Holiday Bowl

Coordinates: 32°46′59″N 117°7′10″W / 32.78306°N 117.11944°W / 32.78306; -117.11944

Holiday Bowl
San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
Stadium SDCCU Stadium
Location San Diego, California
Operated 1978–present
Conference tie-ins Pac-12 (1997–present)
Big Ten (1991–94; 2014–present)
Previous conference tie-ins WAC (1978–97)
Big 12 (1995–2013)
Payout US$2,825,000 (As of 2015)[1]
SeaWorld (1986–90)
Thrifty Car Rental (1991–94)
Plymouth (1995–97)
Culligan (1998–2001)
Pacific Life Insurance Company (2002–09)
Bridgepoint Education (2010–12)
National University (2013–14)
National Funding (2015–16)
San Diego County Credit Union (2017–)
Former names
Holiday Bowl (1978–85)
Sea World Holiday Bowl (1986–90)
Thrifty Car Rental Holiday Bowl (1991–94)
Plymouth Holiday Bowl (1995–97)
Culligan Holiday Bowl (1998–2001)
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (2002–09)
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (2010–12)
National University Holiday Bowl (2013–14)
National Funding Holiday Bowl (2015–16)
2016 matchup
Minnesota vs. Washington State (Minn. 17–12)
2017 matchup
Michigan State vs. Washington State (Michigan State 42–17)

The Holiday Bowl is a post-season NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision college football bowl game that has been played annually since 1978 at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, California, United States. Since the 2014 edition, it has featured a matchup of Pac-12 and Big Ten teams. San Diego County Credit Union has been the game's title sponsor since 2017, and the bowl has been officially known as the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl.


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 conference, ended its association with the WAC following Arizona and Arizona State (the latter of which served as the game's host) leaving 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 1991 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 1991–1994. With this agreement, the Holiday Bowl now features the #3 Pac-12 team and the #4 Big Ten team.

In 2015 and 2016, the title sponsor was National Funding, a San Diego-based alternative lender.[4] Previous sponsors have included SeaWorld, Thrifty Car Rental, Chrysler Corporation (through its Plymouth brand), Culligan, Pacific Life, Bridgepoint Education and National University. Beginning in 2017, the sponsor will be San Diego County Credit Union, which formerly sponsored San Diego's other bowl game, the now-defunct Poinsettia Bowl.[5]

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

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 PlayedWinning TeamLosing Teamnotes
December 22, 1978Navy23BYU16notes
December 21, 1979Indiana38#9 BYU37notes
December 19, 1980#14 BYU46#19 SMU45notes
December 18, 1981#14 BYU38#20 Washington State36notes
December 17, 1982#17 Ohio State47BYU17notes
December 23, 1983#9 BYU21Missouri17notes
December 21, 1984#1 BYU24Michigan17notes
December 22, 1985#14 Arkansas18Arizona State17notes
December 30, 1986#19 Iowa39San Diego State38notes
December 30, 1987#18 Iowa20Wyoming19notes
December 30, 1988#12 Oklahoma State62#15 Wyoming14notes
December 29, 1989#18 Penn State50#19 BYU39notes
December 29, 1990Texas A&M65#13 BYU14notes
December 30, 1991BYU13#7 Iowa13notes[6]
December 30, 1992Hawaii27Illinois17notes
December 30, 1993#11 Ohio State28BYU21notes
December 30, 1994#20 Michigan24#10 Colorado State14notes
December 29, 1995#10 Kansas State54Colorado State21notes
December 30, 1996#8 Colorado33#13 Washington21notes
December 29, 1997#18 Colorado State35#19 Missouri24notes
December 30, 1998#5 Arizona23#14 Nebraska20notes
December 29, 1999#7 Kansas State24Washington20notes
December 29, 2000#8 Oregon35#12 Texas30notes
December 28, 2001#9 Texas47#21 Washington43notes
December 27, 2002#6 Kansas State34Arizona State27notes
December 30, 2003#15 Washington State28#5 Texas20notes
December 30, 2004#23 Texas Tech45#4 California31notes
December 29, 2005#26 Oklahoma17#6 Oregon14notes
December 28, 2006#20 California45#21 Texas A&M10notes[7]
December 27, 2007#17 Texas52#12 Arizona State34notes[8]
December 30, 2008#15 Oregon42#13 Oklahoma State31notes
December 30, 2009#20 Nebraska33#22 Arizona0notes
December 30, 2010Washington19#17 Nebraska7notes
December 28, 2011Texas21California10notes
December 27, 2012Baylor49#17 UCLA26notes
December 30, 2013Texas Tech37#16 Arizona State23notes
December 27, 2014#24 USC45#25 Nebraska42notes
December 30, 2015#23 Wisconsin23USC21notes
December 27, 2016Minnesota17Washington State12notes
December 28, 2017#16 Michigan State42#18 Washington State17notes

Most appearances

Teams with multiple appearances
Rank Team Appearances Record
T3Washington State41–3
T3Arizona State40–4
T7Kansas State33–0
T7Colorado State31–2
T12Ohio State22–0
T12Texas Tech22–0
T12Oklahoma State21–1
T12Texas A&M21–1
Teams with a single appearance

Won: Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, Navy, Oklahoma, Penn State, Wisconsin
Lost: Illinois, San Diego State, SMU, UCLA

Appearances by conference

Through the December 2017 playing, there have been 40 games (80 total appearances).

Rank Conference Appearances Wins Losses Ties Pct.
1Pac-12[n 1]237160.304
T2Big 12181170.611
4Big Ten13931.731
T5Big Eight3210.667
7Independents[n 2]22001.000
  1. Includes appearances by teams in what was the Pac-10.
  2. Navy (1978) and Penn State (1989)

Media coverage

The Holiday Bowl was broadcast by ESPN from 1980 through 2016 (except in 1985, when it was broadcast by USA Network instead), which was one of the network's longest relationships. In 2017, the game moved to Fox Sports 1.[9]

See also


  1. "College Bowl Game Payouts". 25 November 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  2. "Holiday Bowl drops down in the pecking order".
  3. Tim Griffin (August 28, 2008). "Valero Alamo Bowl, Pacific-10 Conference agree on deal starting in 2010 season". Retrieved 2009-08-31.
  4. De Crecenzo, Sarah (October 27, 2016). "National Funding Will Be Title Sponsor of Holiday Bowl". San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  5. De Crecenzo, Sarah (March 9, 2017). "S.D. County Credit Union to Sponsor Holiday Bowl". San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  6. "THE 1991 THRIFTY CAR RENTAL HOLIDAY BOWL". Archived from the original on August 21, 2014 via Wayback Machine.
  7. "Bears Blast Aggies To Win Holiday Bowl". AP. December 28, 2006. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011 via Wayback Machine.
  8. "McCoy fumbles four times, but Texas still routs Arizona State in Holiday Bowl". AP. December 28, 2007.
  9. "Holiday Bowl moving from ESPN to FS1". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
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