Believe it or not the 2020 college football season has reached the end of the regular season. This weekend we have the long anticipated string of conference championship games, followed quickly by bowl season. This year is a little strange as we have bowl games starting two days after conference champions are crowned, but it's 2020 so it fits right in. To get you prepared for bowl season here is the definitive ranking of the 2020 bowl games based on nothing but their name.
32. New Mexico Bowl
The New Mexico starts a run of bowl games who do not have a title or presenting sponsor. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, but it does make the names a little boring. The New Mexico Bowl checks in last on the Name Rankings because it is literally named after the state in which it is played. The bowl creators sat together in a room and said, "Well, the game will take place in New Mexico, so we'll call it the New Mexico Bowl." The best (and most 2020) part of this name is that due to COVID-19 restrictions in New Mexico the game will be taking place in Frisco, Texas. The game named only for the state in which it exists will not even take place in that state. 2020 man.
31. Montgomery Bowl.
Another sponsor-less bowl game checking in is the Montgomery Bowl. This game ranks higher than the New Mexico Bowl on the Name Rankings for two reasons. First, it is ever so slightly more creatively named because it is named after the city in which it is played and not just the state. Kudos to the bowl creators for doing exactly one step more than the bare minimum there. Secondly, the Montgomery Bowl is actually taking place in Montgomery, Alabama this year so the name is factually correct. Once again, a low bar that the Montgomery Bowl clears.
30. Cure Bowl
The Cure Bowl raises money for breast cancer research, and that is to be commended. However, the name choice is about the most boring way possible to say that your bowl's purpose is to benefit cancer research. Some better name options include the Kick Cancer's Ass Bowl or the Bowl for Breasts. Cure Bowl folks, feel free to use one of these as long as a check is in the mail first.
29. Camellia Bowl
The Camellia Bowl is another sponsor-less bowl checking in at the bottom of the rankings. I have a confession to make, in order to properly assess this bowl name I had to look up what a Camellia actually is. It turns out that a Camellia is a type of flower that is often found in eastern and southern Asia. It is also the state flower of Alabama (a land notedly near eastern and southern Asia). The game takes place in Montgomery, Alabama, so I guess they have a lot of Camellias there. It seems to be a long ways from the home of the Camellias, though. Kudos to the Camellia Bowl for at least naming their game after an Asian flower and not just the city it's played in...*ehm* Montgomery Bowl...
credit: USA Today
28. Allstate Sugar Bowl
Allstate has sponsored the Sugar Bowl since 2006, making the insurance company synonymous with the Sugar Bowl game itself. However, a non-descript car insurance company is about the most boring bowl sponsor one could ask for. The Sugar Bowl ranks ahead of the four previous bowls solely because it does have a title sponsor, but Allstate is still a snoozer of a sponsor. The one thing that the Allstate Sugar Bowl does have going for it is that it basically infringes on every other college football game in America. Everyone (except for those select few with the American Family Insurance ones) has the Allstate Good Hands field goal nets. The Sugar Bowl might have a boring name, but you think about it way more than you realize.
27. Capital One Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is another New Year's Six game checking in with another boring sponsor. This always happens with the BCS/New Year's Six games because of how prominent they are in the college football landscape. Because they are the biggest games of the year, they are only affordable for large, legitimate companies to sponsor them. Unfortunately for these games it makes their names boring and keeps them low on the Name Rankings. Capital One is a prime example of this. It is a fine sponsor, but the name "Capital One Orange Bowl" does nothing to move the needle of name excitement. All it does is force us to watch a billion cringe-worthy Jennifer Garner commercials during the game.
26. Chick-Fila-Peach Bowl
Continuing our string of New Year's Six games is the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. The name of this game has improved in the New Year's Six era as the "Peach" was reinstated. Chick-Fil-A got a little too big for their britches for awhile when they made this game the "Chick-Fil-A Bowl." Order has been restored now, and adding back the Peach is worth at least a spot in the Name Rankings. Like with the other New Year's Six games the sponsor of the Peach Bowl does little to help with name intrigue. I love Chick-Fil-A, but it's a major brand that everyone knows. It's not a needle mover on the intrigue scale.
25. Outback Bowl
The Outback Bowl is a great name for a Tampa-based bowl game for many reasons. First, Outback Steakhouse was founded in Tampa, Florida. Second, Tampa consists of almost nothing but chain restaurants like Outback Steakhouse. Third, the founders of this Australian themed, pseudo-nice steakhouse had never actually been to Australia when they established this restaurant. That is Tampa as hell, and a bowl game in its honor in Tampa is the perfect way to celebrate that. I've long been pining for free Bloomin Onions the day after the Outback Bowl regardless of who wins, but they still haven't taken me up on my genius idea.
24. Playstation Fiesta Bowl
This bowl name is just plain mean. Why, you ask? Well there has not been a college sports video game since NCAA 14. Since that game was released, Playstation has launched TWO new versions of their gaming console. In order to play a college football game on a Playstation you have to play on a console that is so outdated there are two newer versions. I know that Playstation is not at fault for the demise of the college sports video games, but sponsoring one of the biggest college football games of the year while we have to go two systems back to play a college football game on one of their systems feels like a big slap in the face. It's not your fault at all Playstation, but I hate you for it.
23. VRBO Citrus Bowl
I will give props to VRBO, because I had no idea what VRBO was until they started sponsoring this bowl game (Even though I had stayed in multiple VRBO houses in years prior, facepalm I know). That would be the definition of effective marketing. This game appears in the bottom half of the Name Rankings, however, because it just looks weird. It's four letters and then a name. It does not flow well together at all, and gives the vibe of something a kindergartner made up.
22. Cheez-It Bowl
The Cheez-It Bowl is a rare name that actually transcends the individual game it represents. If you recall, the original Cheez-It Bowl was the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix (Now known as the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. More on this later). The first ever Cheez-It Bowl was an abomination of a football game, and I still shudder every single time I hear the words "Cheez-It Bowl." This iteration of the Cheez-It Bowl takes place in Orlando, and it is a new sponsor for the old Russell Athletic/Camping World Bowl. The Cheez-It Bowl is a name that just rolls right off the tongue. Like most of the New Year's Six sponsors, Cheez-It is a known commodity, but Cheez-It is a name that perfectly describes those little cheese cracker squares. Bonus points to you Cheez-It Bowl for not only having a cool name, but also making me want to go buy some of those addictive crackers.
credit: Hylights, ESPN
21. Military Bowl Presented by Perspecta
The Military Bowl gets a bump here by using the ever hilarious "presented by" to announce their sponsor. We can't possibly taint the name of this ever prestigious matchup between middling ACC and AAC foes. It is sacred in college football lore and must be treated as such. Another great part of this bowl name is the transition of sponsorship this year from Northrup Grumman to Perspecta. For nine years the Army plane making company, Northrup Grumman, sponsored this game. Now, Perspecta, a tech company that also dabbles in military stuff, is the presenting sponsor. The Military Bowl clearly has a type. It can't quit sponsors that enjoy blowing things up.
20. The Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual
The Granddaddy of them all checks in at number 20 on the Name Rankings countdown. Like the Military Bowl before it, we have another "presented by" situation, but this game actually has history. Another reason for this games high ranking despite boring sponsorship and pretentiousness is that "The Rose Bowl Game" is such a damn cool phrase. It gives me chills reading those words on a screen. It's the Granddaddy of them all for a reason, even if it chose a sponsor with a commercial song that drives me crazy.
19. Valero Alamo Bowl
Valero has been fueling the American spirit of this game since 2007. Like Allstate with the Sugar Bowl, Valero has become synonymous with the Alamo Bowl to the point where I can't drive past one without thinking about the game. The Alamo Bowl is also the only context in which I ever think about Valero. I'm either driving past a Valero and think "Alamo Bowl" or I'm thinking about the Alamo Bowl and think "Valero. " At this point, Valero might as well sponsor the actual Alamo too.
18. Guaranteed Rate Bowl
For the first time in our rankings we have reached a game sponsored by something that sounds like fraud. As weird as it sounds, though, Guaranteed Rate is a legitimate mortgage company. The legitimacy of the company is responsible for the games lower standing on the Name Rankings. This game was formerly the Cactus Bowl and Cheez-It Bowl, so the name is taking a step in the right direction.
17. Taxslayer Gator Bowl
Ever since Taxslayer began sponsoring this game I have had two requests. I want the trophy to be a medieval knight's sword, and I want the winning coach to hold it up in the air on the 50 yard line and declare "I AM THE TAXSLAYER!" The winner of the Taxslayer Gator Bowl sounds like a knight who slays the mighty tax and becomes a king. He lives in a large castle surrounded by a moat full of man-eating gators. He sacrifices his servants to these gators when they disobey his orders. Oklahoma State is totally winning this game now.
credit: FanBuzz, ESPN
16. Myrtle Beach Bowl
The Myrtle Beach Bowl is the only sponsor-less game that does not appear on the bottom of the Name Rankings. The reason for this is that someone had the incredible foresight to start this game in the year where Myrtle Beach is the college football capital of the world. Are the Coastal Carolina Beach Chickens good this year because it the inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl is happening in 2020? Is the inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl happening in 2020 because Coastal is good? It's a real "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" type of conundrum we have here, and that makes the Myrtle Beach Bowl name interesting.
15. Autozone Liberty Bowl
This is another example of the bowl game and sponsor becoming synonymous as Autozone has been the Liberty Bowl title sponsor since 2004. It is fitting that Autozone was both founded in Memphis and has sponsored this game for so long because if you're driving through Memphis on a road trip (why?) your car will absolutely break down within a 45 mile radius of Memphis, but not in Memphis proper. Seeing how there's absolutely nothing near Memphis, this is a problem, and has to be the origin story for Autozone. Some grumpy dad (don't Google this) was tired of his car breaking down near Memphis that he decided to found a major auto parts store in Memphis proper. That man gave us the gift of the Autozone Liberty Bowl.
14. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
R+L Carriers is missing out on a great marketing opportunity with this bowl game. This game is typically a nighttime kick in New Orleans, giving patrons ample time to get loaded on Bourbon Street before the game. Now here's where R+L Carriers comes in. People will still Uber, Lyft, or walk to the game, but as they continue drinking in the game and get obscenely drunk R+L Carriers can have staff members there to carry out drunk people on dollies. This is not for the drunk people who are being too unruly or breaking laws, the police can handle that per usual. This is for the drunk people who are ready to leave either during or after the game and are either too drunk or lazy to walk out of the Superdome themselves. Sober people can use this service too, but it's New Orleans so everyone's going to be drunk.
13. LendingTree Bowl
LendingTree is another company whose name screams fraud, but that green puppet guy said it's legit so I believe him. That's the biggest problem with this game, we have to see that puppet in his boxers getting a loan every single TV timeout. Besides that the name LendingTree Bowl is great. I really don't know what it is besides the fraud company sounding name, LendingTree, that makes me like this name, but I do.
12. Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
The highest ranking New Year's Six game by a wide margin; the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic checks in at twelve in the Name Rankings. The title sponsor, Goodyear, gives this name great flow and it looks aesthetically pleasing written out. Goodyear, however, is the "most normal" sponsor of anyone this high on the list. So why is this game all the way up here? It's simple, it has the hubris to call itself a Classic. I absolutely love this move. There's a couple bowls who have to have a special presenting sponsor because the name is too meaningful to mess up. There's bowls who think they're too cool to even have a sponsor. Then there's the Cotton Bowl who straight up tells you that its game is a classic. It's bold, it's brash, it's unique in the bowl naming process, and I love it. The biggest problem with this name is only one of the last five Cotton Bowl Classics has been a one possession game, but that won't stop them from calling it a Classic.
11. Servpro First Responder Bowl
The greatness of this name is in how bulky and clunky it is, and also in the inadvertent bowl game history that occurred in this game. The 2018 Servpro First Responder Bowl was on December, 26th at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. With Boston College leading Boise State 7-0 midway through the first quarter lightning began striking in the area. The game entered a weather delay, which lasted for two hours before the game was called due to the forecast showing no signs of clearing up. The game was declared a no contest, and as the folks at Servpro would say it was "Like it never even happened."
10. Duke's Mayo Bowl
Taking over for the Belk Bowl this year we have the Duke's Mayo Bowl in Charlotte. This bowl name will reach it's true potential in the year that Duke makes this game, but it still comes in high on the list because we have mayonnaise sponsoring a bowl game. It's weird but funny at the same time. I do have some beef with this game, not at the fault of Duke's Mayo though. This game would be so much better as the Cook-Out or Bojangles Bowl, but instead it's the Mayo Bowl. There are two redeeming qualities of having the Duke's Mayo Bowl. One, the game had enough foresight to keep the Belk Bowl Twitter guy, and two, the winning team can dump a tub of Duke's Mayo on their coach instead of Gatorade. If we see a coach get mayo doused I will forgive you, Duke's Mayo, for stealing the name from Cook-Out or Bojangles.
9. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
We're a couple spots into the top ten now, and here's where the names start getting clunky and weird. My favorite part about this name is that Lockheed Martin is a helicopter company. I would love to know how many people watching this game are in a position to purchase a helicopter. Yes, I understand that Lockheed Martin is making military grade equipment and not something the average helicopter consumer would buy to fly around, but it still begs the question. Like the Military Bowl, this game named after the troops can't turn away from having an explosives loving company as their title sponsor. The Army Bowls will stick together forever.
8. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Idaho grows 2/3 of the potatoes in the United States, and celebrates that by playing a college football bowl game on blue turf. This game also features the best bowl mascot and a top ten overall sports mascot in Spuddy Buddy. I like to believe that the origins of this bowl name came in two parts. First, one of the bowl executives had or knew someone who had the Spuddy Buddy costume. Upon this realization this bowl executive said to the rest of the execs "Well, we do love potatoes, and we have the suit." At this point the room broke into raucous cheers as these Idahoans found another reason to have a potato festival.
7. Mercari Texas Bowl
Mercari is making its debut as title sponsor of the Texas Bowl this season. This is another instance where I had to look up the bowl sponsor because I had no earthly idea what this was. I can now report that Mercari is a Japanese e-commerce app. Do with that information what you will. The reason why this game is ranked so high is that the words "Mercari Texas Bowl" are just a mouthful to say. It sounds so forced and unnatural, and with bowl game names that's what makes them beautiful.
6. Transperfect Music City Bowl
Again we have a sponsor that I have never heard of before. At this point I'm not sure if I need to get out more, or if it's not that expensive to be the title sponsor of a bowl game. Transperfect is a technology translation and solutions company (get your minds out of the gutter). While it seems mostly legit, it also comes off as a little fraudish, giving it higher name cred in the Name Rankings. I really don't understand why they'd choose this bowl to sponsor given that the company is based in New York, and I can't imagine that Nashville is a major hub for its services. This seemingly random choice of sponsorship does add to the quality of the name, as it appears Transperfect threw a dart at spinning wheel to choose their game.
5. Ticketsmarter Birmingham Bowl
I like the Ticketsmarter Birmingham Bowl at five because of the connotation of this name. Ticketsmarter is a ticket marketplace like Stubhub or SeatGeek, but in the context of Birmingham it feels like a company that helps you evade legal tickets. Birmingham Ticketsmarter is a company you take your speeding ticket to after you get it. At their offices they will shred your ticket and then convince the city that your citation never happened. They always charge exactly $5 less than the legal ticket is worth, and their business is BOOMING. Ticketsmarter, if y'all are interested in pivoting to a legal ticket evasion company hit me up.
4. NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
I'm convinced the entire existence of this bowl game is a front for a fraud operation. The game has only been around for five years, NOVA Home Loans is a company that only operates on the west coast, and it is a company that is operating in the business of exchanging large sums of money. That's why I love this name and I love this game. If I was ever trying to scam people or launch a fraud operation centering it around a bowl game would be how I'd do it. It's perfect, no one pays attention to you except for in December, being a title sponsor of a bowl gives your company some legitimacy, and you even get a TV network to pay you to air this game. I hope this bowl game is a fraud operation and props to everyone involved if it is. You may be able to fool everyone else but you can't fool me.
3. Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
SHREVEPORT STAND UP! The Independence Bowl is now sponsored by an engineering company, but the name makes it sound like a front for a meth lab. This meth lab is located under the stadium in Shreveport, and is fully operational, even during the game. The game is too old for its sole purpose to be meth production, but Radiance Technologies (if you're even a real company) saw an opportunity that they could not pass up. Unlike the Arizona Bowl, no one will question this because the bowl game has been around forever and even has a Pac 12 tie-in. That's something that you can't fake, therefore everything here is above board, officer.
2. Roofclaim.com Boca Raton Bowl
Once again we have a fraudulent sounding sponsor ranking highly on this list (See people, if you want to win these rankings, sound like you're doing all the crimes). Roofclaim.com sounds like a website that just wants to find out where you live so they can determine what you have and then come back and rob everything valuable. Sponsoring the Boca Raton Bowl is smart because that's a market in Florida with a median age of 49 and a median salary of $80,000. It's a reasonable place to do business. The people there will trust you, and if they don't you just tell them your company sponsors the Boca Raton Bowl every year (they just started this year but these people won't know that). Look for this bowl sponsor to hop around a few different games over the next few years as they either clean out Boca or have half of their employees sent to prison.
1. Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl
Finally, we've reached the best bowl name of 2020. When it comes to bowl names the Gasparilla Bowl is the Granddaddy of them all. This is the first edition of the game that features Union Home Mortgage as the title sponsor. Other names this game has had include the magicJack Bowl, St. Petersburg Bowl presented by Beef 'O' Brady's, the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, and the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. All of those aforementioned names would earn the top spot on this list, and the Gasparilla Bowl stepped up again with a new name to keep its throne. Union Home Mortgage is yet another name of a company setting up to steal your identity and commit fraud in your name, but the greatness of the name doesn't stop there. This bowl also commemorates the Tampa holiday of Gasparilla. Gasparilla is a pirate festival that has been held in Tampa every year for over one hundred years. It occurs on the last weekend of January, about a month after the bowl game, and features a parade and many other events. The festival is a memorial to Spanish pirate Jose Gaspar, who in the late 1700s established a pirate kingdom on Gasparilla Island south of Tampa. Here's the catch, Jose Gaspar did not actually exist. There is absolutely zero historical evidence that a pirate named Jose Gaspar existed, and no written acknowledgement of him occurred until at least 1900. So Tampa has a pirate festival celebrating a man who never lived and a bowl game celebrating that celebration a month prior.