American Football Database
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
File:Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.jpg
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas Logo
Stadium Reliant Stadium
Location Houston, Texas
Operated 2006–present
Conference tie-ins Big 12, Big Ten
Previous conference tie-ins Big East/C-USA/MWC (alternating years) (2006-2009)
Payout US$1.7 million per team (as of 2011[1])
Meineke Car Care
Former names
Texas Bowl
2011 matchup
Texas A&M vs. Northwestern (Texas A&M 33-22)
2012 matchup
Minnesota vs. Texas Tech (December 28, 2012)

The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, formerly known as the Texas Bowl, is a post-season NCAA-sanctioned Division I FBS college football bowl game that was held for the first time in 2006 in Houston, Texas. The bowl replaced the now-defunct Houston Bowl, which was played annually from 2000 to 2005. The first bowl game in Houston was the Bluebonnet Bowl, played from 1959 through 1987. On December 31, 2011, Texas A&M defeated Northwestern by a score of 33-22. In 2012, Texas Tech won 34-31 against University of Minnesota.

Replacing the Houston Bowl

Speculation had surfaced questioning the long-term survival of the former Houston Bowl. The three-year contract with expired on December 31, 2005, leaving the bowl game without a title sponsor. A college football official told the Houston Chronicle that the bowl was in danger of ceasing operations, as a result of the game losing its title sponsor and because the Houston Bowl still owed roughly $600,000 to the Big 12 and Mountain West conferences following the 2005 game.[2] However, the NCAA approved Lone Star Sports & Entertainment, a division of the NFL's Houston Texans, who also play in Reliant Stadium, to take over game management. Then on July 20, the NFL Network acquired both TV rights and naming rights to the bowl, which was played on December 28.[3]

The Texas Bowl name and logo were officially unveiled on August 10, 2006, at a press conference along with the conference affiliations for the bowl spots. The Big 12, Big East and Conference USA will be affiliated with the game, as well as Texas Christian University of the Mountain West. The 2006 matchup featured teams from the Big 12 and Big East Conferences.[4] On April 12, 2011 ESPN announced that Meineke Car Care had signed a three year title sponsorship deal beginning in 2011 to change the name of the bowl to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.[5]

On December 3, 2006, Rutgers accepted an invitation to play Kansas State on December 28 at Reliant Stadium. "We’re ecstatic about having Rutgers," Texas Bowl director David Brady said. "This is a top-15 team that was three yards away from a BCS game. We couldn’t be happier to have them here."[6]

On May 17, 2007, Conference USA announced that it would have a team in the 2007 Texas Bowl. The Texas Bowl has a rotating commitment with the Big East Conference and Conference USA for 2006–09 while the Big 12 Conference will have a team in all four of those games. In 2007, TCU took the place of the Big 12 team when Kansas and Oklahoma were put into the BCS, and Houston, a "home team," represented C-USA. The conferences would receive $612,500 each as per the rules of the agreements as usually, the Big East (or Big 12) would have received $750,000 for playing and C-USA would have received a $500,000 stipend for their team playing.

2010 will mark the eleventh straight year that a bowl game has been played in Houston, and the 40th year overall with such a game there (the Bluebonnet Bowl lasted 29 years). It was also announced on December 30, 2009, that ESPN Plus would take over as part owner and operator of the game, while Lone Star Sports and Entertainment will maintain a stake in the bowl, and would be carried on ESPN.

According to Sports Illustrated, in 2008 the bowl required Western Michigan University to purchase 11,000 tickets at full price in order to accept the invitation to play in the bowl. The university was only able to sell 548 tickets at that price, forcing it to accept a $462,535 loss, before travel expenses, to pay for the privilege of playing in the bowl.[7]

2007 game notes

  • TCU beat Houston 20–13.
  • It was TCU's third bowl victory in as many years, the first time since 1936–39 the Horned Frogs have achieved the feat. They started their bowl winning streak with a win over Iowa State in this bowl in 2005 when it was known as the Houston Bowl.
  • The Cougars had an interim head coach for this game, Chris Thurmond, as Art Briles has accepted the head coaching job at Baylor.[8]
  • Fort Worth-based retailer Radio Shack was the presenting sponsor of the Texas Bowl telecast on NFL Network.

2006 game notes

  • On December 19, it was confirmed that Time Warner Cable will carry the NFL Network free for at least the duration of the game.[9] On December 22, Cablevision agreed to carry the game.[10] Neither cable company normally carries NFL Network. The announcements allayed fears that Rutgers fans living in New York and New Jersey would not be able to watch the game.
  • New Jersey native Spero Dedes handled the play-by-play for the game on the NFL Network. However, his geographic knowledge of his home state was called into question, when he identified Rutgers being in "South Jersey" at least four times during the broadcast. He also referred to the main campus' location as "South Brunswick" instead of "New Brunswick". Although the Rutgers University system has a small South Jersey campus in Camden, it is a separate school and not associated with the main school's athletic program. (An equivalent would be comparing Penn State with Penn State Beaver.) The home stadium and the Scarlet Knights are headquartered on the flagship New Brunswick-Piscataway campus, which is in central New Jersey. Other gaffes included calling running back Ray Rice as "Way Wice" and tight end Clark Harris "Cliff" Harris (Harris was a safety for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s).[11]
  • The telecast had other missteps: the "1st & Ten" electronic yardage system malfunctioned several times and Marshall Faulk, who was scheduled to be the sideline reporter, did not show up; therefore, the game had no reports from field level, unlike most other college football telecasts.

Game results

Season Date Time (CDT) Winning team Losing team Attendance TV
2006 December 28 7:00 PM Rutgers 37 Kansas State 10 52,210 NFL Network
2007 December 28 7:00 PM TCU 20 Houston 13 62,097
2008 December 30 7:00 PM Rice 38 Western Michigan 14 58,880
2009 December 31 2:30 PM Navy 35 Missouri 13 69,441 ESPN
2010 December 29 5:00 PM Illinois 38 Baylor 14 68,211
2011 December 31 11:00 AM Texas A&M 33 Northwestern 22 68,395
2012 December 28 8:00 PM Texas Tech 34 Minnesota 31 50,386


Year MVP Team Position
2006 Ray Rice Rutgers RB
2007 Andy Dalton TCU QB
2008 Chase Clement Rice QB
2009 Ricky Dobbs Navy QB
2010 Mikel Leshoure Illinois RB
2011 Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M QB
2012 Seth Doege Texas Tech QB

Most appearances

Rank Team Appearances Record
T1 Illinois 1 1–0
T1 Navy 1 1–0
T1 Rice 1 1–0
T1 Rutgers 1 1–0
T1 TCU 1 1–0
T1 Texas A&M 1 1–0
T1 Texas Tech 1 1–0
T1 Baylor 1 0–1
T1 Houston 1 0–1
T1 Kansas State 1 0–1
T1 Minnesota 1 0–1
T1 Missouri 1 0–1
T1 Northwestern 1 0–1
T1 Western Michigan 1 0–1

Wins by conference

Conference Wins Losses Pct.
Big 12 2 3 .400
Big East 1 0 1.000
MWC 1 0 1.000
Independent 1 0 1.000
C-USA 1 1 .500
Big Ten 1 2 .333
MAC 0 1 .000

See also

List of college bowl games


External links