Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
|Little Caesars Pizza Bowl|
|Previous stadiums||Pontiac Silverdome (1997–2001)|
|Previous locations||Pontiac, Michigan (1997–2001)|
|Conference tie-ins||Big Ten, MAC
Sun Belt (alternate)
|Payout||US$750,000 per team|
Ford Motor City Bowl (1997)
Motor City Bowl (1998–2008)
|Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green (Pitt 30–27)|
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (known as the Motor City Bowl until 2009) was a post-season college football bowl game that was played annually from 1997 to 2013. The first five games (1997–2001) were played at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, and moved to the 65,000-seat Ford Field in downtown Detroit, Michigan in 2002—both the past and present homes of the Detroit Lions. The game marked the first bowl game held in the Detroit area since the Cherry Bowl in 1984–85.
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl featured a bowl-eligible team from the Mid-American Conference (usually the winner of the MAC Championship Game, although that team was not required to accept the bid; prior to the formation of the bowl the MAC champion earned an automatic bid to the Las Vegas Bowl) playing a bowl-eligible team from the Big Ten Conference. If the Big Ten did not have an eligible team, the game featured a team from the Sun Belt Conference that met the NCAA requirement of at least six wins. In the event that the Sun Belt did not have an available team, an at-large team could be chosen.
The final Little Caesars Pizza Bowl was held in 2013; earlier in the year, the Detroit Lions had announced plans to hold their own bowl game at Ford Field beginning in 2014, later known as the Quick Lane Bowl, between the Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference. Organizers explored the possibility of moving the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl to nearby Comerica Park as an outdoor game, but the game would instead be cancelled indefinitely. The Quick Lane Bowl inherits the game's traditional Boxing Day scheduling.
The game was jointly sponsored by the "Big Three" automakers in Detroit from 1998 to 2007 (Ford, General Motors and Chrysler). Starting with the 2008 game, Chrysler was replaced by the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights as a presenting sponsor. In 2009, Little Caesars became the title sponsor of the game after General Motors and Chrysler reorganized under bankruptcy protection. Ford remained as a sponsor. In 2011, the three automakers, along with the UAW, began contributing $100,000 jointly to become presenting sponsors of the game.
On April 12, 2010, it was announced that the Big Ten Conference had extended its affiliation with the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Big Ten no. 8) through the 2013 season. Also the Sun Belt Conference agreed to a secondary tie-in that will allow a Sun Belt Conference team to play in the Detroit-based game should the Big Ten Conference not have an available bowl-eligible team to play.
In August 2013, the Detroit Lions announced that it would hold a new bowl game at Ford Field beginning in 2014, between the Big Ten and an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opponent. While Pizza Bowl organizers attempted to move the bowl to Comerica Park (which is owned by Little Caesars' parent company Ilitch Holdings) and convert it to an outdoor game, these plans never came to fruition. In August 2014, the Lions announced that the new game would be known as the Quick Lane Bowl, and that it would be held on the same day—December 26—that the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl was traditionally held on. In a statement to Crain's Detroit Business, Motor City Bowl executive director Ken Hoffman confirmed that "there is no Pizza Bowl for 2014. We will have to see about the future", implying that the game has been cancelled indefinitely in favor of the Quick Lane Bowl.
|Date||Winning team||Losing team||Attendance||Game|
|December 26, 1997||Mississippi||34||Marshall||31||43,340||Game article|
|December 23, 1998||Marshall||48||Louisville||29||38,016||Game article|
|December 27, 1999||Marshall||21||BYU||3||52,449||Game article|
|December 27, 2000||Marshall||25||Cincinnati||14||52,911||Game article|
|December 29, 2001||Toledo||23||Cincinnati||16||44,164||Game article|
|December 26, 2002||Boston College||51||Toledo||25||45,761||Game article|
|December 26, 2003||Bowling Green||28||Northwestern||24||51,286||Game article|
|December 27, 2004||Connecticut||39||Toledo||10||52,552||Game article|
|December 26, 2005||Memphis||38||Akron||31||45,801||Game article|
|December 26, 2006||Central Michigan||31||Middle Tennessee||14||54,113||Game article|
|December 26, 2007||Purdue||51||Central Michigan||48||60,624||Game article|
|December 26, 2008||Florida Atlantic||24||Central Michigan||21||41,399||Game article|
|December 26, 2009||Marshall||21||Ohio||17||30,331||Game article|
|December 26, 2010||FIU||34||Toledo||32||32,431||Game article|
|December 27, 2011||Purdue||37||Western Michigan||32||46,177||Game article|
|December 26, 2012||Central Michigan||24||Western Kentucky||21||23,310||Game article|
|December 26, 2013||Pittsburgh||30||Bowling Green||27||26,259||Game article|
|2002||Brian St. Pierre||Boston College||QB|
|2003||Josh Harris||Bowling Green||QB|
|2006||Dan LeFevour||Central Michigan||QB|
|2008||Rusty Smith||Florida Atlantic||QB|
|2010||T. Y. Hilton||FIU||WR|
|2012||Ryan Radcliff||Central Michigan||QB|
Wins by conference
- "Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Sponsors and Sponsorship Opportunities". Littlecaesarspizzabowl.com. Retrieved 2012-12-03.
- Shea, Bill (August 26, 2014). "New Ford Field college bowl game gets a name: Quick Lane Bowl". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
-  Archived September 6, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- "Report: Detroit Lions to host bowl game with Big Ten tie-in, Pizza Bowl getting dumped". MILive.com. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- "Detroit Lions announce agreement with ACC for Bowl Game at Ford Field". detroitlions.com. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- "Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field canceled". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- "Little Caesars Pizza Bowl organizers open to playing outside; Detroit Lions bowl interest confirmed". MILive.com. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Connecticut received the bid to play in this game as the Big Ten did not field enough teams to qualify for this game.
- Memphis replaced the Big Ten and Big East teams as they did not have enough teams to qualify for this game.
- The Big Ten did not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill their obligation to qualify for this game, so Middle Tennessee filled the Big Ten's spot.