American Football Database
California Bowl (defunct)
California Raisin Bowl
Stadium Bulldog Stadium
Location Fresno, California
Operated 1981–1991
Conference tie-ins PCAA/Big West, MAC
California Raisin Advisory Board (1988–1991)

The California Bowl (later the California Raisin Bowl) was a post-season college football bowl game played annually at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, California, from 1981 to 1991.[1] The games matched the championship teams from the Big West Conference (formerly the Pacific Coast Athletic Association) with teams from the Mid-American Conference. During the bowl's existence it was generally the first bowl game played during the postseason. It was regarded as one of the lower-profile bowl games in that the conferences involved were mid-majors,[citation needed] and was one of the first bowls to restrict its television marketing efforts to the medium of cable television.[citation needed] Fresno State largely dominated this game, playing in five of the 11 games and winning four of them. In 1988, the California Raisin Advisory Board purchased the naming rights to the bowl.

In 1992, the game moved to Las Vegas, Nevada after losing NCAA certification [2] and became the Las Vegas Bowl; it also dropped the automatic affiliation with the Big West Conference and Mid-American Conference after the 1996 season.[3]

This is game should not be confused with the bowl game, played 1946–1949, called the Raisin Bowl also played in Fresno.

Game results

Date played Winning team Losing team MVP
December 19, 1981 Toledo 27 San Jose State 25
December 18, 1982 Fresno State 29 Bowling Green 28 Jeff Tedford QB
December 17, 1983 Northern Illinois 20 Cal State Fullerton 13 Lou Wicks FB
December 15, 1984 Toledo * 13 UNLV 30
December 14, 1985 Fresno State 51 Bowling Green 7 Mike Mancini P
December 13, 1986 San Jose State 37 Miami (OH) 7 Mike Perez QB
December 12, 1987 Eastern Michigan 30 San Jose State 27 Gary Patton RB
December 10, 1988 Fresno State 35 Western Michigan 30 Darrell Rosette RB
December 9, 1989 Fresno State 27 Ball State 6
December 8, 1990 San Jose State 48 Central Michigan 24
December 14, 1991 Bowling Green 28 Fresno State 21

* Toledo lost this game, but was later awarded the win due to UNLV's use of ineligible players earlier in the season.

See also


  1. Foldesy, Jody. "Bowls burgeon as big business", The Washington Times. December 21, 1997. Page A1.
  3. "history"