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Thursday, December 13, 2012
16 great photos of bygone bowl games

By Patrick Dorsey

Bowl season begins Saturday, with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl leading the cavalcade of games -- 35 in all -- from December to January.

But some from the past will be missing -- some that were played for decades, others for just a year or two. Here's a look at a selection of great shots from several of these now-defunct games, the bygone bowls of college football:

Bluebonnet Bowl (1959-87)
Played at Rice Stadium and the Astrodome during its run, this game featured some big names and big schools -- Texas played in it six times -- over the 29 years.

Lou Holtz with the Arkansas Razorbacks at the 1982 Bluebonnet Bowl
Lou Holtz, with the Arkansas Razorbacks (28-24 winners over the Florida Gators in 1982).
Bill Walsh with the Stanford Cardinal at the 1978 Bluebonnet Bowl
Bill Walsh, with Stanford (25-22 winner over the Georgia Bulldogs in 1978).
Jimmy Johnson with the Oklahoma State Cowboys at the 1983 Bluebonnet Bowl
Jimmy Johnson, with the Oklahoma State Cowboys (24-14 winner over the Baylor Bears in 1983).

Houston Bowl (2000-05; also known as the Bowl)
Houston's bowl history continued with this game, first played at the Astrodome and later Reliant Stadium. Once again it stressed local teams (it had a Big 12 tie-in), with at least one team from Texas playing each year (including a Texas A&M-TCU matchup in 2001). It also was embattled Colorado coach Gary Barnett's final bowl game.

Gary Barnett with the Colorado Buffaloes at the 2004 Houston Bowl
Gary Barnett, with the Colorado Buffaloes (33-28 winners over Texas-El Paso in 2004).
Houston Bowl trophy and the TCU Horned Frogs
The final Houston Bowl trophy, hoisted by TCU (27-24 winner over Iowa State in 2005).

Oil Bowl (1946-47)
Before Bluebonnet, before, there was Oil -- the Oil Bowl, which lasted just two years and featured two Georgia teams -- the Bulldogs first, Georgia Tech second. (Note: Houston is back as a bowl host, home to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas).

Oil Bowl featuring the Georgia Bulldogs in 1946
The Georgia Bulldogs' Charles Trippi against Tulsa on Jan. 1, 1946.

International Bowl (2007-10)
Aiming to be the first FBS-level postseason bowl played outside the U.S. since 1937, the Toronto-based International pulled it off -- but only for a time. Still, those four years were enough to see some significant winners -- including the Ray Rice-Greg Schiano Rutgers team of 2008, and Brian Kelly's Cincinnati Bearcats the year before.

Ray Rice of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and mother Janet Rice at the 2008 International Bowl
Ray Rice, left, and mother Janet Rice after Rutgers' win over Ball State in 2008.
Greg Schiano with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in 2008 at the International Bowl
Greg Schiano, with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in 2008.
Brian Kelly with the Cincinnati Bearcats in the International Bowl in 2007
Brian Kelly, with the inaugural trophy in 2007, after Cincinnati's 27-24 win over Western Michigan.

Aloha Bowl / Oahu Bowl (1982-2000 / 1998-2000)
Hawaii's bowl history mirrors -- even surpasses -- Houston's in terms of stops and starts, covering events FBS-level and otherwise such as the Poi, the Pineapple, the Hula and these two, which actually ran concurrently for a time -- twice as a Christmas Day doubleheader. After 2000, both bowls relocated and later fell apart, but the still-running Hawaii Bowl brought postseason football back to the islands starting in 2002.

Jim Caldwell with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons before the 1999 Aloha Bowl
Jim Caldwell, before the 1999 Aloha Bowl (Wake Forest vs. Arizona State).
June Jones with the Hawaii Warriors at the 1999 Oahu Bowl
June Jones, before the 1999 Oahu Bowl (Hawaii vs. Oregon State).

Freedom Bowl (1984-94)
Bowl games in baseball stadiums? They happen, still, with this one being played at the Big A, the California Angels' Anaheim Stadium. The game did last more than a decade -- and UCLA drew more than 55,000 people to its 1986 win over BYU -- but low funding and consistently poor attendance doomed the contest.

Freedom Bowl of 1984 between Texas and Iowa in Anaheim.
A sparse crowd at the inaugural Freedom Bowl (Iowa 55, Texas 17).

Seattle Bowl (2001-02)
Another baseball-football nexus, with this Safeco Field game -- which actually was formed when the Oahu Bowl left Hawaii after 2000. Poor funding got the better of the game, which still featured some successful action on the infield for Georgia Tech (over Stanford) and Wake Forest (Oregon).

Kelly Campbell of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the Seattle Bowl in 2001
Kelly Campbell of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, standing on the infield in 2001.
Seattle Bowl, with Georgia Tech interim coach Mac McWhorter
Mac McWhorter, Georgia Tech interim coach, after a 24-14 win over Stanford.

Gotham Bowl (1961-62)
Before there was the New Era Pinstripe Bowl -- or even Freedom or Seattle -- there was the Gotham Bowl, played at Yankee Stadium only twice. It was far from a smooth operation, though; its anticipated 1960 debut had to be called off when only one team accepted an invitation, then the 1962 game was fraught with drama of the unwanted kind. Still, although it was seen by less than 7,000 fans, it was a dramatic send-off: a 36-34 win by Nebraska over Miami.

Bob Devaney, Nebraska Cornhuskers coach, after the 1962 Gotham Bowl
Bob Devaney, Nebraska coach, after the 1962 win.

Haka Bowl (never played)
We're cheating here, but it's for the story: 1996 was supposed to be the year of the new non-U.S. bowl, with organizers wanting to bring college football to the rugby-crazy nation of New Zealand. Haka -- the Maori war dance still used by the national rugby team, the All Blacks (below) -- was to be its name. But before the third-place teams from the Pac-10 and the WAC could make their way to Auckland, the NCAA pulled the game's bowl certification because it could not meet the payout requirement.

All Blacks of New Zealand rugby during a match in Australia
The New Zealand All Blacks, whose home in Auckland almost hosted a bowl game in 1996.

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