The art of football

Published: December 2006

The Eagles, 9–3 this season, earlier this month announced acceptance of an invitation to play in the 2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl, squaring off against Navy at 1 p.m. on December 30 in Charlotte, N.C. The event, to be broadcast on ESPN, has the potential to shatter several precedents. BC already holds a national record with six consecutive victories in active bowl competitions and the game in Charlotte will mark the Eagles’ participation in bowl competition for eight consecutive years, breaking a school record. If BC wins on December 30, that will mark the third time the team achieves 10 season victories.

BC’s participation in college bowls long predates the current string of consecutive competitions. The 1939 season Cotton Bowl poster in the slideshow commemorates the team’s first post-season bowl encounter, in which the Eagles lost 3–6 to Clemson. The December 30 game will mark BC’s 16th trip to a college bowl; and in the years since then the number of post-season college bowls, nationwide, has grown from 5—Rose, Orange, Sugar, Sun, and Cotton—to 32 today, including the “ Bowl” and the “Chick-fil-A Bowl.”

These names reflect a commercial tradition as old as these post-season college clashes. The first bowl game was held in Pasadena in 1902, to breathe new life into the faltering Tournament of Roses, a festival created by the Pasadena Valley Hunt Club in the 1890s to encourage Southern California tourism and real estate development. The University of California turned down an invitation to participate, fearing the extra expense ($3,500) of keeping the team active past the conclusion of the regular season. The University of Michigan and Stanford University took the gamble. (Michigan won, 49–0.)

This feature was posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 and is filed under Slideshows.