The Fiesta Bowl is one of the six major College Football bowl game that takes place on or around January 1st. The game is currently held in the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Fiesta Bowl has hosted a total of nine National championship games in its history, and since 2014 the game has been part of the College Football Playoffs (CFP) alongside the Cotton Bowl, the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Peach Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl. All those Bowl Games rotate to host one of two National College Football semi-finals every three years. The Fiesta Bowl hosted its first semi-final in 2016.
Different from other traditional bowl games, the Fiesta Bowl currently does not have any conference tie-ins, and so whenever it is not hosting a College Football Playoff semi-final, a committee selects the teams that are going to play in the Fiesta Bowl. Being a very prestigious bowl game, matchups are always of a high-level with some of the nation's best teams facing off at the Fiesta Bowl.
The first Fiesta Bowl game was played in December 27th 1971, where Arizona State defeated Florida State. The Fiesta Bowl was created as a way for teams in the Western Athletic (WAC). Conference to get an automatic bowl game bid. The idea came up after very competitive WAC teams failed to get invitations from important bowl games. With that, the event had a tie-in with the WAC, which lasted until 1978. Despite the end of the agreement with the WAC, the game kept the high level of its matchups, continuing to be very successful.
A tipping point in the Fiesta Bowl history is considered to be the 1986 edition of the game. That year Miami and Penn State were ranked as the first and second best teams in the country, and were not part of any conference, consequently not getting automatic bids to any bowl games. With that, the Fiesta Bowl hosted both teams in an exciting matchup to determine the best team in the country. Penn State won the game 14-10.
The Fiesta Bowl was held at the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe from 1971 to 2006. In 2007 the game started to be played at the State Farm Stadium.
The Fiesta Bowl is considered to be one of the six major bowls in college football; making "Fiesta Bowl Champions" a very desired title by coaches and players. The winner of the Fiesta Bowl takes home a pay-out of 18 million dollars, and a very unique prize: the Fiesta Bowl trophy. The trophy was made to be unique, and remarkable; It is very detailed and colorful. The trophy is also very big and heavy, and so it was designed with a removable football on top that allows Fiesta Bowl winners to raise their prize (or at least part of it) when celebrating their victory. Some teams that have won the Fiesta Bowl are Penn State, Notre Dame, and Syracuse.