Top Defunct College Football Bowl Games

With the college bowl season bearing down upon us, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the now-defunct bowls from throughout the years.  There is a long list of bowls that haven’t survived, but these are some of our favorites.

Bacardi Bowl
Location: Havana, Cuba
Last Played: December 7, 1946

Six of the seven Bacardi Bowls (aka Rhumba Bowl, aka Cigar Bowl) featured a United States college football team matched up with a University or athletic club squad out of Cuba (1937’s game paired Auburn and Villanova).

The first game in the series matched LSU against Havana University in 1907 and was the first such game to feature a college team from America outside of the US or Canada.  LSU won the game 56-0.

Haka Bowl
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Last Played: N/A

Ok, so this one never was officially a bowl game, but it is notable because it would have been the first time that a post-season college football game was played outside of the US since the Bacardi Bowl in Cuba, and it would have been the very first NCAA football game played in the Southern Hemisphere.

The game was supposed to match up teams from the PAC-10 and the WAC in 1996, however, the Haka Bowl committee could not make the financial guarantees the NCAA was looking for.  Their license for the game was revoked and New Zealand gave up on the idea.

Garden State Bowl
Location: Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Last Played: December 13, 1981

The Garden State Bowl was played in New Jersey for just four seasons (1978-1981).  The extremely cold weather in the area during bowl season and a lack of bowl-eligible local teams are sited as the major reasons for its demise.

Gotham Bowl
Location: Polo Grounds & Yankee Stadium in New York City, New York
Last Played: December 15, 1962

The Gotham Bowl seemed doomed from the start.  The first scheduled game was to be played in 1960.  The Oregon State Beavers were invited to the bowl, however, the game had to be canceled because no opponent could be found to accept a bid.

In 1961 Gotham did manage to get two teams in, but few New Yorkers wanted to shell out money to see Baylor play Utah State.

The final game played in 1962 was actually solid match up between Miami and Nebraska (Nebraska won 36-34 behind QB George Mira), but freezing temperatures kept fans away and the 1962 New York City newspaper strike meant that there was very little publicity for the event.  The Gotham Bowl was canned, however, there will be an attempt this year with the Pinstripe Bowl to bring a bowl game back to NYC.

Notable Name Changes

Salad Bowl – Phoenix, Arizona (1952): Precursor to the current Fiesta Bowl
Copper Bowl – Tucson, Arizona (1996): Now the Bowl
Freedom Bowl -Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California (1994): Merged into the Holiday Bowl

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