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Football Bowl Games

What are the bowl games in college football? Here is a complete list of college bowl games, including history, traditions, and winners.


What are Football Bowl Games?

A football bowl game is the way in which college football does its postseason. Instead of a bracket style playoff with a set amount of teams, college football has around 40 bowl games each year. That number fluctuates with how many teams are eligible for the postseason. A bowl game is a one game showdown between two teams. Each bowl game has a sponsor and is referred to as the sponsor bowl. The winner is declared the champions of that bowl game. For example, the team that wins the Rose Bowl is known as Rose Bowl Champions.

How Does a Team Get into a Football Bowl Game?

College football permits any team with a winning percentage at or above .500 during the regular season into the postseason. In the past seven years, teams with losing records have also been allowed into bowl games. That is to either reach the minimum amount of bowl eligible teams or to even out an odd number of teams. Teams with 5-7 win-loss records are eligible with the schools with the highest academic performances getting priority.


Two of the bowl games make up the semi-finals for the National Championship. They are different bowls each year, but always a part of the New Year's Six (see below). The four teams are chosen by a committee based on their resumes during the regular season. There is no set mark a team has to hit to get into the playoffs, but they have to be among the four best teams in the country in the eyes of the committee to make it.

Conference Alignment

Certain conferences are guaranteed spots in bowl games, and finishing on top of your your conference cements you into a certain bowl. For example, The Rose Bowl consists of the winner of the PAC12 and BIG10 conferences (unless it is part of the National Championship playoff).

Examples of Famous Football Bowls

New Year's Six

The New Year's six are the final bowl games played as well as the most coveted. These games are played by the most elite football teams of the year and it is considered an honor to be chosen for one. The New Year's six bowls are: The Rose Bowl, The Fiesta Bowl, The Sugar Bowl, The Orange Bowl, and The Cotton Bowl.

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