“Congrats, after a full season of hard work, your team has been selected to play…The Dollar General Bowl. We’re so sorry.”
~NCAA Selection Committee
There’s a lot of money to be made in College Football. No, not by the players, that’s ridiculous. Obviously, we’re talking about the money out there for schools and the NCAA in general. Yeah, no, fuck those students, they get to go to school for free, and all it costs is spending countless hours practicing, weightlifting, and training, and then putting their bodies in peril every Saturday for three months. But again, everyone else, they’re able to get a lot of money from College Football. And nowhere is that more evident than during Bowl Game season.
This Saturday the Celebration Bowl will kick off a slate of games that, between ticket sales, sponsorships, and naming rights, exist solely as cash grabs for schools across the nation. Every team that mustered up six wins will go ahead and play each other for a bonus game of which only a handful carry any real stakes. But we’re not here to talk about the perils of the Bowl system, or about the NCAA, or anything like that. We don’t really like delving into serious matters like that. We’d much rather talk about goofy names.
So let’s talk about all of the Bowl games that have hilarious, silly names, shall we?
The Most Absurd College Bowl Game Names of 2018
Unlike literally every other sport in America, College Football spent its entire existence randomly decided to fight tooth and nail against having any sort of playoff determine a championship each year. Even now, with the College Football Playoffs, only four teams have a chance to even be considered the top team in the country. With 130 schools with Division 1 teams alone, that leaves a lot of schools sitting out any meaningful postseason activity. But bowls are big money, and this is America, we do not leave big money on the table when we don’t have to.
That’s why 80 teams will be playing in 41 different bowl games this year (we know, the math messed with our head for a bit until we remembered the whole Bowl Championship Series playoff thing). Which means we have a lot of names to choose from. And ho boy, are there some doozies.
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
First of all, we know that SERVPRO (a fire and water cleanup and restoration franchise) stylizes its name to be capitalized, but still, you shouldn’t ever have an All-Caps word in the title of any game or event. It’s jarring. SERVRO First Responder Bowl looks like the subject line you’d get from your Libertarian uncle who somehow still manages to start all of his emails with Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Re. This is the first year that it has ever been played—for the past eight years it was the Heart of Dallas Bowl, which you might realize is a far less ridiculous sounding name for a Bowl Game. Going from the Heart of Dallas Bowl to the SERVPRO F1rst Responder Bowl (ugh we hated even typing that) would be like taking the Golden Gate Bridge and renaming it the HOME DEPOT Big Ass Long Bridge (For The Troops). We already have a headache and we’re just on our first Bowl game. This article is going to be the death of us.
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
We originally picked this because we didn’t have a clue what the hell a Camellia is, but then we Googled that shit and, folks, we are livid. It’s the Alabama state flower. You guys. There already is a Rose Bowl. You can’t just create a Bowl game in 2014 and be like, “One of the most famous Bowls is named after a flower. So let’s copy that, but make it more Alabama.” That’s, goddamn it, are you serious Raycom Media? This game is owned and operated by ESPN, which somehow makes it feel even more pointless and unnecessary.
The game itself is played at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, which is a field used primarily by Montgomery’s five high school football teams. Then again, this year it’s featuring Eastern Michigan and Georgia Southern, which might actually be made up teams, so maybe the high school games are of slightly better quality. But yeah, there are only two bowls named after flowers, and one of them is the goddamn Camellia. Jesus Christ.
Guys, if you want to get really meta, when you sit down on December 26th to watch Cal take on TCU, have a watch party where the snacks provided are just bowls of Cheez-It. Somehow, since its creation in 1996, it’s had a slew of insane, hilariously bad names, yet Cheez-It might be the most jarring. It was fine as the Copper Bowl, and “lol remember the tech bubble” as the Insight.com Bowl from 1997 through 2001. They switched to the much less-mockable Insight Bowl from 2002 through 2011 before becoming (lol) the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and the Motel 6 (lol lol lol) Cactus Bowl.
But as much as the Motel 6 Bowl is hilarious, the Cheez-It Bowl has to be even more mockable. It’s the only bowl game where you can actually get literal with its name. We know we made that joke in the previous paragraph, and it didn’t exactly knock you out of your chair, but we just need to really hammer home how extremely goofy that is.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
If you asked a college football player about the best part of playing a Bowl game, he’d probably mention how they tend to be in warm places that are fun to visit. They basically double as a bonus vacation for the players. So what do you think would be more depressing—working your ass off all season to go to a game sponsored by a specific state’s farmed potatoes, or ending up having to play in goddamn Boise, Idaho in December?
Though we will say, the fact that Idaho can’t even get someone to sponsor their game so they just were like, “hey let’s name it after our potatoes” is both the most heartbreaking thing about Idaho we can think of, while also serving as the perfect way to describe the entire state of Idaho to someone. It used to be the MPC Computers Bowl, which was sponsored by a company who filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and doesn’t even exist anymore. Okay, so actually that is the most heartbreaking thing about Idaho we can think of.
Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl
Guys, when your Bowl game is sponsored by a brand of tart cherry juice, you’re not exactly living the high life. This game feels like someone saw a joke about how naming rights for Bowl games were getting out of hand, and decided to manifest that shit into the real world. College Football is pretty weird when you take a step back and really examine it. This is a sport where Florida Atlantic can beat Akron 50-3 in front of 25,000 fans during a game in Florida named after a New York company that uses 200 cherries per 32 ounces to make juice. And we all just nod our heads and say, yeah, that sounds about right. That’s just how College Football is.
Oh and also, the head of Home Depot, Ken Langone, was named the Lifetime Commissioner of the Boca Raton Bowl in 2016, and he likes to walk around the stands during the game selling “LEOs” which, we believe, are sandwiches made of Lox, Eggs and Onion. Like, he’s a billionaire, and he’s just, walking around, selling sandwiches. Or at least we hope a LEO is a sandwich. So, yeah, alright, so that part is super weird, even in a College Football setting.
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
Okay, we know you have some questions. So let’s just answer them one at a time. First, it’s got that name as a nod to Jose Gaspar, a mythical pirate who was said to have operated in the Tampa area, and who was the inspiration for Tampa’s Gasparilla Pirate Festival. Yes, we know it’s lazy joke writing to just point out that Tampa Bay has hosted a festival every year since 1904 that’s about a fake pirate who didn’t exist, but when it comes to Tampa Bay you don’t really make fun of the city, you just point out the shit they do, shrug, and go, “I mean, Tampa.”
Secondly, yeah, Bad Boy Mowers are the sponsor, and apparently they place lawnmowers all throughout the stadium to really get the most bang for their sponsorship buck. That’s not even the most ridiculous sponsor they’ve had, though! In 2008 they were sponsored by magjicJack, which is basically like being sponsored by 1-800-COLLECT, then they were briefly the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, before spending a year as, and we swear we’re not making it up, the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. 2014 was wild, guys.
Anyway, when you told us that the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl was just the beginning of laughable things about this particular game, we wouldn’t have believed you. But here we are.
Dollar General Bowl
Can you think of anything more demoralizing than having to play a Bowl game where the sponsor is a fucking dollar store? Even though the Cheez-It bowl is a thing that existed that we had to research for this article, this was the first time that a Google image search didn’t just immediately bring up a picture of the logo. We were like, why are there a bunch of actual bowls here, and then realized that you can buy bowls for a dollar at the Dollar General, and then we got real sad and had to stop writing for a while.
Anyway, Dollar General took over the naming rights for this bowl from GoDaddy.com, and we’re not sure which name is more upsetting. Let’s move on before we accidentally discover another traumatic thing.
Anyway, we’re saving the best for last. Not because the name is the most ridiculous. Just because the next bowl’s entire existence is unbridled insanity. Behold…
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
So first off, Makers Wanted is not like, a company. It’s a trademarked name, but it’s not an actual brand. Secondly, yes the game is actually played in the Bahamas, which is pretty awesome actually. This year it’ll be played between the powerhouse teams of the *checks notes* FIU Panthers and *checks notes again without even bothering to double check if these are real teams* the Toledo Rockets. Up until last year it was sponsored by Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, who declined to renew their sponsorship after being acquired by Restaurant Brands International last year.
So who picked up the slack? Who are these “Makers Wanted” people?
Elk Grove Village, Illinois.
We. Are. 100%. Serious.
The following sentence is a photo caption from an honest to God article about how this happened (the naming rights cost Elk Grove Village $300,00 by the way). “Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson prepares to address the crowd ahead of a Bred Michaels concert Tuesday night. There, Johnson announced the village is sponsoring the Bahamas Bowl — the first time a non-tourist municipality has sponsored a college bowl game.”
So yeah. Makers Wanted is the slogan of Elk Grove Village, which “serves as a call-to-action for Elk Grove Village’s thriving community and the thousands of businesses that are based there.” Again, Elk Grove Village, with its 30,000 people and large industrial park, has the naming rights to a Bowl game, and didn’t even bother trying to get their name on the thing.
Though, God, how bleak would it have been if they had gone with the Elk Grove Village Bahamas Bowl. Fuck, that would be terrible. We guess it’s better that they went this route, then. But still, what? Like we said—College Football is weird.