It’s hard to mess with perfection but somehow the Belk Bowl did and hit it out of the park. From 2004 to 2010, Meineke Car Care Center was the sponsor of the bowl game in Charlotte that pitted a couple mediocre teams from the ACC and American conferences. The game became an internet sensation in 2011 when Belk took over as the sponsor. If you were on Twitter on December 27th, 2011, all you saw was Belk, which was used in pretty much every way you could imagine and then some.
Earlier today it was announced that Duke’s Mayo would be taking over as the sponsor of the bowl game. So why does this matter? With the ever-changing bowl tie-ins. the Big Ten will now be taking on the ACC in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in even-numbered years, while the SEC will play in Charlotte in odd-numbered years.
Now if Ohio State is playing in Charlotte in December, Ryan Day’s second season as head coach has been a colossal failure. A more realistic sight though is Jim Harbaugh and Michigan playing in the bowl game. How hilarious would that be? Even funnier would be if the Wolverines ended up winning the game and the team celebrates by dumping tubs of Duke’s Mayo on Harbaugh....just days before Harbaugh is fired for posting another 8-5 or 9-4 season.
There are a number of other Big Ten teams and coaches playing in this bowl game that would add some humor to the holidays. It feels like it is inevitable that the Big Ten West will create a monopoly on bids to the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck strikes me as more of a Miracle Whip guy, though, while the blandness of the sandwich being made in the video announcing the bowl game looks like it would be perfect for Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald.
Since it is a relatively slow on the news front, I figured a good way to add a little humor into times that are full of anger and uncertainty is to take a look back at some of the most hilarious bowl sponsors. Some of the sponsors we have seen over the years have been absolutely perfect for not only the quality of the bowl, but also for where it is being played.
Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl
This bowl game has undergone quite a makeover since Bitcoin was the sponsor in 2014. Not only is this bowl game now known as the Gasparilla Bowl, but it has seriously upgraded its setting, as it is now played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Prior to moving to the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this bowl game was played at Tropicana Field.
So why is Bitcoin so funny as a sponsor? Since the crypto-currency company feels like a scam, it was perfect that it was played at Tropicana Field, which is a dump. I’m a baseball fan and I can’t stand watching games at Tropicana Field, and seeing football there wasn’t much better.
What makes everything about this bowl even more hilarious is it was sponsored for the four years prior by Beef O’ Brady. Now I’m not sure what Beef O’ Brady’s is but just by looking at the name it feels like the Dollar Tree version of Applebee’s or Chili’s. To top everything off, the games throughout the years at this bowl have been pretty unmemorable. Even when they were close, they were terribly played.
Everything associated with GoDaddy is unintentionally hilarious. Just the name itself is so weird to have to say. Then there are the cheesy commercials. Also, if you watched NASCAR earlier in the decade, it was pretty much a weekly occurrence that Danica Patrick would crash and blame someone else for the accident.
With all that, it’s hard to have high expectations for a bowl game played in Mobile. But, more often than not at least it was entertaining, as the MAC and Sun Belt conferences battled. In four of the six games with GoDaddy as a sponsor, the winning team scored at least 30 points. The 2015 edition saw 97 total points scored between Toledo and Arkansas State.
The GoDaddy Bowl was exactly what we expected it to be, and exactly what we needed it to be.
Duck Commander Independence Bowl
Did anything sum up Louisana any more perfectly than a bowl game in Shreveport sponsored by the Duck Dynasty guys? Going to Shreveport has to be one of the least popular bowl destinations, just like watching Duck Dynasty was one of the last resorts when it came to shows to watch on television.
The 2014 game didn’t disappoint. A 6-6 Miami Hurricanes team took on a 6-6 South Carolina team that was coached by Steve Spurrier. The Gamecocks did their best to blow a 17-6 lead but Brad Kaaya couldn’t lead his Hurricanes to victory in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl. There is so much mediocrity in that sentence, which makes the only year of this bowl sponsorship perfect.
Just so there is no confusion, I’m talking about the bowl that was played in Phoenix in 2018 and 2019, and not the Cheez-It Bowl that will be played in Orlando this year. The former Camping World Bowl has to dream big if it wants to live up to what the previous Cheez-It Bowl did in Arizona.
It was the night after Christmas and all through the house....let’s be honest, no matter what I write here, it can’t do any justice to the recap that Jason Kirk did after the battle between Cal and TCU in 2018. Honestly, how can you not love a Cheez-It shower as a celebration of victory? The only downside is we didn’t get to see how Mike Leach would handle it.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
A bowl game in Idaho that is sponsored by potatoes and is played on blue turf? What more do you need? It also helped that for much of the last decade this was among the first games played during bowl season, allowing us to dip our toe in the water before the crush of more important bowl games.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl has a little bit of importance in Ohio as well. The Ohio Bobcats have won the game twice in the last decade, with the 2011 victory over Utah State giving the team their first bowl win in school history. Boise is the second home of the Bobcats.
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
If you’re not going to be playing in one of the major bowl games, the next best thing is to play a bowl game in the Bahamas. Imagine getting a trip to a tropical paradise right before Christmas. As if that wasn’t enough, you get a bunch of swag from Popeyes. It’s just too bad the sponsorship for this bowl game ended a few years before the introduction of Popeyes famous chicken sandwich. I would tell the sponsors that all I want is coupons for free sandwiches.
These are just a few recent examples of some hilarious bowl game sponsors, and it’s obvious there are plenty more partnerships out there that we haven’t seen yet. People say there might be too many bowl games, but I honestly think there needs to be more so we get an even higher probability of seeing ridiculous sponsorship partnerships for bowl games.