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Cactus Bowl

The Cactus Bowl has undergone a number of changes in name and venue since first being christened as the Copper Bowl in 1989. The Arizona Wildcats enjoyed home-field advantage in the inaugural edition of the Copper Bowl, handing the North Carolina State Wolfpack a 17-10 loss on the familiar turf of Arizona Stadium, which would serve as the site of this contest until 1999.

This game has seen several name changes, starting with a renaming to the Insight.com Bowl in 1997, which was later modified to the Insight Bowl in 2002. That again changed to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl for two years starting in 2012, before being rechristened as the Cactus Bowl in time for the 2014-15 bowl season.

The Cactus Bowl has also seen numerous changes in venue during its three decades of existence.  The game left Tucson following the 1999 Insight.com Bowl, taking up residence at Bank One Ballpark, home of baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, for six years before settling in Tempe at Sun Devil Stadium, home of the Wildcats’ archrivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Starting with the 2015-16 edition of the Cactus Bowl, in which the West Virginia Mountaineers shaded the Sun Devils 43-42 as 3-point underdogs, the game returned temporarily to the home of the Diamondbacks, now known as Chase Field, while Sun Devil Stadium underwent major offseason renovations.

The Cactus Bowl now features teams from the Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences, and has produced some notable game MVPs. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers claimed 2003 MVP honors as a member of the California Golden Bears, and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was selected as 2012 MVP while with the Michigan State Spartans.

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Cactus Bowl History
YearBowlTeamScoreTeamScoreSpreadATS WinnerSU Winner
1995Insight BowlTexas Tech55Air Force41+4TXTECHTXTECH
1996Insight BowlWisconsin38Utah10+8WISCSNWISCSN
1997Insight BowlNew Mexico14Arizona20-9NEWMEXARIZON
1998Insight BowlWest Virginia31Missouri34-2MIZZOUMIZZOU
1999Insight BowlColorado62Boston College28+9COLOCOLO
2000Insight BowlPittsburgh29Iowa State37-3IOWASTIOWAST
2001Insight BowlSyracuse26Kansas State3-6SYRACUSYRACU
2002Insight BowlPittsburgh38Oregon State13-1.5PITTPITT
2003Insight BowlVirginia Tech49California52+3CALCAL
2004Insight BowlOregon State38Notre Dame21+3OREGSTOREGST
2005Insight BowlRutgers40Arizona State45-9RUTGERARIZST
2006Insight BowlMinnesota41Texas Tech44-8MINNTXTECH
2007Insight BowlIndiana33Oklahoma State49-6.5OKLASTOKLAST
2008Insight BowlMinnesota21Kansas42-9KANSASKANSAS
2009Insight BowlIowa State14Minnesota13-2IOWASTIOWAST
2010Insight BowlMissouri24Iowa27+3IOWAIOWA
2011Insight BowlIowa14Oklahoma31-14OKLAOKLA
2012Buffalo Wild Wings BowlMichigan State17TCU16-2MICHSTMICHST
2013Buffalo Wild Wings BowlMichigan14Kansas State31-7KSUKSU
2014Cactus BowlOklahoma State30Washington22-7Oklahoma StateOklahoma State
2015Cactus BowlWest Virginia43Arizona State42+3Arizona StateWest Virginia
2016Cactus BowlBoise State12Baylor31+7BaylorBaylor
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