Sugar Bowl

Sugar Bowl
Allstate Sugar Bowl
Allstate Sugar Bowl logo
Stadium Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Location New Orleans, Louisiana
Previous stadiums Tulane Stadium (1934–1974)
Georgia Dome[lower-alpha 1] (2006)
Previous locations Atlanta, Georgia[lower-alpha 1] (2006)
Operated 1935–present
Conference tie-ins SEC (unofficial 1935–1975, official 1976–present)
Big 12 (2015–present)
Payout US$17,000,000 per team (As of 2014)[1]
USF&G Financial Services (1988–1995)
Nokia (1996–2006)
Allstate Insurance (2007–present)
Former names
Sugar Bowl (1935–1987)
USF&G Sugar Bowl (1988–1995)
Nokia Sugar Bowl (1996–2006)
2016 season matchup
Oklahoma vs. Auburn (Oklahoma 35–19)
2017 season matchup
Clemson vs. Alabama (Alabama 24-6)[2]

The Sugar Bowl is an annual American college football bowl game played in New Orleans, Louisiana. It has been played annually since January 1, 1935, and celebrated its 75th anniversary on January 2, 2009. The Sugar Bowl, along with the Orange Bowl and Sun Bowl, are the second-oldest bowl games in the country, behind the Rose Bowl Game.[3] The Sugar Bowl was originally played at Tulane Stadium before moving to the Superdome in 1975. When the Superdome and the rest of the city suffered damaged due the Hurricane Katrina in 2006, the Sugar Bowl was temporarily moved to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Since 2007, the game has been sponsored by Allstate and officially known as the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Previous sponsors include Nokia (1996–2006) and USF&G Financial Services (1988–1995).

The Sugar Bowl has had a longstanding — albeit not exclusive — relationship with the Southeastern Conference (SEC) (which once had a member institution based in New Orleans, Tulane University; another Louisiana school, Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, is still in the SEC today). Indeed, the Sugar Bowl did not feature an SEC team only four times in its first 60 editions, and an SEC team played in the game in every year but one from 1950 to 1995. The SEC's opponent varied from year to year, but, prior to the advent of the Bowl Championship Series was often the runner-up of the Big 8 or SWC, or a major independent.

The Sugar Bowl-SEC relationship has been altered over the past twenty years due to conference realignments and the emergence of a series of coalitions and alliances intending to produce an undisputed national champion in college football, but the ties between the Sugar Bowl and the SEC have persisted and have recently been strengthened. Since 2015, the Sugar Bowl, along with the Rose, Orange, Cotton, Peach, and Fiesta bowls, is one of the "New Years Six" bowls in rotation for the College Football Playoff. It hosted a playoff semifinal following the 2014 season, and will next host one following the 2020 season. In other years, it will feature the best available teams from SEC and the Big 12 Conferences,[4] an arrangement nearly identical with the relationship between the Rose Bowl and the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12.

As a member of the Bowl Championship Series, the Sugar Bowl hosted the BCS National Championship Game twice (2000 and 2004). However, from the 2006 season to the 2013 season, the BCS National Championship Game had been a stand-alone event, following one week after the New Year's Day bowl games. This means that, under the now-defunct BCS format, no traditional bowl game hosted the BCS National Championship Game, but that game was played at the venue of one of those traditional major bowls, rotating amongst the four sites, including the Superdome.

The payout for the 2006 game was $14–17 million per participating team. According to Sports Illustrated, the 2007 salary for Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan was $607,500.[5]


In 1890, Pasadena, California held its first Tournament of Roses Parade to showcase the city's mild weather compared to the harsh winters in northern cities. As one of the organizers said: "In New York, people are buried in snow. Here, our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear [fruit]. Let's hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise." In 1902, the annual festival was enhanced by adding a football game.[6]

In 1926, leaders in Miami, Florida decided to do the same with a "Fiesta of the American Tropics" that was centered around a New Year's Day football game. Although a second "Fiesta" was never held, Miami leaders later revived the idea with the "Palm Festival" (with the slogan "Have a Green Christmas in Miami"). The football game and associated festivities of the Palm Festival were soon named the "Orange Bowl."[7]

In New Orleans, Louisiana, the idea of a New Year's Day football game was first presented in 1927 by Colonel James M. Thomson, publisher of the New Orleans Item, and Sports Editor Fred Digby. Every year thereafter, Digby repeated calls for action, and even came up with the name "Sugar Bowl" for his proposed football game.[8]

By 1935, enough support had been garnered for the first Sugar Bowl. The game was played in Tulane Stadium, which had been built in 1926 on Tulane University's campus (before 1871, Tulane's campus was Paul Foucher's plantation, where Foucher's father-in-law, Etienne de Bore, had first granulated sugar from cane syrup). Warren V. Miller, the first president of the New Orleans Mid-Winter Sports Association, guided the Sugar Bowl through its difficult formative years of 1934 and 1935. An unusual 2-0 score marked the 1942 Sugar Bowl, in which the sole scoring play was a safety.

Much controversy preceded the 1956 Sugar Bowl, when Pitt Panthers who were playing with Bobby Grier, an African-American, met the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. There had been controversy over whether Grier should be allowed to play due to his race, and whether Georgia Tech should even play at all due to Georgia's Governor Marvin Griffin's opposition to racial integration.[9][10][11]

In November 1967, Army's success on the field made them a strong candidate to be selected for the 1968 Sugar Bowl. However, Pentagon officials, in the midst of the Vietnam War, refused to allow the team to play what would have been the academy's first bowl game ever—citing the "heavy demands on the players' time" as well as an emphasis on football being "not consistent with the academy's basic mission: to produce career Army officers."[12]

Tulane Stadium hosted the game from 1935 through 1974. It has been played in the Louisiana Superdome since 1975. The Sugar Bowl's corporate title sponsor was USF&G Financial Services from 1987 to 1995 and Nokia cellular telephones of Finland from 1995 to 2006. In March 2006 Allstate Insurance was announced as the new title sponsor. ABC Sports televised the game from 1969 through 2006. Fox Sports televised the game from 2007 to 2009 as part of its contract with the BCS. ESPN started airing the game with the 2010–11 season, after outbidding Fox for the broadcasting rights.[13]

The 2006 Sugar Bowl game was played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia because of the extensive damage the Superdome suffered as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The Sugar Bowl has since returned to the refurbished Superdome.

Prior to the BCS, the game traditionally hosted the Southeastern Conference (SEC) champion against a top-tier at-large opponent. This was formalized in 1975, when the SEC champion was granted an automatic bid to the Sugar Bowl starting with the end of the 1976 season. This continued throughout the time of the Bowl Coalition, a precursor to the BCS. However, the Sugar Bowl agreed to release the SEC champion if necessary to force a national championship game. Under this format, the Sugar Bowl hosted the first Bowl Coalition national championship game, when SEC champion Alabama upended Miami at the end of the 1992 season. When the Bowl Coalition became the Bowl Alliance at the start of the 1995 season, the Sugar Bowl would still release the SEC champion to go to the national championship game if they were ranked in the top two in the nation.

Under the now-defunct BCS format, the Sugar Bowl continued to host the SEC champion against a top-tier at-large opponent, unless the SEC champion went to the BCS National Championship Game.[14] When this happened, the Sugar Bowl usually selected the highest-ranked SEC team still available in the BCS pool. The SEC champion played for the national championship in every one of the eight final editions of the BCS (2006 to 2013).

The Sugar Bowl maintains an archive of past programs, images, newsreels, and other materials. The archive, originally housed in the Superdome, survived Hurricane Katrina, but a more secure home was needed. During the summer of 2007, the Sugar Bowl donated its materials to The Historic New Orleans Collection, designating it the permanent home of its archive.

2011 Sugar Bowl winner Ohio State vacated its Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas in response to National Collegiate Athletic Association allegations over a memorabilia-for-cash scandal.[15]

The 2012 game, pitting the Michigan Wolverines against the Virginia Tech Hokies, was the first Sugar Bowl since 2000—and only the sixth since World War II—without an SEC team. Both of the SEC's BCS participants, Alabama and LSU, played in the National Championship Game, and under BCS rules only two teams per conference were eligible for BCS bowls.

In May 2012, the Big 12 and SEC announced plans to create a new bowl game, the Champions Bowl, that would play host to the champions of those two conferences.[16] However, by November 2012, it was decided instead that the Sugar Bowl will play host to the champions of the Big 12 and SEC, beginning in January 2015.[4] If one of those teams takes part in the national semifinal, a team from the same conference will take their place. Also, it will become one of the bowls that will rotate as a spot for a national semifinal game. On January 1, 2015, the Sugar Bowl matched Big 10 champion, Ohio State against SEC champion Alabama in one of two semi-final games for the college football playoff championship in its inaugural year.

Game results

Italics denote a tie game

Date PlayedWinning TeamLosing TeamAttendance[17]Notes
January 1, 1935Tulane20Temple1422,026notes
January 1, 1936TCU3LSU235,000notes
January 1, 1937Santa Clara21LSU1441,000notes
January 1, 1938Santa Clara6LSU045,000notes
January 2, 1939#1 TCU15#6 Carnegie Tech750,000notes
January 1, 1940#1 Texas A&M14#5 Tulane1373,000notes
January 1, 1941#4 Boston College19#6 Tennessee1373,181notes
January 1, 1942#6 Fordham2#7 Missouri072,000notes
January 1, 1943#7 Tennessee14#4 Tulsa770,000notes
January 1, 1944#13 Georgia Tech20Tulsa1869,000notes
January 1, 1945#11 Duke29Alabama2672,000notes
January 1, 1946#5 Oklahoma State33#7 Saint Mary's (CA)1375,000notes
January 1, 1947#3 Georgia20#9 North Carolina1073,300notes
January 1, 1948#5 Texas27#6 Alabama772,000notes
January 1, 1949#5 Oklahoma14#3 North Carolina682,000notes
January 2, 1950#2 Oklahoma35#9 LSU082,470notes
January 1, 1951#7 Kentucky13#1 Oklahoma782,000notes
January 1, 1952#3 Maryland28#1 Tennessee1382,000notes
January 1, 1953#2 Georgia Tech24#7 Ole Miss782,000notes
January 1, 1954#8 Georgia Tech42#10 West Virginia1976,000notes
January 1, 1955#5 Navy21#6 Ole Miss082,000notes
January 2, 1956#7 Georgia Tech7#11 Pittsburgh080,175notes
January 1, 1957#11 Baylor13#2 Tennessee781,000notes
January 1, 1958#7 Ole Miss39#11 Texas782,000notes
January 1, 1959#1 LSU7#12 Clemson082,000notes
January 1, 1960#2 Ole Miss21#3 LSU083,000notes
January 2, 1961#2 Ole Miss14Rice682,851notes
January 1, 1962#1 Alabama10#9 Arkansas382,910notes
January 1, 1963#3 Ole Miss17#6 Arkansas1382,900notes
January 1, 1964#8 Alabama12#7 Ole Miss780,785notes
January 1, 1965#7 LSU13Syracuse1065,000notes
January 1, 1966#6 Missouri20Florida1867,421notes
January 2, 1967#6 Alabama34#3 Nebraska782,000notes
January 1, 1968LSU20#5 Wyoming1378,963notes
January 1, 1969#9 Arkansas16#4 Georgia282,113notes
January 1, 1970#13 Ole Miss27#3 Arkansas2282,500notes
January 1, 1971#4 Tennessee34#11 Air Force1378,655notes
January 1, 1972#3 Oklahoma40#5 Auburn2284,031notes
December 31, 1972#2 Oklahoma14#5 Penn State080,123notes
December 31, 1973#3 Notre Dame24#1 Alabama2385,161notes
December 31, 1974#8 Nebraska13#18 Florida1067,890notes
December 31, 1975#3 Alabama13#7 Penn State675,212notes
January 1, 1977#1 Pittsburgh27#4 Georgia376,117notes
January 2, 1978#3 Alabama35#9 Ohio State676,811notes
January 1, 1979#2 Alabama14#1 Penn State776,824notes
January 1, 1980#2 Alabama24#6 Arkansas977,486notes
January 1, 1981#1 Georgia17#7 Notre Dame1077,895notes
January 1, 1982#10 Pittsburgh24#2 Georgia2077,224notes
January 1, 1983#2 Penn State27#1 Georgia2378,124notes
January 2, 1984#3 Auburn9#8 Michigan777,893notes
January 1, 1985#5 Nebraska28#11 LSU1075,608notes
January 1, 1986#8 Tennessee35#2 Miami777,432notes
January 1, 1987#6 Nebraska30#5 LSU1576,234notes
January 1, 1988#4 Syracuse16#6 Auburn1675,495notes
January 2, 1989#4 Florida State13#7 Auburn761,934notes
January 1, 1990#2 Miami33#7 Alabama2577,452notes
January 1, 1991#6 Tennessee23Virginia2275,132notes
January 1, 1992#18 Notre Dame39#3 Florida2876,447notes
January 1, 1993[lower-alpha 2]#2 Alabama34#1 Miami1376,789notes
January 1, 1994#8 Florida41#3 West Virginia775,437notes
January 2, 1995#7 Florida State23#5 Florida1776,224notes
December 31, 1995#13 Virginia Tech28#9 Texas1070,283notes
January 2, 1997[lower-alpha 3]#3 Florida52#1 Florida State2078,344notes
January 1, 1998#4 Florida State31#9 Ohio State1467,289notes
January 1, 1999#3 Ohio State24#8 Texas A&M1476,503notes
January 4, 2000[lower-alpha 4]#1 Florida State46#2 Virginia Tech2979,280notes
January 2, 2001#2 Miami37#7 Florida2064,407notes
January 1, 2002#12 LSU47#7 Illinois3477,688notes
January 1, 2003#4 Georgia26#16 Florida State1374,269notes
January 4, 2004[lower-alpha 4]#2 LSU21#3 Oklahoma1479,342notes
January 3, 2005#3 Auburn16#9 Virginia Tech1377,349notes
January 2, 2006[lower-alpha 1]#11 West Virginia38#8 Georgia3574,458notes
January 3, 2007#4 LSU41#11 Notre Dame1477,781notes
January 1, 2008#4 Georgia41#10 Hawaiʻi1074,383notes
January 2, 2009#7 Utah31#4 Alabama1771,872notes
January 1, 2010#5 Florida51#4 Cincinnati2465,207notes
January 4, 2011#6 Ohio State31[lower-alpha 5]#8 Arkansas2673,879notes
January 3, 2012#13 Michigan23#17 Virginia Tech2064,512notes
January 2, 2013#22 Louisville33#4 Florida2354,178notes
January 2, 2014#10 Oklahoma45#3 Alabama3170,473notes
January 1, 2015[lower-alpha 6]#4 Ohio State42#1 Alabama3574,682notes
January 1, 2016#12 Ole Miss48#16 Oklahoma State2072,117notes
January 2, 2017#7 Oklahoma35#14 Auburn1954,077notes
January 1, 2018[lower-alpha 6]#4 Alabama24#1 Clemson672,360notes
  1. 1 2 3 Temporarily relocated because of the damage from Hurricane Katrina.
  2. Denotes Bowl Coalition Championship game
  3. Denotes Bowl Alliance Championship game
  4. 1 2 Denotes BCS National Championship Game
  5. Ohio State vacated its 31-26 victory over Arkansas due to NCAA sanctions
  6. 1 2 Denotes College Football Playoff semifinal game

Most Outstanding Players (Miller-Digby Award)

The Miller-Digby Award is presented to the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) in the Sugar Bowl, as voted by sports journalists covering the game. The award was initially established in 1948 following the death of Warren V. Miller, the first president of the Bowl; it was renamed the Miller-Digby Memorial Trophy in 1959, in honor of Fred J. Digby, the first general manager and fellow founding member of the Bowl.[18]

Year MOP Team Position
1948Bobby LayneTexasQB
1949Jack MitchellOklahomaQB
1950Leon HeathOklahomaFB
1951Walt YowarskyKentuckyT
1952Ed ModzelewskiMarylandFB
1953Leon HardemanGeorgia TechHB
1954Pepper RodgersGeorgia TechQB
1955Joe GattusoNavyFB
1956Franklin BrooksGeorgia TechG
1957Del ShofnerBaylorHB
1958Raymond BrownMississippiQB
1959Billy CannonLSUHB
1960Bobby FranklinMississippiQB
1961Jake GibbsMississippiQB
1962Mike FracchiaAlabamaFB
1963Glynn GriffinMississippiQB
1964Tim DavisAlabamaK
1965Doug MoreauLSUFL
1966Steve SpurrierFloridaQB
1967Ken StablerAlabamaQB
1968Glenn SmithLSUHB
1969Chuck DicusArkansasFL
1970Archie ManningMississippiQB
1971Bobby ScottTennesseeQB
1972Jack MildrenOklahomaQB
1972 (D)Tinker OwensOklahomaFL
1973 (D)Tom ClementsNotre DameQB
1974 (D)Tony DavisNebraskaFB
1975 (D)Richard ToddAlabamaQB
1977Matt CavanaughPittsburghQB
1978Jeff RutledgeAlabamaQB
1979Barry KraussAlabamaLB
1980Major OgilvieAlabamaRB
1981Herschel WalkerGeorgiaRB
1982Dan MarinoPittsburghQB
1983Todd BlackledgePenn StateQB
1984Bo JacksonAuburnRB
1985Craig SundbergNebraskaQB
1986Daryl DickeyTennesseeQB
1987Steve TaylorNebraskaQB
1988Don McPhersonSyracuseQB
1989Sammie SmithFlorida StateRB
1990Craig EricksonMiami (Fla.)QB
1991Andy KellyTennesseeQB
1992Jerome BettisNotre DameFB
1993Derrick LassicAlabamaRB
1994Errict RhettFloridaRB
1995Warrick DunnFlorida StateRB
1996Bryan StillVirginia TechWR
1997Danny WuerffelFloridaQB
1998E. G. GreenFlorida StateWR
1999David BostonOhio StateWR
2000Peter WarrickFlorida StateWR
2001Ken DorseyMiami (Fla.)QB
2002Rohan DaveyLSUQB
2003Musa SmithGeorgiaTB
2004Justin VincentLSURB
2005Jason CampbellAuburnQB
2006Steve SlatonWest VirginiaRB
2007JaMarcus RussellLSUQB
2008Marcus HowardGeorgiaDE
2009Brian JohnsonUtahQB
2010Tim TebowFloridaQB
2011Terrelle PryorOhio StateQB
2012Junior HemingwayMichiganWR
2013Teddy BridgewaterLouisvilleQB
2014Trevor KnightOklahomaQB
2015Ezekiel ElliottOhio StateRB
Darron LeeLB
2016Chad KellyMississippiQB
2017Baker MayfieldOklahomaQB
2018Jalen HurtsAlabamaQB
Daron PayneDT

Terrelle Pryor (QB, Ohio State) was ruled ineligible afterwards and his entire record was vacated from the 2010 season.

Appearances by team

Rank Team Appearances Record
3Ole Miss96–3
8Florida State64–2
11Ohio State53–2
12Georgia Tech44–0
12Notre Dame42–2
12Penn State41–3
12Virginia Tech41–3
18West Virginia31–2
21Santa Clara22–0
21Oklahoma State21–1
21Texas A&M21–1
21North Carolina20–2
31Boston College11–0
31Air Force10–1
31Carnegie Tech10–1
31Saint Mary's (CA)10–1

Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt are the only current SEC members to have never appeared in the Sugar Bowl. Former members Georgia Tech and Tulane also appeared in the Sugar Bowl while in the SEC, though former member Sewanee did not. Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech are the only current or former Big 8 or Big 12 members to have never appeared in the Sugar Bowl. Texas Tech, Houston and SMU are the only former Southwest Conference members to have never played in the Sugar Bowl

Record by conference

Conference Games Wins Losses Ties
Big 811830
Big East8440
Big Ten8440
Big 125230
Miz Valley3120
Mtn West1100

The PCC or Pac-12 has never appeared in the Sugar Bowl.


In recent years, television broadcast rights to the Sugar Bowl have been part of the BCS contract. From 1999–2006, the game aired on ABC as part of its BCS package, where it had also been televised from 1969 through 1998. The Sugar Bowl was the only Bowl Alliance game to stick with ABC following the 1995, 1996 and 1997 seasons; the Fiesta and Orange Bowls were televised by CBS. Prior to that, NBC aired the game for several years. From 2006 to 2010, Fox broadcast the game, while ESPN picked up the Sugar Bowl after picking up the rest of the BCS beginning in the 2009–10 season.[13] For 2013, ESPN Deportes introduced a Spanish language telecast of the game.[19]

In November 2012, ESPN announced that it had reached a deal to maintain broadcast rights to the Sugar Bowl through 2026. ESPN pays $55 million yearly to broadcast the game beginning in the 2014–15 season under the new contract, which took effect upon the establishment of the College Football Playoff. ESPN made a similar deal to maintain broadcast rights to the Orange Bowl following the discontinuation of the BCS as well.[20]

See also


  1. "2016-2017 College Football Bowl Game Schedule". Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  2. "Allstate Sugar Bowl". Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  3. "{title}" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-10. Retrieved 2017-01-03.
  4. 1 2 "New Orleans to host Big 12-SEC game". ESPN. 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  5. Murphy, Austin, and Dan Wetzel, "Does It Matter?", Sports Illustrated, 15 November 2010, p. 45.
  6. "Tournament of Roses History". Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Archived from the original on 2 December 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2006.
  7. "History of the Orange Bowl". FedEx Orange Bowl. Archived from the original on 3 November 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2006.
  8. "Sugar Bowl History". Allstate Sugar Bowl. Archived from the original on 23 February 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2006.
  9. Mulé, Marty - A Time For Change: Bobby Grier And The 1956 Sugar Bowl Archived 2007-06-10 at the Wayback Machine.. Black Athlete Sports Network, December 28, 2005
  10. Thamel, Pete - Grier Integrated a Game and Earned the World's Respect. New York Times, Published: January 1, 2006.
  11. "Rome News-Tribune - Google News Archive Search".
  12. 1 2 "Fox Sports pulls out of bidding to show BCS games". 18 November 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  13. "Selection Procedures". BCS. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2006.
  14. "Ohio State vacating Sugar Bowl win, other 2010 victories". WWL-TV. Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  15. "SEC, Big 12 use bowl game deal to get leverage in BCS playoff - Stewart Mandel -". 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
  16. "Bowl/All Star Game Records" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  17. "Miller-Digby Award". 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  18. "BCS National Championship and Bowl Games on ESPN Deportes". ESPN. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  19. "ESPN Reaches 12-Year College Football Agreement With Orange Bowl". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
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