A Guide to College Football Bowls

A spot in one of the college football bowls is the goal of every college team. Bowl games are played in lieu of a standard playoff system. Previously, the national champion was determined on a rotating basis from one of the four BCS Championship Series bowls (Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange). In 2006 the system was changed so that the BCS National Championship is played one week after the bowls, rotating at each of their stadiums. Here are the five major bowls.

Rose Bowl
This was the first bowl game and was played in 1902 between Michigan and Stanford. It was played after the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. Today the Rose Bowl, known as "The Granddaddy of them all" is still played in Pasadena, on New Year's Day (unless that falls on a Sunday, in which case the game is played on Monday, January 2). The Rose Bowl is played between the winner of the Pacific-10 and the Top 10 leagues.

Sugar Bowl
The Sugar Bowl is played in the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Recently it was moved temporarily to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta due to Hurricane Katrina. The Sugar Bowl hosts the Southeastern Conference Champion (unless that team is in the National Championship).

Fiesta Bowl
The Fiesta Bowl is currently played in Glendale, Arizona and has been around since 1971. The Western Athletic Conference developed the Fiesta Bowl because its conference champions were constantly being overlooked for a position in prestigious bowl games. In 1986, when Penn State and Miami agreed to play in the Fiesta Bowl, it gained the reputation it needed to become a top bowl.

Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is played in Miami, Florida, and currently hosts the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Previously it hosted either the ACC or the Big East. It originated from Miami leaders who wanted to create a "Fiesta of the American Tropics." In 1935 the first Orange Bowl was played.

BCS National Championship Bowl
The objective of the BCS National Championship Bowl is to determine the national leader of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The BCS is played one week after the other bowl games; its location rotates between the sites of the four BCS bowls. The winner of this bowl is crowned the National Champion.

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