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College Football Bowl Games 2023 - What are they, who's playing and when can you watch?

Updated: Dec 16, 2023


The historic Rose Bowl will host Michigan vs. Alabama on 1st January 2024 (Image credit: Andres Aguila/KPCC)

History of college football bowl games


The first college football bowl game was the 1902 Rose Bowl, created to entice people to visit sunny Pasadena, California. Michigan, coached by the legendary Fielding H. Yost, beat Stanford 49-0 on 1st January at Tournament Park and started the tradition of New Year's Day bowl games.


The very first Rose Bowl game (Image credit: Wikipedia)

Tournament Park would host the Rose Bowl game until 1923, when the Rose Bowl stadium was built three miles away. Before long, other cities caught on and started hosting their own bowl games, like the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Cotton Bowl.


By the mid-20th century, bowl games became much more popular and were televised nationally. You could watch college football teams playing in all sorts of exotic locations. This naturally attracted more sponsorship, money, fans, and therefore, more bowl games.

Fast forward to the 80s and 90s and there were over 20 bowl games being played per season.



With fans growing weary of the ambiguity around the decision on which team should be the national champion, the College Football Playoff was established in 2014. This format, a four-team semi-final, featured Alabama, Florida State, Oregon and Ohio state to determine would decide the winner of the national championship. Ohio State, led by third-string quarterback Cardale Jones, beat Oregon 42-20 in this inaugural CFP final.


This year, the College Football Playoff will be contested by Michigan, Washington, Texas and Alabama.


How does it work and what are the traditions?


There are 43 total bowl games in the 2023-24 season, including two college football playoff semifinals and the national championship game on January 8th. The names of these games, influenced by sponsors, range from sublime to ridiculous, and have their own unique, weird and wonderful traditions.


The coach of the winning team in the Duke's Mayo Bowl has approximately 4.5 gallons of watered down Duke's mayonnaise poured on them after the trophy ceremony. South Carolina coach Shane Beamer was the lucky recipient after the Gamecocks' 38-21 win over North Carolina in the 2021 Duke's Mayo Bowl. North Carolina face West Virginia in this year's game on 27th December.



Instead of mayonnaise, or the traditional Gatorade, a huge bucket of French fries is dumped on the winning coach’s head at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. This will be competed for by Utah State and Georgia State on 23rd December. The bowl logo is a giant baked potato that covers the middle of the famous blue field at Albertsons Stadium, home of Boise State and the trophy is a crystal bowl filled with potatoes.


For potatoes, read oranges in the trophy presented to the winner of the Orange Bowl, which will be fought out between No.5 Florida State and No.6 Georgia this year.


The French Fry Dump (Image credit: The Idaho Potato Commission)

Generally, teams must win six or more regular season games to be bowl eligible, although there are exceptions (for example, Minnesota finished 5-7 but was granted an NCAA exemption based on their Academic Progress Rate score and due to a lack of 6-6 teams to fill out the field).


Bowl game matchups are determined by a variety of factors, including a team's win-loss record, conference affiliation, and ranking in polls such as the AP Top 25 and College Football Playoff rankings. Some bowl games, such as the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, have specific tie-ins with certain conferences and are required to invite teams from those conferences. Other bowl games, such as the Citrus Bowl and Camping World Bowl, have more flexibility in their choice, often inviting teams based on their popularity and potential to draw a large audience.


The two bowl games which will serves as College Football Playoff Semifinals are the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, both set for Monday, January 1st. This is the final year of the four-team playoff - in 2024 and beyond, the CFP will transition to a 12-team format.


Some players bound for NFL might miss these games. USC's Caleb Williams and Brenden Rice are notable examples after their declarations for the NFL draft, but it gives fans the opportunity to look at some emerging talent ahead of next year. Bowl games give fans a great day out to celebrate and a memorable end to season.


Here is this year's line up;:


The 2023-24 Bowl Games


Saturday, December 16th


Myrtle Beach Bowl

Georgia Southern vs. Ohio - Brooks Stadium - Conway, South Carolina.


Cricket Celebration Bowl

Howard vs. Florida A&M - Mercedez-Benz Stadium - Atlanta, Georgia.


R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Louisiana vs. Jacksonville State - Caesars Superdome - New Orleans, Louisiana.


Avocados from Mexico Cure Bowl

Appalachian State vs. Miami (Ohio) - FBC Mortgage Stadium - Orlando, Florida.


Isleta New Mexico Bowl

New Mexico State vs. Fresno State - University Stadium - Albuquerque, New Mexico.


LA Bowl Hosted by Gronk

Boise State vs. UCLA - SoFi Stadium - Inglewood, California.


Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl

Texas Tech vs. Cal - Independence Stadium - Shreveport, Louisiana.


Monday, December 18th


Famous Toastery Bowl

Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion -

Jerry Richardson Stadium - Charlotte, North Carolina.


Tuesday, December 19th


Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl

Marshall vs. UTSA - Toyota Stadium - Frisco, Texas.


Thursday, December 21st


Roofclaim.com Boca Raton Bowl

South Florida vs. Syracuse - FAU Stadium - Boca Raton, Florida.


Friday, December 22nd


Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl


(Image credit: bollyinsides.com)

UCF vs. Duke - Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Florida.


Saturday, December 23rd


Camellia Bowl

Arkansas State vs. Northern Illinois - Cramton Bowl - Montgomery, Alabama.


Birmingham Bowl

Georgia Tech vs. Troy - Protective Stadium - Birmingham, Alabama.


Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

James Madison vs. Air Force - Amon G. Carter Stadium - Fort Worth, Texas.


Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Utah State vs. Georgia State - Albertsons Stadium - Boise, Idaho.



68 Ventures Bowl

South Alabama vs. Eastern Michigan - Hancock Whitney Stadium - Mobile, Alabama.


SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl

Northwestern vs. Utah - Allegiant Stadium - Las Vegas, Nevada.


Easypost Hawai’i Bowl

San Jose State vs. Coastal Carolina - Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex - Honolulu, Hawaii.


Tuesday, December 26th


Quick Lane Bowl

Bowling Green vs. Minnesota - Ford Field - Detroit, Michigan.


SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

Texas State vs. Rice - Dallas, Texas - Gerald J. Ford Stadium.


Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Kansas vs. UNLV - Chase Field - Phoenix, Arizona.


Wednesday, December 27th


Military Bowl Presented by GoBowling.com

Tulane vs. Virginia Tech - Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium - Annapolis, Maryland.


Duke’s Mayo Bowl

North Carolina vs. West Virginia - Bank of America Stadium - Charlotte, North Carolina.


DIRECTV Holiday Bowl

No. 15 Louisville vs. USC - Petco Park - San Diego, California.


TaxAct Texas Bowl

No. 20 Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M - NRG Stadium - Houston, Texas.


Thursday, December 28th


Wasabi Fenway Bowl

No. 24 SMU vs. Boston College - Fenway Park - Boston, Massachusetts.


Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl

Miami vs. Rutgers - Yankee Stadium - New York, New York.


Pop-Tarts Bowl

NC State vs. Kansas State - Camping World Stadium - Orlando, Florida.


Valero Alamo Bowl

No. 12 Oklahoma vs. No. 14 Arizona - Alamodome - San Antonio, Texas.


Friday, December 29th


TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

No. 22 Clemson vs. Kentucky - EverBank Field - Jacksonville, Florida.


Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl

No. 19 Oregon State vs. No. 16 Notre Dame - Sun Bowl Stadium - El Paso, Texas.


Autozone Liberty Bowl

Iowa State vs. Memphis - Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium - Memphis, Tennessee.


Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Missouri - AT&T Stadium - Arlington, Texas.


Saturday, December 30th


Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 11 Ole Miss - Mercedes-Benz Stadium - Atlanta, Georgia.


Transperfect Music City Bowl

Auburn vs. Maryland - Nissan Stadium - Nashville, Tennessee.


Capital One Orange Bowl


Georgia won the 2022 Orange Bowl (Image credit: 247 Sports)

No. 5 Florida State vs. No. 6 Georgia - Hard Rock Stadium - Miami, Florida.


Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl

Toledo vs. Wyoming - Arizona Stadium - Tucson, Arizona.


Monday, January 1st


ReliaQuest Bowl

No. 13 LSU vs. Wisconsin - Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Florida.


Cheez-It Citrus Bowl

No. 17 Iowa vs. No. 21 Tennessee - Camping World Stadium - Orlando, Florida.


VRBO Fiesta Bowl

No. 8 Oregon vs. No. 23 Liberty - State Farm Stadium - Glendale, Arizona.


College Football Playoff Semifinals:


Rose Bowl Presented by Prudential

No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 4 Alabama - Rose Bowl Stadium - Pasadena, California.


Allstate Sugar Bowl

No. 2 Washington vs. No. 3 Texas - Caesars Superdome - New Orleans, Louisiana.


Monday, January 8th


College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T


Michigan/Alabama vs. Washington/Texas - NRG Stadium - Houston, Texas.


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