2017-18 Bowl Matchups

by | Dec 5, 2017 | College Bowl Games, Lloyd Brown, NCAA Football |

The matchups for the upcoming holiday bowl season have now been released. For your quick reference we have listed the teams playing, a link to our stadium review where the game is being played, and the website for that bowl to assist you in any travel plans you have. Bowl games are a great opportunity to follow your favorite team and see a new area of the country. So pick a game and get out there…


December 16th

AFR Celebration Bowl, Grambling vs North Carolina A&T, 12pm

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

Celebration Bowl website

Celebration Bowl tickets

The Celebration Bowl is one of the most aptly named bowl games of the season. Featuring the MEAC champion and SWAC champion, it’s the sole bowl game matching FCS opponents. It may also feature the best two marching bands during halftime in the entire country.


R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Troy vs North Texas, 1 pm

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

New Orleans Bowl website

New Orleans Bowl tickets

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is a must-stop bucket list item for any sports fan, and this is a great opportunity to see the stadium and the Big Easy. While in the Dome, reflect back on some of the great events hosted inside the massive structure from the great Pistol Pete Maravich and the NBA’s New Orleans Jazz, to BCS National Championships, Super Bowls, NCAA Final Fours, and many more.


AutoNation Cure Bowl, Georgia State vs Western Kentucky, 2:30pm

Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

AutoNation Cure Bowl website

The AutoNation Cure Bowl is has the unique distinction of being a football game that means more than the result on the field. All of the proceeds from the annual bowl game at Camping World Stadium are donated to Breast Cancer research to help finding a cure for the deadly ailment. On top of that, the game serves as a great escape from the cold of the north in the winter to a tropical oasis in the south.


Las Vegas Bowl, Boise State vs Oregon, 3:30pm

Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas Bowl website

Las Vegas Bowl tickets

This year’s matchup features two teams with a strong recent history in football and Sam Boyd Stadium is definitely worth a look, with a location that can’t be beat.


New Mexico Bowl, Marshall vs Colorado State, 4:30 pm   

Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM

Gildan New Mexico Bowl website

Gildan New Mexico Bowl tickets

For being one of the “lesser” bowls, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl offers great excitement and energy from the stands. Fans of college football would easily be enthralled and engaged by what is put on by the good people of Albuquerque. The city itself is beautiful, and is the perfect host for an event of this type. If you are looking for all the bells and whistles of “big time” college football, you might not find that here, but in terms of bang for your buck, you can’t beat the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.


Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Arkansas State vs Middle Tennessee, 8pm

Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl website

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl tickets

The Camellia Bowl is a decent way to spend an evening. It won’t cost much more than going to the movies, and the weather should be good. This is probably not the best choice for the most die-hard football fans, since you will never see a powerhouse match-up or the rabidity you may be used to at some of the marquee venues, but for the more casual fan, it is a great place to take in a game in a relaxed, low-stress atmosphere.


December 19th

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl, Florida Atlantic vs Akron, 7pm

FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL

Boca Raton Bowl website

Boca Raton Bowl tickets

Take two teams from mid-tier conferences, pit them against each other at a football stadium used by a mid-tier team located in a part of South Florida just outside of major metropolitan areas, and you get yourself the Boca Raton Bowl. Despite the bleak outlook, there is more than meets the eye to this often-laughed at bowl game.


December 20th

DXL Frisco Bowl, SMU vs Louisiana Tech, 8pm

Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX

Frisco Bowl website

Frisco Bowl tickets

Frisco, like many of the other communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, has become something of a boomtown. Anything you could want in terms of shopping, dining, and hotels is here in Frisco. And, if for some reason you cannot find it, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, Plano, Grandview, etc. are all within an hour’s drive.


December 21st

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, Florida International vs Temple, 7pm

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL

Gasparilla Bowl website

Gasparilla Bowl tickets

Just a short walk via the pedestrian walkway outside Gate 7 is an area known as the Grand Central District. Getting its name from Central Avenue, this strip is lined with all sorts of local shops and food. Ferg’s Sports Bar is always alive before and after games – there’s honestly more atmosphere here than in the stadium – and Bodega is a local juice joint that also serves up delicious Hispanic fare. All in all, there are over twenty restaurants and breweries located on Central Avenue, so don’t hesitate to take a look. Aside from Central Avenue, there really isn’t much within walking distance. If you are in the area for an extended period of time, be sure to check out downtown St. Petersburg. There are a plethora of restaurants, parks, and outdoor activities here, and it’s only a couple miles west of the stadium.


December 22nd

Bahamas Bowl, Ohio vs UAB, 12:30pm

Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, The Bahamas

Bahamas Bowl website

Bahamas Bowl tickets

Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium opened in 2012, and seats 15,000. The $30 million venue was a gift to the Bahamas from the People’s Republic of China, and replaced the original Thomas Robinson Stadium, which is located nearby. The multi-purpose facility hosts mostly soccer matches, but also other sporting events, such as the Bahamas Bowl, and features plastic chairback seating on both the east and west sides, as well as an oval track around the field.


December 22nd

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Central Michigan vs Wyoming, 4pm

Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl website

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl tickets

The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl matches a team from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) with a team from the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The bowl is televised nationally on one of the ESPN networks. The bowl (while previously under a different name) is the longest-running cold weather bowl game that is currently active. From 1997 to 2010, the bowl was known as the Humanitarian Bowl.


December 23rd

Birmingham Bowl, South Florida vs Texas Tech, 12pm

Legion Field, Birmingham, AL

Birmingham Bowl website

Birmingham Bowl tickets

Opened in 1927, Legion Field was once the greatest football venue in the South. It hosted the Iron Bowl from 1948-1988, and both Alabama and Auburn played many other games here over the years, but as the facility deteriorated and their on-campus stadiums improved, they both stopped using it as an alternative.

Lockheed Martin Armed Services Bowl, Army vs San Diego State, 3:30pm

Amon Carter Stadium, Ft. Worth, TX

Armed Forces Bowl website

Armed Forces Bowl tickets

The Texas Christian University campus is located about four miles from downtown Fort Worth. Amon G. Carter Stadium is right on the campus. The campus is divided by University Drive which is the location of a few restaurants popular for serving the TCU students.


Dollar General Bowl, Appalachian State vs Toledo, 7pm

Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL

Dollar General Bowl website

Dollar General Bowl tickets

Mobile is a nice town near the gulf, and the weather is second to none, so not a bad place to take in a football game.


December 24th

Hawaii Bowl, Fresno State vs Houston, 8:30pm

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI

Hawaii Bowl website

Hawaii Bowl tickets

Aloha Stadium is located in Halawa, Oahu, a western suburb of Honolulu and is Hawaii’s largest outdoor arena. Built in 1975 with a 50,000-seat capacity, Aloha Stadium is located just two miles north of Honolulu International Airport, and is home to the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team. The stadium has hosted the annual NFL Pro Bowl game since 1980 and currently hosts the NCAA’s Hawaii Bowl every December, a Christmas Eve mainstay since 2002.


December 26th

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Utah vs West Virginia, 1:30pm

Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX

Heart of Dallas Bowl website

Heart of Dallas Bowl tickets

It’s called the Cotton Bowl, but to some it’s simply known as, “The House that Doak Built.” This is mainly due to the massive crowds that running back Doak Walker drew into the stadium during his stellar college career at SMU during the late 1940s. The Cotton Bowl was originally called the Fair Park Bowl because it was located in Fair Park, the site of the Texas State Fair. The Cotton Bowl has been around since 1930 and is one of college football’s most historic landmarks; it also has the capacity since its latest renovation to hold 92,100 people.


Quick Lane Bowl, Duke vs Northern Illinois, 5:15pm

Ford Field, Detroit, MI

Quick Lane Bowl website

Quick Lane Bowl tickets

Elwood Bar & Grill is directly across the street from Ford Field, and is packed several hours before Lions games. Old Shillelagh is also a good option, and they offer a shuttle bus from their establishment to Lions games, so it is a good way to simplify your life. They also have a decent menu. The Detroit Pub has several TVs, and a good selection of beers with tasty wings, and may be a good spot to settle in, let traffic disperse and watch the late afternoon NFL slate.


Cactus Bowl, Kansas State vs UCLA, 9pm

Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ

Cactus Bowl website

Cactus Bowl tickets

If you have never been to a bowl game before, or if you have never seen football played on a baseball field, the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field is definitely a game you should look into attending.  While it may not have as big a name as some of the other bowls, it is a nice, modern facility, with great staff who put on a great show, and would definitely be an awesome way to spend some time during the holidays.


December 27th

Walk On’s Independence Bowl, Florida State vs Southern Mississippi, 1:30pm

Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA

Independence Bowl website

Independence Bowl tickets

Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana, opened in 1924, and currently has a capacity of 49,565, but could be expanded to accommodate 63K if need be.  The facility is owned by the City of Shreveport, and is most well-known for hosting the annual FBS Independence Bowl, which currently has tie-ins with the ACC and the SEC.  In addition to the bowl game, Independence Stadium also hosts numerous local high school football and soccer games, because many schools in Shreveport lack facilities; the venue has also hosted games for the New Orleans Saints and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.


New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Boston College vs Iowa, 5:15pm

Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY

New Era Pinstripe Bowl website

New Era Pinstripe Bowl tickets

The Pinstripe Bowl is a college football bowl game played at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, one of the five boroughs in New York City. Organized by the New York Yankees baseball team, whose stadium is used for the game, the Pinstripe Bowl was first played in 2010, and has always been held at Yankee Stadium. The Pinstripe Bowl currently has tie-ins with the ACC and Big 10 conferences, and is title-sponsored by the New Era Cap Company.


Foster Farms Bowl, Arizona vs Purdue, 8:30pm

Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA

Foster Farms Bowl website

Foster Farms Bowl tickets

Featuring unique design elements, creative sight lines, and reliable technology characteristics all packaged in an airy inclusive environment, Levi’s Stadium provides an incredibly fulfilling experience.


Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, Texas vs Missouri, 9pm

NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

Texas Bowl website

Texas Bowl tickets

The atmosphere for the game is great and even though NRG Stadium might be a tad big for this type of game, the closed roof helps keep the noise in making for a rowdy location.


December 28th

Military Bowl, Virginia vs Navy, 1:30pm

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Military Bowl website

Military Bowl tickets

If you come to Annapolis, plan your trip around this bowl game so you can experience this place for yourself. It is not glitzy. It is not fancy. It is simply great. The historical atmosphere and the Brigade of Midshipmen are what set it apart from most other places. It isn’t the shiny new venue that a lot of places have. But like the U. S. Navy, it gets the job done.


Camping World Bowl, Oklahoma State vs Virginia Tech, 5:15pm

Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

Camping World Bowl website

Camping World Bowl tickets

This is one of three bowl games in Orlando, and while it may not be as inexpensive as the Cure Bowl, is no less worthy of your attendance. The marquee matchup makes for a great game product on the field. The stadium is much more enjoyable since its renovation, and that means you will feel a lot more comfortable in your seats.


SDCCU Holiday Bowl, Michigan State vs Washington State, 9pm

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA

Holiday Bowl website

Holiday Bowl tickets

There is plenty of history to be absorbed at The Q. Now in its 50th year, opened in 1967 as San Diego Stadium and later named Jack Murphy Stadium after the late local columnist, though it is referred to as The Q by locals and national media, over the years and to this day it is still affectionately referred to by many other locals as The Murph.


Valero Alamo Bowl, Stanford vs TCU, 9pm

Alamodome, San Antonio, TX

Valero Alamo Bowl website

Valero Alamo Bowl tickets

The Alamodome is the perfect venue for this bowl game, and San Antonio continually proves to be the ideal host. For fans of college football, this is a great way to experience the excitement and history of the game.


December 29th

Belk Bowl, Wake Forest vs Texas A&M, 1pm

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC

Belk Bowl website

Belk Bowl tickets

With the arrival of the Carolina Panthers in 1996, hosting a major bowl game in Charlotte became a topic of discussion. Charlotte made a lot of sense considering the proximity of ACC and SEC schools, and the popularity of football in the Carolinas. In 2002, the NCAA awarded a new bowl game to Charlotte, and they would follow to host the ACC and Big East. With the disbanding of the conference, the Belk Bowl made a big play and picked up the SEC as their second conference affiliate. Since then, the Belk Bowl has hosted some of the biggest matches in the bowl season and big-name players like Larry Fitzgerald, Teddy Bridgewater, and Todd Gurley. Bank of America Stadium is a great venue for the bowl, made even better when local teams are playing in the game.


Hyundai Sun Bowl, Arizona State vs NC State, 1pm

Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX

Sun Bowl website

Sun Bowl tickets

Sun Bowl Stadium is built in a bowl design with an open south end – instead of seats, there the team name is painted on the cement. The scoreboard is also on the south end, so all of the seats face it, which makes it easy to see replays. There is also a walkway around the top of the bowl, so you are free to walk around and watch the game from multiple vantage points, or look down on Mexico, which can be seen through the open south end.


Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Kentucky vs Northwestern, 4:30pm

Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN

Music City Bowl website

Music City Bowl tickets

Nissan Stadium opened in 1999, and has hosted the Music City Bowl ever since. The stadium is also home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, as well as the FCS Tennessee State Tigers. The stadium is located on the east bank of the Cumberland River, right across the water from downtown Nashville, and has a capacity of 69,143. Besides football, the stadium is also used for concerts, soccer matches, and other events. The Music City Bowl pairs teams from the ACC and SEC, and is currently sponsored by Franklin American Mortgage Company.


NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, New Mexico State vs Utah State, 5:30pm

Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ

Arizona Bowl website

Arizona Bowl tickets

Home to the Arizona Wildcats, Arizona Stadium has gone through significant renovations in recent years and makes for a wonderful venue for this bowl matchup.


Goodyear Cotton Bowl, Ohio State vs USC, 8:30pm     

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

Cotton Bowl website

Cotton Bowl tickets

AT&T Stadium is a venue that provides top notch entertainment year round. It is a one of a kind stadium that leaves expressions of amazement on the faces of fans as they walk in for the first time. A trip to watch a Cotton Bowl game in AT&T Stadium should truly be among the top of every sports fan’s bucket list.


December 30th

Taxslayer Bowl, Mississippi State vs Louisville, 12pm

EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL

Taxslayer Bowl website

Taxslayer Bowl tickets

EverBank Field opened in 1995 as home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the NFL’s 30th franchise. The stadium replaced the Gator Bowl, which was built in 1928 and had hosted the annual Gator Bowl (now the TaxSlayer Bowl) since 1946. The TaxSlayer Bowl is the sixth-longest running bowl game, and was the first to be televised nationally. The TaxSlayer Bowl typically pairs teams from the Big Ten and SEC, and the capacity of the stadium on bowl game day is over 15,000 higher than during Jacksonville Jaguars regular season games, thanks to the removal of tarps and the installation of temporary seating.


AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Memphis vs Iowa State, 12:30pm

Liberty Bowl, Memphis, TN

Liberty Bowl website

Liberty Bowl tickets

Opened in 1965, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium is home to the Memphis Tigers football team, as well as the annual NCAA football Liberty Bowl, and currently has a capacity of 56,862. The facility is a true bowl design, with an oval-shaped grandstand that rises to a peak in the middle of each sideline, and descends to have valleys behind each end zone. The sight lines here are truly outstanding, meaning all seats have a great view of the action, due to the fact that the grandstand is really close to the field, but also because the seats are very steep, so all of the seats are closer to the action than at comparably-sized stadiums.


PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Penn State vs Washington, 4pm

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

Fiesta Bowl website

Fiesta Bowl tickets

You really do have to see this place to believe it. Everything is so spacious, so modern and so clean. It is obvious that fan comfort was a top priority after the many years the franchise spent at Sun Devil Stadium. Every sports fan should make the trip to Glendale in the coming years to see University of Phoenix Stadium. It is a truly one-of-a-kind place. A modern marvel.


Capital One Orange Bowl, Miami vs Wisconsin, 8pm

Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL

Orange Bowl website

Orange Bowl tickets

The Orange Bowl Game is the second-longest running college football bowl game, and the history of the game runs deep in sports. Now, played in a changing Hard Rock Stadium, the game is one that cannot be missed by die-hard sports fans, regardless of who plays in the game.


January 1st

Outback Bowl, Michigan vs South Carolina, 12pm

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL

Outback Bowl website

Outback Bowl tickets

Home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Raymond James Stadium has hosted the Outback Bowl since the venue opened in 1998.


Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Auburn vs UCF, 12:30pm

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl website

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl tickets

The Peach Bowl gets a new destination this season as they move into the spectacular new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.


Citrus Bowl, Notre Dame vs LSU, 1pm

Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

Citrus Bowl website

Citrus Bowl tickets

The history of the Citrus Bowl dates back to 1947 when it was known as the Tangerine Bowl. This year’s matchup features two marquee programs and makes a great destination for families looking to add to a holiday vacation.


Rose Bowl Game, Georgia vs Oklahoma, 5pm

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

Rose Bowl website

Rose Bowl tickets

The Rose Bowl is called “The Granddaddy of Them All” for its pomp and circumstance each year. From the parade each morning that is nationally televised to a big game in the afternoon, this is a must see for sports travelers and fans.


Allstate Sugar Bowl, Clemson vs Alabama, 8:45pm

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

Sugar Bowl website

Sugar Bowl tickets

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is in the Central Business District (CBD) area of New Orleans. It is primarily a business area with few tourist attractions. However, it is located less than two miles from the sights most people are acquainted with in the Big Easy, including Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, the Garden District and the Mississippi Riverfront. New Orleans is an epicurean’s delight and we would not presume to cover all the wonderful options for dining in the area.

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