|National University Holiday Bowl|
|Location||San Diego, California|
|Conference tie-ins||Big 12, Pac-12|
|Previous conference tie-ins||WAC (1978–1997)
Big Ten (1986–1994)
|Payout||US$2,350,000 (As of 2009[update])|
|Baylor vs. UCLA (Baylor 49-26)|
|Big 12 vs. Pac-12 (December 30)|
The Holiday Bowl is a post-season NCAA-sanctioned Division I-A college football bowl game that has been played annually at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California, since 1978. On October 8, 2013, National University signed on to replace Bridgepoint Education as the bowl's title sponsor. Previous sponsors have included SeaWorld, Thrifty Car Rental, Chrysler Corporation (through its Plymouth brand), Culligan and Pacific Life.
The Holiday Bowl was founded to give the Western Athletic Conference an automatic bowl bid after the Fiesta Bowl, which previously had a tie in with the game, ended its association with the WAC after Arizona and Arizona State (the latter of which served as the game's host) left the conference to join the Pacific-8 Conference in 1977. Thus, the Holiday Bowl inherited the Fiesta Bowl's former WAC ties and gave the conference's champion its automatic bid. For the first several years, the WAC champion played an at-large team in the Holiday Bowl. Beginning in 1986 and continuing until 1994, the Big Ten Conference was given the second bid provided it had enough bowl eligible teams.
Beginning in 1995, the Big Eight Conference replaced the Big Ten and has remained tied with the bowl as the conference expanded to become the Big 12. The WAC's automatic bid was split, with first choice given to the Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas, and a team from the Pacific-10 Conference was added as the alternate pick (meaning that, if the WAC champion played in the Cotton Bowl, the Pac-10's team would play in the Holiday Bowl). The WAC ended its association with the Holiday Bowl after the 1997 playing, and the game has since become a permanent matchup between the Big 12 and now-Pac-12.
As of 2010, the Holiday Bowl matches the third place Pac-12 team and the 5th place Big 12 team. Previously, the matchup featured the second place Pac-12 team playing the third place Big 12 team, but the Alamo Bowl outbid the Holiday Bowl to feature that matchup.
According to Bruce Binkowski, the Holiday's executive director, average ticket prices for the Holiday Bowl would have had to have been increased from $60 to $100 to match the Alamo Bowl's offer of $3 million (the Holiday Bowl was only offering $2.35 million). The now-Pac-12 and Big 12 retain their contracts with the Holiday Bowl, however, and the 2010-2013 matchups will pit the #3 Pac-12 team against the #5 Big 12 team. After 2013, the game is expected to match a Pac-12 team against a Big-10 team.
One of the more popular (yet unusual) events associated with the Holiday Bowl is the Wiener Nationals, the national championships for the U.S. dachshund racing circuit. The game is also celebrated with the Big Bay Balloon Parade, organized by the Port of San Diego and currently sponsored by San Diego County Credit Union.
For the first seven games, Brigham Young University represented the WAC as its champion. In the inaugural game on December 22, The Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy came in with an 8–3 record and a Commander-in-Chief's Trophy and then capped the remarkable season with a 23–16 comeback victory over the highly favored Cougars. BYU has played in a total of 11 Holiday Bowls, more than any other team. The 1980 game was known as "The Miracle Bowl" as BYU erased a 20 point Southern Methodist lead to win on the last play of the game.
Four years later, BYU, led by their coach, LaVell Edwards, won the national championship in the Holiday Bowl by defeating the University of Michigan Wolverines, coached by Bo Schembechler, 24–17. It was the first — and only — time that the title was won at the Holiday Bowl, or any other December bowl game. Because of the WAC's contract with the Holiday Bowl, BYU, #1 ranked and the only undefeated team in Division I-A going into that season's bowls, was obligated to play in the mid-tier Holiday Bowl against a mediocre (6–5) Michigan squad.
The game has recently become a type of "upset" bowl. In 2003, #5 Texas was knocked off by #15 Washington State 28–20. In 2004, a 10–1 California (ranked 4th in the nation and knocked out of the BCS by 0.0129 points due to lobbying by #5 Texas Coach Mack Brown) was blown out by #23 Texas Tech 45–31. In 2005, a 10–1 Oregon team (favored by 3 points while ranked 6th in the nation) playing without star quarterback Kellen Clemens lost 17–14 to a surging Oklahoma squad that had won six out of its last seven. In 2010, #17 Nebraska went to the Holiday Bowl after losing the Big 12 Championship Game and faced a 6–6 Washington team that they had beaten 56–21 during the regular season, but lost the rematch 19–7. In 2012, #17 UCLA went to the Holiday Bowl after losing the Pac-12 Championship Game and was upset 49–19 by unranked Baylor.
|Date Played||Winning Team||Losing Team||notes|
|December 22, 1978||Navy||23||BYU||16||notes|
|December 21, 1979||Indiana||38||BYU||37||notes|
|December 19, 1980||BYU||46||SMU||45||notes|
|December 18, 1981||BYU||38||Washington State||36||notes|
|December 17, 1982||Ohio State||47||BYU||17||notes|
|December 23, 1983||BYU||21||Missouri||17||notes|
|December 21, 1984||BYU||24||Michigan||17||notes|
|December 22, 1985||Arkansas||18||Arizona State||17||notes|
|December 30, 1986||Iowa||39||San Diego State||38||notes|
|December 30, 1987||Iowa||20||Wyoming||19||notes|
|December 30, 1988||Oklahoma State||62||Wyoming||14||notes|
|December 29, 1989||Penn State||50||BYU||39||notes|
|December 29, 1990||Texas A&M||65||BYU||14||notes|
|December 30, 1991 ||BYU||13||Iowa||13||notes|
|December 30, 1992||Hawaii||27||Illinois||17||notes|
|December 30, 1993||Ohio State||28||BYU||21||notes|
|December 30, 1994||Michigan||24||Colorado State||14||notes|
|December 29, 1995||Kansas State||54||Colorado State||21||notes|
|December 30, 1996||Colorado||33||Washington||21||notes|
|December 29, 1997||Colorado State||35||Missouri||24||notes|
|December 30, 1998||Arizona||23||Nebraska||20||notes|
|December 29, 1999||Kansas State||24||Washington||20||notes|
|December 29, 2000||Oregon||35||Texas||30||notes|
|December 28, 2001||Texas||47||Washington||43||notes|
|December 27, 2002||Kansas State||34||Arizona State||27||notes|
|December 30, 2003||Washington State||28||Texas||20||notes|
|December 30, 2004||Texas Tech||45||California||31||notes|
|December 29, 2005||Oklahoma||17||Oregon||14||notes|
|December 28, 2006||California||45||Texas A&M||10||notes|
|December 27, 2007||Texas||52||Arizona State||34||notes|
|December 30, 2008||Oregon||42||Oklahoma State||31||notes|
|December 30, 2009||Nebraska||33||Arizona||0||notes|
|December 30, 2010||Washington||19||Nebraska||7||notes|
|December 28, 2011||Texas||21||California||10||notes|
|December 27, 2012||Baylor||49||UCLA||26||notes|
|T19||San Diego State||1||0–1|
|Date||Network||Play-by-play announcers||Color commentators||Sideline reporters|
|2012||ESPN Radio||Bill Rosinski||David Norrie||Joe Schad|
|2011||ESPN Radio||Bill Rosinski||David Norrie||Joe Schad|
|2010||ESPN Radio||Bill Rosinski||David Norrie||Joe Schad|
|2009||ESPN Radio||Bill Rosinski||Dennis Franchione||Joe Schad|
|2006||ESPN Radio||Dan Fouts||Tim Brant||Jack Arute|
- Tim Griffin (August 28, 2008). "Valero Alamo Bowl, Pacific-10 Conference agree on deal starting in 2010 season". Retrieved 2009-08-31.
- "Holiday Bowl drops down in the pecking order".
- Game ended in a tie
- "Bears Blast Aggies To Win Holiday Bowl - Lynch's 111 yards and two touchdowns pace a 45-10 Golden Bears win.". CalBears.com (University of California at Berkeley). December 28, 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-08.
- "McCoy fumbles four times, but Texas still routs Arizona State in Holiday Bowl". espn.com (ESPN). December 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-08.