College Football Bowl Games in the South
College football is a favorite sport across America. But it is revered in the South, with Southern folk treating it like religion. Football is a popular sport both at the professional and college level, yet there’s just something different about the latter in the Southern states.
Some say this sense of pride stems from the Alabama Crimson Tide beating the Washington Huskies in the Rose Bowl in the 1920s. Southerners had been feeling inferior to their northern and northeastern counterparts, given the stark difference in financial and industrial strength, and the victory gave them something they could boast about.
As for bowl games, those are a pretty big deal and they also command lots of attention from fans and sports bettors as well. With plenty of games on the horizon, anyone looking to get in on the action would benefit from a Bovada review. So make sure to check the odds as we get closer to the bowl season. Here are some of the biggest ones taking place in the South every year.
The Peach Bowl, officially the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, has been around since 1968 and takes place in Georgia. It has been sponsored by Chick-fil-A since 1997, hence the name, and went by just the Chick-fil-A Bowl from 2006 to 2013.
The inaugural bowl, as well as the two that followed, was held at Grant Field on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta. It was played out at the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium between 1971 and 1992 before the Georgia Dome began hosting in 1993. It’s now played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which has been the case since 2017.
The Peach Bowl has been featured as part of the New Year’s Six since 2014. The 2016, 2019, 2022 and 2025 games have and will host a national semifinal.
The Birmingham Bowl has been around since 2006 and is owned and operated by ESPN Events. It was known as the PapaJohns.com Bowl from 2006-2010 and then the BBVA Compass Bowl from 2011-2014, before TicketSmarter became the title sponsor of the 2019 event to make it the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl.
Taking place at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, the University at Birmingham (UAB) is in charge of management, marketing and game-day operations. The January 2021 edition of the game had to be canceled last December due to the COVID-19 pandemic so that there weren’t enough teams to fill all of the 2020/21 bowl games.
The Sugar Bowl, officially the Allstate Sugar Bowl, is the second-oldest bowl game in the U.S, behind the Rose Bowl. It’s also tied with the Orange Bowl and Sun Bowl in that regard, having come about in 1935. It was originally hosted at Tulane Stadium and then moved to the Superdome in 1975, before finding a temporary home at the Georgia Dome in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina caused major damage to the Superdome.
The game has long been tied to the SEC, though not exclusively, and the relationship has been strengthened on the back of conference realignments. It has hosted the BCS National Championship Game on two occasions (2004 and 2006) before the national championship game became a standalone affair in 2006. It’s also been a part of the New Year’s Six since 2014.
The Sugar Bowl’s Most Outstanding Player is presented the Miller-Digby Award following votes from sports journalists tasked with covering the game. The award was introduced after the death of the bowl’s first president, Warren V. Miller, in 1948 and was renamed the Miller-Digby Memorial Trophy in 1959 to honor the first general manager and fellow founding member, Fred J. Digby.
This one is played every December at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. It’s called the Independence Bowl because it started in 1976, the same year of the United States Bicentennial.
Radiance Technologies has an agreement in place as a title sponsor for the 2020-2025 iterations but, only in 2013, has the game gone without Independence Bowl branding. This event was also canceled in 2020 due to there not being enough teams to fill all of the 2020/21 bowl games because of COVID-19.
Lending Tree Bowl
The Lending Tree Bowl has been held in Mobile, Alabama, since 1999. It was initially the Mobile Alabama Bowl, played under the name the first two times, but it has undergone a number of name changes because of sponsorship deals.
It moved from the Ladd-Peebles Stadium to Hancock Whitney Stadium on the University of South Alabama’s campus in 2021.
This bowl game pits teams from the Sun Belt Conference and Mid-American Conference against each other. One of the more notable contests came in 2001 when Marshall Thundering Herd and the East Carolina Pirates squared off to set the record for the highest-scoring bowl game of all time. Marshall managed what was then the greatest scoring comeback in bowl history as they fought from 38-8 down to win 64-61 in double overtime. Thundering Herd quarterback Byron Leftwich threw for 576 yards in the game.
In 2008, Tulsa beat Bowling Green 63-7 to record the largest margin win in bowl history.