in the pecking order".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Tim Griffin (August 28, 2008). "Valero Alamo Bowl, Pacific-10 Conference agree on deal starting in 2010 season". Retrieved 2009-08-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  5. "Bears Blast Aggies To Win Holiday Bowl - Lynch's 111 yards and two touchdowns pace a 45-10 Golden Bears win". University of California at Berkeley. December 28, 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "McCoy fumbles four times, but Texas still routs Arizona State in Holiday Bowl". ESPN. December 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Reflections on NFL, ESPN, and The New York Giants". Retrieved 24 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. " College Football - Holiday Bowl: California vs. Texas A&M". Retrieved 24 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "2005 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: Oregon vs. Oklahoma". Retrieved 24 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "2004 Holiday Bowl". Retrieved 24 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 1999 Holiday Bowl Intro. 26 August 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2015 – via YouTube.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links