The Holiday Bowl has been played since 1978 in San Diego at what is now known as Qualcomm Stadium, although its future there is unclear after 2018. Because the NFL’s Chargers moved to Los Angeles, Qualcomm Stadium could be razed and the Holiday Bowl might move to Petco Park, home of MLB’s Padres. This bowl was created to give the WAC, now defunct in college football, an automatic bowl bid after the Fiesta Bowl severed ties with the conference because of Arizona and Arizona State moving to what is now the Pac-12.
The 2016 Holiday Bowl, won by Minnesota 17-12 over Washington State, was the last to be televised by ESPN – Fox Sports now has the rights. ESPN had televised the bowl for 30 years, making it the longest-running partner in the network’s history (it was ESPN’s first bowl). The Pac-12 has had a tie with the Holiday Bowl for two decades, and the Big Ten has sent a team since 2014.
BYU, now an independent, has made the most appearances by far with 11. In 1984, the top-ranked Cougars beat Michigan 24-17 to win the national title as the country’s only unbeaten team. That’s the last time a school not currently in a Power 5 conference or including Notre Dame was crowned national champion.
The Holiday Bowl has hosted some of the great players in modern NCAA history, among them former BYU quarterbacks Jim McMahon, Steve Young and Ty Detmer as well as ex-Oklahoma State running back Barry Sanders. In 1988, Sanders had the greatest season ever for a college tailback in winning the Heisman Trophy. The future Detroit Lions legend set the NCAA record with 2,628 yards rushing that still stands. Back then, however, the NCAA didn’t count bowl totals. Sanders added 222 yards and a Holiday Bowl-record five rushing scores in a 62-14 blowout win over Wyoming.
The Big Ten representative was the underdog in three straight Holiday Bowls starting in 2014, covering them all and winning the last two.
The Northwestern Wildcats and the Utah Utes will go toe to toe in this year’s Holiday Bowl. For the latest odds, a free pick and handicapping information, visit our Holiday Bowl Game Center.
|Year||Bowl||Team||Score||Team||Score||Spread||ATS Sportsbook||SU Sportsbook|
|1995||Holiday Bowl||Colorado State||21||Kansas State||54||-8||KAN.ST||KAN.ST|
|1997||Holiday Bowl||Colorado State||35||Missouri||24||+3||COLOST||COLOST|
|1999||Holiday Bowl||Washington||20||Kansas State||24||+11||KAN.ST||KAN.ST|
|2002||Holiday Bowl||Kansas State||34||Arizona State||27||+17.5||ARIZST||KAN.ST|
|2003||Holiday Bowl||Texas||28||Washington State||20||+9||WSHST||TEXAS|
|2004||Holiday Bowl||Texas Tech||45||California||31||-10.5||TXTECH||TXTECH|
|2006||Holiday Bowl||Texas A&M||10||California||45||-3.5||CAL||CAL|
|2007||Holiday Bowl||Texas||52||Arizona State||34||+1||TEXAS||TEXAS|
|2008||Holiday Bowl||Oregon||42||Oklahoma State||31||+1||OREG||OREG|
|2013||Holiday Bowl||Arizona State||23||Texas Tech||37||+16.5||T TECH||T TECH|
|2016||Holiday Bowl||Minnesota||17||Washington State||12||-9||Minnesota||Minnesota|
|2017||Holiday Bowl||Michigan State||42||Washington State||17||+2.5||Michigan State||Michigan State|