By Dave Wischnowsky–
I’m a sucker for bowl games.
I love their tradition. I love their pageantry. And I love the nonstop slate of college football that they provide during the holidays.
But even as much as like bowl games, you can have their names. Events like the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl, Military Bowl Presented by Northrup Grumman and San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl are more than a mouthful.
And that’s why I’ll take the old days. You know, back when men were men, the Big Ten wasn’t a New Year’s Day joke and bowls had simple names – or, even, better really quirky ones.
With that in mind, as we prepare for this season’s final run of bowl games, beginning with tonight’s Discover Orange Bowl, I thought I’d share with you a list of six defunct-but-wonderfully-named college bowl games that you might never have known existed.
The Bacardi Bowl
(1907, 1909, 1911–1912, 1921, 1936, 1946)
Next Monday, Auburn will play for the national championship in its latest bowl game appearance. But the Tigers’ first one was held 74 years ago when Auburn tied Villanova 7-7 in the 1937 Bacardi Bowl held before more than 15,000 spectators in … Havana, Cuba.
The Bacardi Bowl was held seven times, with the last one held in 1946 when Southern Miss routed Havana University 55-0. No word on whether a 20-year-old Fidel Castro suited up for Havana U that season.
The Cosmopolitan Bowl
It wasn’t named for the fashion magazine or the drink made famous by “Sex and The City,” and it was held just once in December 1951 in Alexandria, La. But in the first and only Cosmo Bowl, McNeese State beat Louisiana College 13-6.
The next season, McNeese advanced to the Vogue Bowl.
The Mercy Bowl
This year, they could have called the Capital One Bowl the Mercy Bowl considering that Alabama most certainly had Michigan State begging for it.
In reality, the first Mercy Bowl was a heartfelt event played between Fresno State and Bowling Green at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in November 1961 as a special fundraiser in memory of 16 Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo football players killed in a plane crash following a game against Bowling Green a year earlier.
A second Mercy Bowl was then held a decade later in 1971 between Fresno State and Cal-State Fullerton in memory of the 14 surviving children of three Cal-State Fullerton assistant coaches and a pilot who died in a plane crash.
The Refrigerator Bowl
In the 1940s, the factories in Evansville, Ind., were manufacturing an average of 3,800 refrigerator units each day, earning the town the nickname, “The Refrigerator Capital of the World” as well as a college bowl game befitting such an honor.
The last Refrigerator Bowl was held in 1956 when the Sam Houston State College Bearkats cooled off the Middle Tennessee State College Blue Raiders 27-13.
The Salad Bowl
A clever name wasn’t enough to keep the Salad Bowl from being tossed into the trash heap of history, although the event is considered a precursor to the modern-day Fiesta Bowl.
For four years, the Salad Bowl was held at Montgomery Stadium in Phoenix, with the last game in 1952 pitting Houston against Dayton. No doubt mixing things up, the Cougars were able to toss the Flyers 26-21.
Disappointingly the game had nothing to do with Mr. Spock. Rather, the Vulcan Bowl was held in Birmingham, Ala., on New Year’s Day as a matchup between historically black colleges.
In the last Vulcan Bowl in 1952, Bethune-Cookman beat Texas College 27-13 before surely going on to Live Long and Prosper afterward.
Do you agree with Dave? Post your comments below.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com.