|2008–09 NCAA football bowl games|
|Regular season||August 28–December 6|
|Number of Bowls||34|
|Bowl games||December 20, 2008 – |
January 31, 2009
|National Championship||2009 BCS Championship|
|Location of Championship||Dolphin Stadium,|
Miami Gardens, Florida
|Bowl Challenge Cup Winner||Pac-10|
|Conference Bowl Records|
|College football bowl games
The 2008–09 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision College Football Post-Season, which followed the 2008 NCAA Division I FBS football season contained a record number of bowl games scheduled in history, as a total of 37 bowl games (34 team-competitive and 3 all-star) were played starting on December 20, 2008 with four contests, and concluded with the Texas vs. The Nation Game in El Paso, Texas, played on January 31, 2009 at Sun Bowl Stadium. For the first time in 62 years, however, the Hula Bowl was not a part of the post-season as it was cancelled indefinitely.
The NCAA divided Division I schools into two divisions starting in 1978: The Football Bowl Subdivision (known as Division I-A from 1978 through 2005) does not have a playoff system, and rewards schools which have football programs with outstanding records on the field during a season to play in bowl games as a reward. The Football Championship Subdivision (known through this same period as Division I-AA) plays in a sixteen-team, single elimination tournament for a recognized national championship, with the notable exceptions of the Ivy League, which abstains from football playoff participation, and the Southwestern Athletic Conference, who have their own playoff in this division.
Of the 34 team-competitive games scheduled, two were new for the 2008–09 season: The EagleBank Bowl, played in Washington, D.C. at RFK Stadium, which was the first Bowl Game to be played on December 20 with an 11 AM kickoff and The magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl, played in the Florida namesake city at Tropicana Field. This meant that a total of 68 teams out of 119 in the FBS played in bowl games, provided they met certain criteria listed below.
Selection of the teams
NCAA bylaws say that a school with a record of 6–6 in regular season play and at least 5 wins over FBS teams are eligible only after conferences cannot fill out available positions for bowl games with teams having seven (or more) wins automatically eligible, excluding games played in Hawaiʻi and conference championship games in the ACC, Big 12, Conference USA, MAC and the SEC.
After the final regular-season games on December 7, 2008, four conferences — the Pac-10, the SEC, the Big 12, and the Big Ten — did not have enough teams to fill their bowl game allotments. The Pac-10 had seven contracted bowl slots with only five teams eligible. The last two bowls in the Pac-10 pecking order—the Hawaiʻi Bowl (sixth) and Poinsettia Bowl (seventh)—had contingency contracts with other conferences, respectively Conference USA and the WAC, to select one of the secondary conference's teams should the Pac-10 fail to supply enough eligible teams to supply that bowl. However, because C-USA had only six bowl-eligible teams to fill its six primary bowl slots, the Pac-10/C-USA slot in the Hawaiʻi Bowl became an at-large spot, and was awarded to Notre Dame. The SEC and Big 12 failed to produce enough teams to fill their requirements even before both conferences had two teams selected to BCS games, while the Big Ten was unable to fill its requirements once a second team from that conference (Ohio State) was selected to a BCS game. The Atlantic Coast Conference sent an NCAA-record ten teams to bowl games this season. Since 72 teams were bowl-eligible, but only 68 bowl slots were available, four teams were left out of bowl games. Unlike in 2007, when an eight-win Troy team was left home for the postseason, no team with seven or more wins went without a bowl bid this year. All four uninvited teams — Arkansas State, Bowling Green, Louisiana-Lafayette, and San José State — had six wins.
NOTE: Rankings from final BCS Standings of December 7, 2008.
Conference bowl representation
|Bowl Appearances||Final Rankings|
|Conference||No. of Teams||Record||Pct.||Winners||Losers||Ranked
|Winners of 2008-09 Bowl Challenge Cup with perfect record.|
|Florida won the National Championship. Vanderbilt won in a bowl for the first time since 1955.|
Kentucky won a bowl for the third straight season, a first in school history.
|Big East||6||4–2||0.667||West Virginia
|Both of the Big East's BCS-ranked teams lost their games.|
|Conference USA||6||4–2||0.667||Southern Mississippi
|Rice ended a 54-year winless streak in bowls, Houston ended theirs at 28.|
|Utes became first BCS outsider to win two BCS games; their other was the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.|
The Utes also won their eighth straight bowl game.
|Notre Dame won first bowl game since 1994 Cotton Bowl Classic.|
|Sun Belt||2||1–1||0.500||Florida Atlantic
|Only conference ineligible for 2008-09 Bowl Challenge Cup.|
|The ACC's ten teams in postseason is a new NCAA record.|
Boston College's streak of bowl wins in eight consecutive seasons ended.
|Western Athletic||5||1–4||0.200||Louisiana Tech
|Iowa's win in Outback Bowl avoided a total shutout.|
|Only winless conference in bowl season.|
NOTE: BCS teams are listed in italics.
Post-BCS All-Star Games
|East-West Shrine Game||January 17, 2009||Robertson Stadium
University of Houston
|ESPN2||East 24, West 19|
|Senior Bowl||January 24, 2009||Ladd-Peebles Stadium,
|NFL Network||South 35, North 18|
|Texas vs. The Nation Game||January 31, 2009||Sun Bowl Stadium
University of Texas at El Paso
El Paso, Texas
|CBS College Sports Network||The Nation 27, Texas 24|
- "St. Petersburg, Washington will host bowl games in 2008". ESPN. 2008-04-30. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3375625&campaign=rss&source=NCFHeadlines. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- "Unbeaten Boise State heads Poinsettia; ACC slots 10". The Sporting News. The Sporting News. 2008-12-07. http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=494797. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
- "2008–09 Bowl Schedule". CBSSports.com. 2008-06-19. http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/story/10823453. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
- "Fresno State will represent WAC in New Mexico Bowl". AP. 2008-12-04. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-ap-fbc-fresno-st-new-mexico-bowl,0,5496316.story. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- Memphis Tigers to play South Florida in Dec. 20 bowl in St. Pete
- BYU, Arizona will meet in Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 20
- Outright Champions!
- MSU gets Capital One Bowl, CMU back to Motor City
- "tech to play in Independence Bowl". Shreveport Times. 2008-12-03. Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20081206075816/http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20081203/SPORTS02/81202046/1026/SPORTS02. Retrieved 2008-12-04.[dead link]
- Nebraska's Going Gator
- 2008–09 Bowl Schedule. FOX Sports on MSN.
- Lewis, Michael (2008-12-07). "Utes will face Alabama in Sugar Bowl". Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20081211072940/http://www.sltrib.com/ci_11163492. Retrieved 2008-12-07.
- Oklahoma, Florida to meet in BCS Championship Game. Fox Sports on MSN.