Gator Bowl

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Gator Bowl Gator Bowl
StadiumEverBank Field
LocationJacksonville, Florida
Previous stadiumsGator Bowl Stadium (1946-1993)
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (1994)
Previous locationsGainesville, Florida (1994)
Conference tie-insSEC, Big Ten
Previous conference tie-insSouthern (1946-1952)
SEC (1953-1975, 1992-94)
ACC (1996-2010)
Big East (1996-2010)
Big 12 (2006-2010)
Notre Dame (2006-2010)
PayoutUS$7 million (As of 2012)
Mazda (1986-1991)
Outback Steakhouse (1992-1994)
Toyota (1996-2006)
Konica Minolta (2007-2010)
Progressive Insurance (2011) (2012-present)
2012 matchup
Ohio State vs. Florida (Florida 24-17)
2013 matchup
Mississippi State vs. Northwestern (Northwestern 34-20)
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Gator Bowl Gator Bowl
StadiumEverBank Field
LocationJacksonville, Florida
Previous stadiumsGator Bowl Stadium (1946-1993)
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (1994)
Previous locationsGainesville, Florida (1994)
Conference tie-insSEC, Big Ten
Previous conference tie-insSouthern (1946-1952)
SEC (1953-1975, 1992-94)
ACC (1996-2010)
Big East (1996-2010)
Big 12 (2006-2010)
Notre Dame (2006-2010)
PayoutUS$7 million (As of 2012)
Mazda (1986-1991)
Outback Steakhouse (1992-1994)
Toyota (1996-2006)
Konica Minolta (2007-2010)
Progressive Insurance (2011) (2012-present)
2012 matchup
Ohio State vs. Florida (Florida 24-17)
2013 matchup
Mississippi State vs. Northwestern (Northwestern 34-20)

The Gator Bowl is an annual college football bowl game played at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. Held continuously since 1946, it is the sixth oldest college bowl, as well as the first one ever televised nationally.[1] Since 1996, it has been one of the bowl games that are regularly played on January 1 (New Year's Day); when New Year's Day falls on a Sunday, the game is then played on the following Monday. The bowl's current title sponsor is[2]


According to writer Anthony C. DiMarco, Charles Hilty, Sr. first conceived of the event. Hilty, together with Ray McCarthy, Maurice Cherry and W. C. Ivey put up $10,000 to underwrite the first game, which was held at Jacksonville's football stadium, Fairfield Stadium, on January 1, 1946. The first two years of the event did not sell out the small capacity stadium, drawing only 7,362 to the 1946 match when the Wake Forest Demon Deacons defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks, 26–14. The stadium was expanded in 1948 and renamed the Gator Bowl Stadium in honor of the event. However, it was not until the 1949 match-up between the Clemson Tigers and the Missouri Tigers that the future of the Gator Bowl was assured. The 1948 attendance of 16,666 for a 20–20 tie between Maryland and Georgia, was nearly doubled with 32,939 watching Clemson squeak by Missouri, 24–23, on a late field goal by Jack Miller. By the 1970s, the attendance regularly reached 60,000–70,000.[3]

Hotel Roosevelt fire[edit]

The Gator Bowl is one of Jacksonville's annual sports highlights. However, the event was once associated with a tragedy. In 1963, the Hotel Roosevelt in downtown Jacksonville caught fire after a post-Gator Bowl party in the ballroom. It was later determined that the party was not the cause of the fire, and that the timing was a tragic coincidence. The fire resulted in 22 deaths.

Woody Hayes incident in 1978[edit]

In the 1978 game between Ohio State and Clemson, Ohio State coach Woody Hayes lost his temper after a late game interception by Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman, who stepped in front of the receiver on a pass from quarterback Art Schlichter. Bauman ran the ball out of bounds on the Ohio State sideline where Hayes struck Bauman with his right forearm. The play sealed the Tigers' 17–15 win over the Buckeyes and Hayes was fired the next day before leaving Jacksonville.[4]

Bowden's Last Stand in 2010[edit]

In the 2010 game between Florida State and West Virginia, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden coached the final game of a legendary career. Bowden had been the head coach at Florida State since 1976 and had won two national championships, thirteen ACC championships, and had a fourteen year streak of top five finishes during that time. A record crowd of over 84,000 people attended, the majority in Florida State Garnet and Gold, to witness Bowden being carried off the field after a 33-21 Florida State victory.


The 1946 and 1947 games were played in Fairfield Stadium, which had a seating capacity of 7,600. The stadium was expanded to 16,000 seats in 1948, and the structure was renamed the Gator Bowl. Prior to the 1949 game, the seating capacity was expanded to 36,058, at which it remained until 1957.[5] That stadium hosted the game through 1993, when it was almost completely demolished for the construction of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (now EverBank Field) on the same site. During the construction, the 1994 Gator Bowl was played instead at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida; the game following the 1995 season and all subsequent games were moved to January 1.


The game and associated activities are planned and executed by the Gator Bowl Association (GBA), a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization, founded in 1945, whose stated mission is to:

"provide Northeast Florida with the very best in college athletics and related activities in order to maximize positive impact on the area’s economy, national image and community pride."

The association comprises 225 Gator Bowl Committee members, 84 Chairman’s Club members and sponsors, more than 700 volunteers, plus over a dozen paid staff members. In addition to the Gator Bowl, the GBA has also coordinated other events. It hosted the ACC Championship Game from 2005 to 2007 and the River City Showdown, a neutral site game between the Florida State Seminoles and another team, in 2007 and 2008.[6]

Teams typically featured[edit]

In the early years of the bowl, from 1946–1952, it featured a team from the Southern Conference against an at-large opponent. Beginning with the 1953 game, it switched to generally featuring a Southeastern Conference (SEC) team against an at-large opponent. From 1953 to the 1975 game, at least one SEC team appeared in 20 out of the 24 games, and in 3 of those games, both teams were from the SEC. The games from 1976 to 1995 usually, but not always, involved a team from southeastern United States against a team from another part of the country. Teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) played in 10 of these 20 games.

From 1996–2006, the Gator Bowl traditionally hosted the second-place ACC team against the second-place Big East Conference team. With the 2007 game, the ACC runner-up became contractually tied to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the Gator Bowl began hosting the third-place ACC team versus a team from either the Big East (still the conference's #2 team unless they qualified for the Bowl Championship Series), the Big 12 Conference, or the unaffiliated Notre Dame Fighting Irish (who would take the Big East's spot in this game). The contract, which ran for four years, was held in conjunction with the Sun Bowl, with the Gator Bowl receiving first choice of teams, and required both bowls to take Big East teams twice and Big 12 teams twice. Since the last two Gator Bowls featured the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Nebraska Cornhuskers, both Big 12 teams, a Big East team or Notre Dame would play in the 2010 Gator Bowl per the terms of the contract (West Virginia lost to Florida State in this game).

The conference alignment changed again in 2010, as the Big East and Notre Dame are moving their hybrid arrangement to the Champs Sports Bowl for 2010, while the Gator Bowl declined to renew their contract with the Big 12. The Gator Bowl will feature the SEC and the Big Ten Conference starting with the 2010 season, joining the Capital One Bowl and the Outback Bowl as the third Big Ten-SEC bowl matchup on New Year's Day.[7] The latest Gator Bowl matchup occurred January 1, 2013 and featured the Northwestern University Wildcats and Mississippi State University. [8]

Of the 66 editions of the Gator Bowl, 38 have been between ranked opponents while 61 of the games have included at least one ranked team.

Media coverage[edit]

The longtime broadcaster of the game was ABC, which showed the game in prime time from 1974 through 1985. Turner Sports bought the rights to the game after the 1991 match-up and TBS became the home of the Gator Bowl for the next four years, moving back to a late December date. The game returned to New Year's Day after NBC bought the rights to the Gator Bowl in 1996. CBS Sports took over the television contract in 2007 and held the rights for four years. ESPN purchased the rights to the game following its 2010 playing and the 2011 Gator Bowl aired on ESPN2; with the acquisition of the Gator Bowl the ESPN family of networks became the home of every New Year's Day bowl game (the network already had the rights to the Outback, Capital One, and Rose bowls and acquired the rights to the TicketCity Bowl and the remainder of the BCS games).

Title sponsors[edit]

Mazda was the first title sponsor, beginning in 1986 and lasting for five years. Outback Steakhouse sponsored the Gator Bowl for three years beginning in 1992, prior to obtaining their own Outback Bowl held in Tampa, Florida. From 1996–2006, the title sponsor was Toyota. Konica Minolta then became the sponsor from 2007 to 2010.[9] On December 14, 2010, the Gator Bowl Association announced that Progressive Insurance would become the title sponsor for the 2011 Gator Bowl.[10] On September 1, 2011, GBA announced a multi-year title sponsorship deal with

Game results[edit]

Italics denotes a tie game. All rankings are taken from the AP Poll prior to the game being played.

Date playedWinning teamLosing teamNotes
January 1, 1946(19) Wake Forest26South Carolina14q.v.
January 1, 1947(14) Oklahoma34(18) North Carolina State13q.v.
January 1, 1948[11]Georgia20Maryland20q.v.
January 1, 1949(11) Clemson24Missouri23q.v.
January 2, 1950(14) Maryland20(20) Missouri7q.v.
January 1, 1951(12) Wyoming20(18) Washington & Lee7q.v.
January 1, 1952Miami (Florida)14(19) Clemson0q.v.
January 1, 1953(15) Florida14(12) Tulsa13q.v.
January 1, 1954(12) Texas Tech35(17) Auburn13q.v.
December 31, 1954(13) Auburn33(18) Baylor13q.v.
December 31, 1955(8) Vanderbilt25Auburn13q.v.
December 29, 1956(4) Georgia Tech21(13) Pittsburgh14q.v.
December 28, 1957(13) Tennessee3(9) Texas A&M0q.v.
December 27, 1958(11) Mississippi7(14) Florida3q.v.
January 2, 1960(9) Arkansas14Georgia Tech7q.v.
December 31, 1960(18) Florida13(12) Baylor12q.v.
December 30, 1961(17) Penn State30(13) Georgia Tech15q.v.
December 29, 1962Florida17(9) Penn State7q.v.
December 28, 1963North Carolina35Air Force0q.v.
January 2, 1965Florida State36Oklahoma19q.v.
December 31, 1965Georgia Tech31(10) Texas Tech21q.v.
December 31, 1966Tennessee18Syracuse12q.v.
December 30, 1967Florida State17(10) Penn State17q.v.
December 28, 1968(16) Missouri35(12) Alabama10q.v.
December 27, 1969(15) Florida14(11) Tennessee13q.v.
January 2, 1971(10) Auburn35Mississippi28q.v.
December 31, 1971(6) Georgia7North Carolina3q.v.
December 30, 1972(6) Auburn24(13) Colorado3q.v.
December 29, 1973(11) Texas Tech28(20) Tennessee19q.v.
December 30, 1974(6) Auburn27(11) Texas3q.v.
December 29, 1975(17) Maryland13(13) Florida0q.v.
December 27, 1976(15) Notre Dame20(20) Penn State9q.v.
December 30, 1977(10) Pittsburgh34(11) Clemson3q.v.
December 29, 1978(7) Clemson17(20) Ohio State15q.v.
Date playedWinning teamLosing teamNotes
December 28, 1979North Carolina17(14) Michigan15q.v.
December 29, 1980(3) Pittsburgh37(18) South Carolina9q.v.
December 28, 1981(11) North Carolina31Arkansas27q.v.
December 30, 1982Florida State31(10) West Virginia12q.v.
December 30, 1983(11) Florida14(10) Iowa6q.v.
December 28, 1984(9) Oklahoma State21(7) South Carolina14q.v.
December 30, 1985(18) Florida State34(19) Oklahoma State23q.v.
December 27, 1986Clemson27(20) Stanford21q.v.
December 31, 1987(7) LSU30(9) South Carolina13q.v.
January 1, 1989(19) Georgia34Michigan State27q.v.
December 30, 1989(14) Clemson27(17) West Virginia7q.v.
January 1, 1991(12) Michigan35(15) Mississippi3q.v.
December 29, 1991(20) Oklahoma48(19) Virginia14q.v.
December 31, 1992(3) Florida27(12) North Carolina State10q.v.
December 31, 1993(18) Alabama24(12) North Carolina10q.v.
December 30, 1994[12]Tennessee45(17) Virginia Tech23q.v.
January 1, 1996Syracuse41(23) Clemson0q.v.
January 1, 1997(12) North Carolina20(25) West Virginia13q.v.
January 1, 1998(7) North Carolina42Virginia Tech3q.v.
January 1, 1999(12) Georgia Tech35(17) Notre Dame28q.v.
January 1, 2000(23) Miami (Florida)28(17) Georgia Tech13q.v.
January 1, 2001(6) Virginia Tech41(16) Clemson20q.v.
January 1, 2002(24) Florida State30(15) Virginia Tech17q.v.
January 1, 2003(17) North Carolina State28(11) Notre Dame6q.v.
January 1, 2004(23) Maryland41(20) West Virginia7q.v.
January 1, 2005(17) Florida State30West Virginia18q.v.
January 2, 2006(12) Virginia Tech35(15) Louisville24q.v.
January 1, 2007(13) West Virginia38Georgia Tech35q.v.
January 1, 2008Texas Tech31(21) Virginia28q.v.
January 1, 2009Nebraska26Clemson21q.v.
January 1, 2010Florida State33(18) West Virginia21q.v.
January 1, 2011(21) Mississippi State52Michigan14q.v.
January 2, 2012Florida24Ohio State17q.v.
January 1, 2013(21) Northwestern34Mississippi State20q.v.


Most Valuable Players
Date PlayedMVPTeamPositionMVPTeamPosition
January 1, 1946Nick SacrintyWake ForestQB
January 1, 1947Joe GoldingOklahomaHB
January 1, 1948Lu GambinoMarylandHB
January 1, 1949Bobby GageClemsonHB
January 2, 1950Bob WardMarylandG
January 1, 1951Eddie TalboomWyomingHB
January 1, 1952Jim DooleyMiami (Fla.)HB
January 1, 1953John HallFloridaRBMarv MatuszakTulsaT
January 1, 1954Bobby CavazosTexas TechRBVince DooleyAuburnQB
December 31, 1954Joe ChildressAuburnFBBilly HooperBaylorQB
December 31, 1955Don OrrVanderbiltQBJoe ChildressAuburnFB
December 29, 1956Wade MitchellGeorgia TechQBCorny SalvaterraPittsburghQB
December 28, 1957Bobby GordonTennesseeTBJohn David CrowTexas A&MHB
December 27, 1958Bobby FranklinMississippiQBDave HudsonFloridaE
January 2, 1960Jim MootyArkansasHBMaxie BaughanGeorgia TechLB
December 31, 1960Larry LibertoreFloridaQBBobby PlyBaylorQB
December 30, 1961Galen HallPenn StateQBJoe AuerGeorgia TechHB
December 29, 1962Tom ShannonFloridaQBDave RobinsonPenn StateE
December 28, 1963Ken WillardNorth CarolinaRBDavid SicksAir ForceC
January 2, 1965Fred BiletnikoffFlorida StateSESteve TensiFlorida StateQB
Carl McAdamsOklahomaLB
December 31, 1965Lenny SnowGeorgia TechTBDonny AndersonTexas TechRB
December 31, 1966Dewey WarrenTenneesseeQBFloyd LittleSyracuseHB
December 30, 1967Kim HammondFlorida StateQBTom ShermanPenn StateQB
December 28, 1968Terry McMillanMissouriQBMike HallAlabamaLB
December 27, 1969Mike KelleyFloridaLBCurt WatsonTennesseeFB
January 2, 1971Pat SullivanAuburnQBArchie ManningOle' MissQB
December 31, 1971Jimmy PoulosGeorgiaTBJames WebsterNorth CarolinaLB
December 30, 1972Wade WhatleyAuburnQBMark CooneyColoradoLB
December 29, 1973Joe BarnesTexas TechQBHaskel StanbackTennesseeTB
December 30, 1974Phil GargisAuburnQBEarl CampbellTexasRB
December 29, 1975Steve AtkinsMarylandTBSammy GreenFloridaLB
December 27, 1976Al HunterNotre DameHBJimmy CefaloPenn StateWR
December 30, 1977Matt CavanaughPittsburghQBJerry ButlerClemsonSE
December 29, 1978Steve FullerClemsonQBArt SchlichterOhio StateQB
December 28, 1979Matt KupecNorth CarolinaQBAmos LawrenceNorth CarolinaRB
John WanglerMichiganQBAnthony CarterMichiganWR
December 29, 1980Rick TrocanoPittsburghQBGeorge RogersSouth CarolinaRB
December 28, 1981Kelvin BryantNorth CarolinaTBEthan HortonNorth CarolinaTB
Gary AndersonArkansasRB
December 30, 1982Greg AllenFlorida StateTBPaul WoodsideWest VirginiaK
December 30, 1983Tony LillyFloridaSOwen GillIowaFB
December 28, 1984Thurman ThomasOklahoma StateRBMike HoldSouth CarolinaQB
December 30, 1985Chip FergusonFlorida StateQBThurman ThomasOklahoma StateRB
December 27, 1986Rodney WilliamsClemsonQBBrad MusterStanfordRB
December 31, 1987Wendell DavisLSUSEHarold GreenSouth CarolinaRB
January 1, 1989Wayne JohnsonGeorgiaQBAndre RisonMichigan StateWR
December 30, 1989Levon KirklandClemsonLBMike FoxWest VirginiaDT
January 1, 1991Offensive LineMichiganN/ATyrone AshleyMississippiDB
December 29, 1991Cale GundyOklahomaQBTyrone DavisVirginiaDB
December 31, 1992Errict RhettFloridaRBReggie LawrenceNorth Carolina StateWR
December 31, 1993Brian BurgdorfAlabamaQBCorey HollidayNorth CarolinaWR
December 30, 1994James StewartTennesseeTBMaurice DeShazoVirginia TechQB
January 1, 1996Donovan McNabbSyracuseQBPeter FordClemsonCB
January 1, 1997Oscar DavenportNorth CarolinaQBDavid SaundersWest VirginiaWR
January 1, 1998Chris KeldorfNorth CarolinaQBNick SorensenVirginia TechQB
January 1, 1999Dez WhiteGeorgia TechWRJoe HamiltonGeorgia TechQB
Autry DensonNotre DameRB
January 1, 2000Nate WebsterMiami (Fla.)LBJoe HamiltonGeorgia TechQB
January 1, 2001Michael VickVirginia TechQBRod GardnerClemsonWR
January 1, 2002Javon WalkerFlorida StateWRAndre DavisVirginia TechWR
January 1, 2003Philip RiversNorth Carolina StateQBCedric HillardNotre DameNG
January 1, 2004Scott McBrienMarylandQBBrian KingWest VirginiaDB
January 1, 2005Leon WashingtonFlorida StateRBKay-Jay HarrisWest VirginiaRB
January 2, 2006Cedric HumesVirginia TechRBHunter CantwellLouisvilleQB
January 1, 2007Pat WhiteWest VirginiaQBCalvin JohnsonGeorgia TechWR
January 1, 2008[13]Graham HarrellTexas TechQBMikell SimpsonVirginiaRB
January 1, 2009Joe GanzNebraskaQBCullen HarperClemsonQB
January 1, 2010E.J. ManuelFlorida StateQBNoel DevineWest VirginiaHB
January 1, 2011Chris RelfMississippi StateQB
January 2, 2012Andre DeboseFloridaWR
January 1, 2013Jared CarpenterNorthwesternS

Most appearances[edit]

T3Florida State76-0-1
T3North Carolina75-2
T3Georgia Tech73-4
T3West Virginia71-6
T8Virginia Tech52-3
T10Texas Tech43-1
T10Penn State41-2-1
T10South Carolina40-4
T14North Carolina State31-2
T14Notre Dame31-2

Gator Bowl Hall of Fame[edit]

Inductees by year:


  1. ^ Gator Bowl website: About us-Tradition
  2. ^
  3. ^ DiMarco, Anthony C. (1976). The Big Bowl Football Guide. G. P. Putnam's Sons. ISBN 399-11800-4
  4. ^ Florida Times-Union: December 29, 2008-Gator Bowl: 30th anniversary punch by Don Coble
  5. ^ The Jacksonville Story by Carolina Rawls; Jacksonville's Fifty Years of Progress Association-1950
  6. ^ Jacksonville Transportation Authority: River City Showdown Stadium Shuttle
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Florida Times-Union: September 30, 2007-Gator Bowl lands new deal for title sponsor
  10. ^ Jacksonville Daily Record: December 17, 2010-Progressive Sponsors Gator Bowl
  11. ^ Venue renamed Gator Bowl
  12. ^ Game held at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida due to renovation.
  13. ^ Texas Tech Red Raiders, NCAA Football, Virginia Cavaliers -

External links[edit]