American Football Database
Holiday Bowl
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
Stadium Qualcomm Stadium
Location San Diego, California
Operated 1978–present
Conference tie-ins Big 12, Pac-12
Previous conference tie-ins WAC (1978–1997)
Big Ten (1986–1994)
Payout US$2,350,000 (As of 2009) [1]
SeaWorld (1986–1990)
Thrifty Car Rental (1991–1994)
Plymouth (1995–1997)
Culligan (1998–2001)
Pacific Life Insurance Company (2002-2009)
Bridgepoint Education (2010–present)
2011 matchup
California vs. Texas (Texas 21–10)
2012 matchup
Baylor vs. UCLA (December 27)

The Holiday Bowl is a post-season NCAA-sanctioned Division I-A college football bowl game that has been played annually at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California, since 1978. Beginning with the 2010 playing the bowl officially became known as the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl after Bridgepoint Education[2] signed on to replace Pacific Life as the bowl's title sponsor. Previous sponsors have included SeaWorld, Thrifty Car Rental, Chrysler Corporation (through its Plymouth brand), and Culligan.

The Holiday Bowl was founded to give the Western Athletic Conference an automatic bowl bid after the Fiesta Bowl, which previously had a tie in with the game, ended its association with the WAC after Arizona and Arizona State (the latter of which served as the game's host) left the conference to join the Pacific-8 Conference in 1977. Thus, the Holiday Bowl inherited the Fiesta Bowl's former WAC ties and gave the conference's champion its automatic bid. For the first several years, the WAC champion played an at-large team in the Holiday Bowl. Beginning in 1986 and continuing until 1994, the Big Ten Conference was given the second bid provided it had enough bowl eligible teams.

For the first seven games, Brigham Young University represented the WAC as its champion. In the inaugural game on December 22, The Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy came in with an 8–3 record and a Commander-in-Chief's Trophy and then capped the remarkable season with a 23–16 comeback victory over the highly favored Cougars. BYU has played in a total of 11 Holiday Bowls, more than any other team. The 1980 game was known as "The Miracle Bowl" as BYU erased a 20 point Southern Methodist lead to win on the last play of the game.

Four years later, BYU, led by their coach, LaVell Edwards, won the national championship in the Holiday Bowl by defeating the University of Michigan Wolverines, coached by Bo Schembechler, 24–17. It was the first — and only — time that the title was won at the Holiday Bowl, or any other December bowl game. Because of the WAC's contract with the Holiday Bowl, BYU, #1 ranked and the only undefeated team in Division I-A going into that season's bowls, was obligated to play in the mid-tier Holiday Bowl against a mediocre (6–5) Michigan squad.

Beginning in 1995, the Big Eight Conference replaced the Big Ten and has remained tied with the bowl as the conference expanded to become the Big 12. The WAC's automatic bid was split, with first choice given to the Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas, and a team from the Pacific-10 Conference was added as the alternate pick (meaning that, if the WAC champion played in the Cotton Bowl, the Pac-10's team would play in the Holiday Bowl). The WAC ended its association with the Holiday Bowl after the 1997 playing, and the game has since become a permanent matchup between the Big 12 and now-Pac-12.

As of 2010, the Holiday Bowl matches the third place Pac-12 team and the 5th place Big 12 team.[3] Previously, the matchup featured the second place Pac-12 team playing the third place Big 12 team, but the Alamo Bowl outbid the Holiday Bowl to feature that matchup.

The game has recently become a type of "upset" bowl. In 2005, a 10–1 Oregon team (favored by 3 points while ranked 6th in the nation) playing without its star quarterback Kellen Clemens lost 17–14 to a surging Oklahoma squad that had won six out of its last seven. In 2004, one-loss California was blown out by Big 12 Texas Tech, 45–31. In 2003, Big 12 third-place Texas was knocked off by Pac-10 second-place Washington State, led by Matt Kegel. In 2010, Nebraska went to the Holiday Bowl after losing the Big 12 Championship Game and faced a 6–6 Washington team that they had beaten 56–21 during the regular season, but lost the rematch 19–7.

According to Bruce Binkowski, the Holiday's executive director, average ticket prices for the Holiday Bowl would have had to have been increased from $60 to $100 to match the Alamo Bowl's offer of $3 million (the Holiday Bowl was only offering $2.35 million).[4] The now-Pac-12 and Big 12 retain their contracts with the Holiday Bowl, however, and the 2010-2013 matchups will pit the #3 Pac-12 team against the #5 Big 12 team.

One of the more popular (yet unusual) events associated with the Holiday Bowl is the Wiener Nationals, the national championships for the U.S. dachshund racing circuit. The game is also celebrated with the Big Bay Balloon Parade, organized by the Port of San Diego and currently sponsored by San Diego County Credit Union.

Game results

File:Cal on defense at 2004 Holiday Bowl.JPG

Texas Tech on offense at the 2004 Holiday Bowl

Date Played Winning Team Losing Team notes
December 22, 1978 Navy 23 BYU 16 notes
December 21, 1979 Indiana 38 BYU 37 notes
December 19, 1980 BYU 46 SMU 45 notes
December 18, 1981 BYU 38 Washington State 36 notes
December 17, 1982 Ohio State 47 BYU 17 notes
December 23, 1983 BYU 21 Missouri 17 notes
December 21, 1984 BYU 24 Michigan 17 notes
December 22, 1985 Arkansas 18 Arizona State 17 notes
December 30, 1986 Iowa 39 San Diego State 38 notes
December 30, 1987 Iowa 20 Wyoming 19 notes
December 30, 1988 Oklahoma State 62 Wyoming 14 notes
December 29, 1989 Penn State 50 BYU 39 notes
December 29, 1990 Texas A&M 65 BYU 14 notes
December 30, 1991 [5] BYU 13 Iowa 13 notes
December 30, 1992 Hawaii 27 Illinois 17 notes
December 30, 1993 Ohio State 28 BYU 21 notes
December 30, 1994 Michigan 24 Colorado State 14 notes
December 29, 1995 Kansas State 54 Colorado State 21 notes
December 30, 1996 Colorado 33 Washington 21 notes
December 29, 1997 Colorado State 35 Missouri 24 notes
December 30, 1998 Arizona 23 Nebraska 20 notes
December 29, 1999 Kansas State 24 Washington 20 notes
December 29, 2000 Oregon 35 Texas 30 notes
December 28, 2001 Texas 47 Washington 43 notes
December 27, 2002 Kansas State 34 Arizona State 27 notes
December 30, 2003 Washington State 28 Texas 20 notes
December 30, 2004 Texas Tech 45 California 31 notes
December 29, 2005 Oklahoma 17 Oregon 14 notes
December 28, 2006 California 45 Texas A&M 10 notes[6]
December 27, 2007 Texas 52 Arizona State 34 notes[7]
December 30, 2008 Oregon 42 Oklahoma State 31 notes
December 30, 2009 Nebraska 33 Arizona 0 notes
December 30, 2010 Washington 19 Nebraska 7 notes
December 28, 2011 Texas 21 California 10 notes
December 27, 2012 Baylor 49 UCLA 26 notes


Date played MVP(s) School Position
December 22, 1978 Phil McConkey Navy WR
Tom Enlow BYU LB
December 21, 1979 Marc Wilson BYU QB
Tim Wilbur Indiana CB
December 19, 1980 Jim McMahon BYU QB
Craig James SMU RB
December 18, 1981 Jim McMahon BYU QB
Kyle Whittingham BYU LB
December 17, 1982 Tim Spencer Ohio State RB
Garcia Lane Ohio State CB
December 23, 1983 Steve Young BYU QB
Bobby Bell Missouri DE
December 21, 1984 Robbie Bosco BYU QB
Leon White BYU LB
December 22, 1985 Bobby Joe Edmonds Arkansas RB
Greg Battle Arizona State LB
December 30, 1986 Mark Vlasic Iowa QB
Todd Santos San Diego State QB
Richard Brown San Diego State LB
December 30, 1987 Craig Burnett Wyoming QB
Anthony Wright Iowa CB
December 30, 1988 Barry Sanders Oklahoma State RB
Sim Drain Oklahoma State LB
December 29, 1989 Blair Thomas Penn State RB
Ty Detmer BYU QB
December 29, 1990 Bucky Richardson Texas A&M QB
William Thomas Texas A&M LB
December 30, 1991 Ty Detmer BYU QB
Josh Arnold BYU DB
Carlos James Iowa DB
December 30, 1992 Michael Carter Hawaii QB
Junior Tagoai Hawaii DT
December 30, 1993 Raymont Harris Ohio State RB
Lorenzo Styles Ohio State LB
John Walsh BYU QB
December 30, 1994 Todd Collins Michigan QB
Matt Dyson Michigan LB
Anthoney Hill Colorado State QB
December 29, 1995 Brian Kavanagh Kansas State QB
Mario Smith Kansas State DB

Date played MVP(s) School Position
December 30, 1996 Koy Detmer Colorado QB
Nick Ziegler Colorado DE
December 29, 1997 Moses Moreno Colorado State QB
Darran Hall Colorado State WR
December 30, 1998 Keith Smith Arizona QB
Mike Rucker Nebraska DE
December 29, 1999 Jonathan Beasley Kansas State QB
Darren Howard Kansas State DE
December 29, 2000 Joey Harrington Oregon QB
Rashad Bauman Oregon DB
December 28, 2001 Major Applewhite Texas QB
Willie Hurst Washington RB
Derrick Johnson Texas LB
December 27, 2002 Ell Roberson Kansas State QB
Terrell Suggs Arizona State DE
December 30, 2003 Sammy Moore Washington State WR
Kyle Basler Washington State P
December 30, 2004 Sonny Cumbie Texas Tech QB
Vincent Meeks Texas Tech DB
December 29, 2005 Rhett Bomar Oklahoma QB
C.J. Ah You Oklahoma DE
Anthony Trucks Oregon DB
December 28, 2006 Marshawn Lynch California RB
Nate Longshore California QB
Desmond Bishop California LB
December 27, 2007 Colt McCoy Texas QB
Brian Orakpo Texas DE
December 30, 2008 Jeremiah Masoli Oregon QB
Jairus Byrd Oregon DB
December 30, 2009 Niles Paul Nebraska WR
Matt O'Hanlon Nebraska DB
December 30, 2010 Chris Polk Washington RB
Mason Foster Washington LB
December 28, 2011 David Ash Texas QB
Keenan Robinson Texas LB
December 27, 2012 Lache Seastrunk Baylor RB
Chris McAllister Baylor DE

Most appearances

Rank Team Appearances Record
1 BYU 11 4–6–1
2 Texas 5 3–2
3 Washington 4 1–3
T4 Kansas State 3 3–0
T4 Nebraska 3 2–1
T4 Iowa 3 2–0–1
T4 Oregon 3 2–1
T4 Colorado State 3 1–2
T4 California 3 1–2
T10 Arizona State 3 0–3
T10 Ohio State 2 2–0
T10 Arizona 2 1–1
T10 Michigan 2 1–1
T10 Oklahoma State 2 1–1
T10 Texas A&M 2 1-1
T10 Washington State 2 1–1
T10 Missouri 2 0–2
T10 Wyoming 2 0–2
T19 Arkansas 1 1–0
T19 Baylor 1 1–0
T19 Colorado 1 1–0
T19 Hawaii 1 1–0
T19 Indiana 1 1–0
T19 Navy 1 1–0
T19 Oklahoma 1 1–0
T19 Penn State 1 1–0
T19 Texas Tech 1 1–0
T19 Illinois 1 0–1
T19 San Diego State 1 0–1
T19 SMU 1 0–1
T19 UCLA 1 0–1

Media coverage


Date Network Play-by-play announcers Color commentators Sideline reporters
2012 ESPN Dave Pasch Brian Griese Jenn Brown
2011 ESPN Rece Davis Jesse Palmer Jenn Brown
2010 ESPN Chris Fowler Todd Blackledge Erin Andrews
2009[8] ESPN Chris Fowler Craig James and Jesse Palmer Erin Andrews
2008 ESPN Chris Fowler Craig James and Jesse Palmer Erin Andrews
2007 ESPN Brent Musburger Kirk Herbstreit Lisa Salters
2006[9] ESPN Chris Fowler Kirk Herbstreit Erin Andrews
2005[10] ESPN Keith Jackson Dan Fouts Holly Rowe and Todd Harris
2004[11] ESPN Sean McDonough Craig James Heather Cox
2003[12] ESPN Ron Franklin Mike Gottfried Adrian Karsten
2002[13] ESPN Mike Tirico Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit Jerry Punch
2001 ESPN Mike Tirico Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit
2000 ESPN Mike Tirico Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit
1999[14] ESPN Mike Tirico Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit
1998 ESPN Mike Tirico Todd Blackledge
1997 ESPN Rich Waltz Rod Gilmore
1996 ESPN Brad Nessler Gary Danielson
1995 ESPN Brad Nessler Gary Danielson
1994 ESPN Brad Nessler Gary Danielson Adrian Karsten
1993 ESPN Brad Nessler Gary Danielson Sharlene Hawkes
1992 ESPN Brad Nessler Gary Danielson Sharlene Hawkes
1991 ESPN Steve Physioc Gary Danielson Jerry Punch
1990 ESPN Sean McDonough Mike Gottfried Neil Lomax
1989 ESPN Tim Brando Vince Dooley Jerry Punch
1988 ESPN Bob Carpenter Kevin Kiley Sharlene Hawkes
1984 ESPN/Mizlou Howard David Paul Maguire
1982 ESPN Fred White Irv Brown
1980 ESPN/Mizlou Ray Scott Grady Alderman


Date Network Play-by-play announcers Color commentators Sideline reporters
2012 ESPN Radio Bill Rosinski David Norrie Joe Schad
2011 ESPN Radio Bill Rosinski David Norrie Joe Schad
2010 ESPN Radio Bill Rosinski David Norrie Joe Schad
2009[8] ESPN Radio Bill Rosinski Dennis Franchione Joe Schad
2006 ESPN Radio Dan Fouts Tim Brant Jack Arute


  2. - Bridgepoint Education becomes the new Holiday Bowl Sponsor
  3. Tim Griffin (August 28, 2008). "Valero Alamo Bowl, Pacific-10 Conference agree on deal starting in 2010 season". Retrieved 2009-08-31.
  4. "Holiday Bowl drops down in the pecking order".
  5. Game ended in a tie
  6. "Bears Blast Aggies To Win Holiday Bowl - Lynch's 111 yards and two touchdowns pace a 45-10 Golden Bears win.". (University of California at Berkeley). December 28, 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  7. "McCoy fumbles four times, but Texas still routs Arizona State in Holiday Bowl". (ESPN). December 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  8. 8.0 8.1

External links