Cherry Bowl

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For the drive-in theater and diner, see Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theatre & Diner.
Cherry Bowl (defunct)
Cherry Bowl poster.jpg
poster from the 1985 Cherry Bowl
Stadium Pontiac Silverdome
Operated 1984-1985
Succeeded by Motor City Bowl
1985 matchup
Maryland over Syracuse (35-18)

The Cherry Bowl was an annual post-season college football bowl game played in the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1984 and 1985.[1] The Cherry Bowl is noteworthy as an early attempt to bring a game to chilly Michigan, years before the successful Motor City Bowl (later known as the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl). The Cherry Bowl and Motor City Bowl were played at the Pontiac Silverdome (the Motor City Bowl eventually moved the Ford Field). However, the bowl was not financially viable, and folded after its second year. The Quick Lane Bowl has since replaced the Cherry Bowl as a northern dome bowl game.

The Cherry Bowl inaugural 1984 game drew more than 70,000 to an Army-Michigan State matchup. This game is noteworthy as Army's first-ever bowl appearance. For 1985, the bowl ambitiously promised $1.2 million to each team, the fifth-highest payout among all bowls.

The National Anthem, Half-time, and post-game shows were performed by area high school marching bands. For the 1984 game, the National Anthem and the post-game show were performed by the Marching Railroaders from Durand, Michigan.

The mid-1980s were a time of upheaval in college football. The end of NCAA control over television rights resulted in a major increase in televised games, and TV rights fees dropped sharply amid the resulting glut, something not anticipated by the Cherry Bowl organizers.[2] Adding to their problems, without the local Michigan State team attendance for the 1985 game between Maryland and Syracuse fell by nearly 20,000.

Negotiations with General Motors to become the game's title sponsor failed. Unable to meet its payout obligation and more than $1 million in debt, the Cherry Bowl folded.[2]

Game results[edit]

Date played Winning team Losing team
December 22, 1984 Army 10 Michigan State 6 notes
December 21, 1985 Maryland 35 Syracuse 18 notes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Foldesy, Jody. "Bowls burgeon as big business", The Washington Times. December 21, 1997. Page A1.
  2. ^ a b The Fifty-Year Seduction: How Television Manipulated College Football, from the Birth of the Modern NCAA to the Creation of the BCS, by Keith Dunnavant, 2004, pg. 197