Liberty Bowl

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Liberty Bowl
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Auto Zone Liberty Bowl logo.png
StadiumLiberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
LocationMemphis, Tennessee
Previous stadiumsJohn F. Kennedy Stadium (1959–1963)
Convention Hall (1964)
Previous locationsPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania (1959–1963)
Atlantic City, New Jersey (1964)
Operated1959–present
Conference tie-insBig 12 #4 Pick[1] vs SEC Pool Pick[2]
The American (alternate)[3]
Previous conference tie-insC-USA (1996–2013)
MWC (1998–2005)
winner of the Commander in Chief's Trophy (1989–1992)
PayoutUS$2,400,000[4] (As of 2014)
Sponsors
St. Jude (1993-1996)
AXA Financial (1997–2003)
AutoZone (2004–present)
Former names
Liberty Bowl (1959-1992)
St. Jude Liberty Bowl (1993-1996)
AXA Liberty Bowl (1997–2003)
2013 matchup
Mississippi State vs. Rice (Mississippi State 44–7)
2014 matchup
Texas A&M vs. West Virginia (December 29, 2014)
 
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For the stadium, see Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Liberty Bowl
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Auto Zone Liberty Bowl logo.png
StadiumLiberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
LocationMemphis, Tennessee
Previous stadiumsJohn F. Kennedy Stadium (1959–1963)
Convention Hall (1964)
Previous locationsPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania (1959–1963)
Atlantic City, New Jersey (1964)
Operated1959–present
Conference tie-insBig 12 #4 Pick[1] vs SEC Pool Pick[2]
The American (alternate)[3]
Previous conference tie-insC-USA (1996–2013)
MWC (1998–2005)
winner of the Commander in Chief's Trophy (1989–1992)
PayoutUS$2,400,000[4] (As of 2014)
Sponsors
St. Jude (1993-1996)
AXA Financial (1997–2003)
AutoZone (2004–present)
Former names
Liberty Bowl (1959-1992)
St. Jude Liberty Bowl (1993-1996)
AXA Liberty Bowl (1997–2003)
2013 matchup
Mississippi State vs. Rice (Mississippi State 44–7)
2014 matchup
Texas A&M vs. West Virginia (December 29, 2014)

The Liberty Bowl is an annual U.S. American college football bowl game played in late December or early January since 1959. Since 1965, the game has been held at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. For its first five years, it was played in Philadelphia. Since 2004, the game has been sponsored by Memphis-based auto parts retailer AutoZone.

History[edit]

A. F. "Bud" Dudley, a former Villanova athletic-director, created the Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia in 1959. The game was played at Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium. It was the only cold-weather bowl game of its time, and was plagued by poor attendance. The inaugural game was the most successful of the five held in Philadelphia, as 38,000 fans watched Penn State beat Alabama 7–0 in 1959.

Atlantic City convinced Dudley to move his game from Philadelphia to Atlantic City's Convention Hall for 1964 and guaranteed Dudley $25,000. It would be the first Bowl Game played indoors. AstroTurf was still in its developmental stages and was unavailable for the game. Convention Hall was equipped with a 4-inch-thick (100 mm) grass surface with two inches of burlap underneath it (as padding) on top of concrete. To keep the grass growing, artificial lighting was installed and kept on 24 hours a day. The entire process cost about $16,000. End-zones were only 8 yards long. 6,059 fans saw Utah rout West Virginia. Dudley was paid $25,000 from Atlantic City businessmen, $60,000 from the gate, and $95,000 from television revenues, for $10,000 net profit.[5]

Dudley moved the game to Memphis in 1965, where it has made its home at what became Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to much larger crowds and has established itself as one of the oldest non-BCS bowls.

Matchup[edit]

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Liberty Bowl offered an automatic invitation to the winner of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, if that team was bowl eligible.[6]

Beginning in 1996, the Liberty Bowl started to affiliate itself with the newly launched Conference USA, offering its champion an automatic bid and the right to host the game. Beginning in 2005, the winner of the C-USA championship game was offered the berth.

In 1996 and 1997, the opponent for the C-USA champion was a team from the Big East. In 1998, the Liberty Bowl replaced the Holiday Bowl in a shared contract with the Cotton Bowl Classic and had second choice between the WAC champion and a team from the SEC. From 1999 to 2005, the opponent for the C-USA champion was the Mountain West champion. There were two exceptions:

In 1999, the Mountain West Conference did not have an outright champion, as three teams tied for the conference lead. The conference's bid for the game was given to Colorado State.

The bowl's contract from 2006 until 2013 pitted the winner of the C-USA championship game against the eighth pick from the SEC. The American (the successor to the Big East), was to provide its fifth-place team as an alternate if the SEC cannot fulfill the bid. The SEC was also given veto power for the bowl, and chose to use it in 2011 to block C-USA champion Southern Miss from playing Vanderbilt; instead Cincinnati got the spot and Southern Miss accepted an invitation to the Hawaii Bowl instead.[7][8]

As of 2014, the matchup will feature a team from the SEC against the #4 pick from the Big 12 Conference. The Liberty Bowl is part of a six-bowl pool arrangement that also involves the Belk, Music City, Outback, TaxSlayer, and Texas bowls; these bowls will choose one representative from the conference each, while the College Football Playoff receiving first choice (usually the Sugar Bowl in years it does not serve as a national semifinal) and the Citrus Bowl second choice.

The game is televised nationally on ESPN, and is carried nationwide by ESPN Radio, and internationally by ESPN International.

Recent matchups[edit]

The 2010 win by UCF was the program's first-ever bowl victory.

The 2011 game of the Liberty Bowl matched Coaches' Poll #24 Cincinnati against Vanderbilt and unlike most minor bowls aired on the broadcast network ABC rather than its cable brandmate ESPN. The game returned to December at the end of 2010 after being played on January 2 in 2009 and 2010, the only times since the bowl was founded in 1959 that it had a non-December date. (Technically there was no 2008 game, as the game after the 2008 season was played January 2, 2009.) Cincinnati defeated Vanderbilt in a second-half comeback.

The 2012 Liberty Bowl featured a matchup between the Iowa State Cyclones (9th place in the Big 12) and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Conference USA champions).[9] Iowa State defeated Tulsa 38-23 in the season's first weekend, however Tulsa defeated Iowa State 31-17 in the rematch of the regular season game.[9] Though the bowl normally selects a team from the SEC, it invited Iowa State because the SEC did not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all of its contracted bowl games.[10] In 2013, the matchup will feature Rice vs Mississippi State.[11]

Game results[edit]

Boise State and Louisville square off in the 2004 Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee.
Date PlayedWinning TeamLosing TeamNotes
December 19, 1959Penn State7Alabama0notes
December 20, 1960Penn State41Oregon12notes
December 16, 1961Syracuse15Miami (Florida)14notes
December 15, 1962Oregon State6Villanova0notes
December 21, 1963Mississippi State16North Carolina State12notes
December 19, 1964Utah32West Virginia6notes
December 18, 1965Mississippi13Auburn7notes
December 10, 1966Miami14Virginia Tech7notes
December 16, 1967North Carolina State14Georgia7notes
December 14, 1968Mississippi34Virginia Tech17notes
December 13, 1969Colorado47Alabama33notes
December 12, 1970Tulane17Colorado3notes
December 20, 1971Tennessee14Arkansas13notes
December 18, 1972Georgia Tech31Iowa State30notes
December 17, 1973North Carolina State31Kansas18notes
December 16, 1974Tennessee7Maryland3notes
December 22, 1975USC20Texas A&M0notes
December 20, 1976Alabama36UCLA6notes
December 19, 1977Nebraska21North Carolina17notes
December 23, 1978Missouri20LSU15notes
December 22, 1979Penn State9Tulane6notes
December 27, 1980Purdue28Missouri25notes
December 30, 1981Ohio State31Navy28notes
December 29, 1982Alabama21Illinois15notes
December 29, 1983Notre Dame19Boston College18notes
December 27, 1984Auburn21Arkansas15notes
December 27, 1985Baylor21LSU7notes
December 29, 1986Tennessee21Minnesota14notes
December 29, 1987Georgia20Arkansas17notes
December 28, 1988Indiana34South Carolina10notes
December 29, 1989Mississippi42Air Force29notes
December 27, 1990Air Force23Ohio State11notes
December 29, 1991Air Force38Mississippi State15notes
December 31, 1992Mississippi13Air Force0notes
December 28, 1993Louisville18Michigan State7notes
December 31, 1994Illinois30East Carolina0notes
December 30, 1995East Carolina19Stanford13notes
December 27, 1996Syracuse30Houston17notes
December 31, 1997Southern Miss41Pittsburgh7notes
December 31, 1998Tulane41BYU27notes
December 31, 1999Southern Miss23Colorado State17notes
December 29, 2000Colorado State22Louisville17notes
December 31, 2001Louisville28BYU10notes
December 31, 2002TCU17Colorado State3notes
December 31, 2003Utah17Southern Miss0notes
December 31, 2004 [12]Louisville44Boise State40notes
December 31, 2005Tulsa31Fresno State24notes
December 29, 2006South Carolina44Houston36notes
December 29, 2007Mississippi State10UCF3notes
January 2, 2009Kentucky25East Carolina19notes
January 2, 2010Arkansas20East Carolina17notes
December 31, 2010UCF10Georgia6notes
December 31, 2011Cincinnati31Vanderbilt24notes
December 31, 2012Tulsa31Iowa State17notes
December 31, 2013Mississippi State44Rice7notes

MVPs[edit]

Date playedMVPSchoolPosition
December 19, 1959Jay HuffmanPenn StateC
December 17, 1960Dick HoakPenn StateRB
December 16, 1961Dick EasterlySyracuseRB
December 15, 1962Terry BakerOregon StateQB
December 21, 1963Ode BurrellMississippi StateHB
December 19, 1964Ernest AllenUtahQB
December 18, 1965Tom BryanAuburnFB
December 10, 1966Jimmy CoxMiami (Fla.)SE
December 16, 1967Jim DonnanNorth Carolina StateQB
December 14, 1968Steve HindmanMississippiTB
December 13, 1969Bobby AndersonColoradoTB
December 12, 1970Dave AbercrombieTulaneTB
December 20, 1971Joe FergusonArkansasQB
December 18, 1972Jim StevensGeorgia TechQB
December 17, 1973Stan FrittsNorth Carolina StateFB
December 16, 1974Randy WhiteMarylandDT
December 22, 1975Ricky BellUSCRB
December 20, 1976Barry KraussAlabamaLB
December 19, 1977Matt KupecNorth CarolinaQB
December 23, 1978James WilderMissouriRB
December 22, 1979Roch HontasTulaneQB
December 27, 1980Mark HerrmannPurdueQB
December 30, 1981Eddie MyersNavyTB
December 29, 1982Jeremiah CastilleAlabamaDB
December 29, 1983Doug FlutieBoston CollegeQB
December 27, 1984Bo JacksonAuburnRB
December 27, 1985Cody CarlsonBaylorQB
December 29, 1986Jeff FrancisTennesseeQB
December 29, 1987Greg ThomasArkansasQB
December 28, 1988Dave SchnellIndianaQB
December 28, 1989Randy BaldwinMississippiRB
December 27, 1990Rob PerezAir ForceQB
December 29, 1991Rob PerezAir ForceQB
December 31, 1992Cassius WareMississippiLB
December 28, 1993Jeff BrohmLouisvilleQB
December 31, 1994Johnny JohnsonIllinoisQB
December 30, 1995Kwame EllisStanfordCB
December 27, 1996Malcolm ThomasSyracuseRB
December 31, 1997Sherrod GideonSouthern Miss.WR
December 31, 1998Shaun KingTulaneQB
December 31, 1999Adalius ThomasSouthern Miss.DE
December 29, 2000Cecil SappColorado StateRB
December 31, 2001Dave RagoneLouisvilleQB
December 31, 2002LaTarence DunbarTCUWR
December 31, 2003Brandon WarfieldUtahRB
December 31, 2004Stefan LeForsLouisvilleQB
December 31, 2005Paul SmithTulsaQB
December 29, 2006Blake MitchellSouth CarolinaQB
December 29, 2007Derek PeguesMississippi StateFS
January 2, 2009Ventrell JenkinsKentuckyDT
January 2, 2010Ryan MallettArkansasQB
December 31, 2010Latavius MurrayUCFRB
December 31, 2011Isaiah PeadCincinnatiRB
December 31, 2012Trey WattsTulsaRB
December 31, 2013Dak PrescottMississippi StateQB

Broadcasters[edit]

Appearances by team[edit]

RankTeamAppearancesRecord
T1Mississippi44–0
T1Louisville43–1
T1Mississippi State43–1
T1Air Force42–2
T1Alabama42–2
T1Arkansas41–3
T1East Carolina41–3
T8Tennessee33–0
T8Penn State33–0
T8Southern Miss32–1
T8Tulane32–1
T8North Carolina State32–1
T8Colorado State31–2
T8Georgia31–2
T15Utah22–0
T15Syracuse22–0
T15Tulsa22–0
T15UCF21–1
T15South Carolina21–1
T15Illinois21–1
T15Auburn21–1
T15Ohio State21–1
T15Missouri21–1
T15Colorado21–1
T15Miami (Florida)21–1
T15Houston20–2
T15BYU20–2
T15LSU20–2
T15Virginia Tech20–2
T15Iowa State20–2
T31Rice10–1
T31West Virginia20–1

References[edit]

External links[edit]