Toilet Bowls: Selecting the 10 lamest bowl names of all-time
Last week, we learned the new identity of the game formerly known as the Outback Bowl. And boy, is it a dud.
After a brief interim stint as the Tampa Bay Bowl while the game looked for a new title sponsor, it has been rechristened… the ReliaQuest Bowl.
I know what you’re thinking.
“What in Bloomin’ Onion’s name is a ReliaQuest?”
So I looked. And I quote directly from the ReliaQuest website: “A cybersecurity company that delivers Open XDR with a unified threat detection, investigation, and response SaaS platform.”
In the words of Frank Barone, holy crap.
That’s the most boring sentence I’ve ever read in my life. It’s a miracle if you made it to this one. Maybe you didn’t. And this is unquestionably among the lamest names ever given to a bowl game.
Can you imagine a single fan, player or coach excitedly saying, “We’re going to the ReliaQuest Bowl?”
In general, corporate bowl names stink. Bowls were better when they were named for things you could actually place in a bowl. Like roses, oranges, sugar, cotton or Bacardi.
Corporate names can still be fun
Not all corporate sponsorships are lame.
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl had a way of rolling off the tongue. And who could forget when Brent Musburger declared, “This is for all the Tostitos?”
The Outback Bowl was a perfect example of how to successfully use a corporate bowl name. Depending on who won, customers could go to any Outback Steakhouse the day after the game and get a free Bloomin’ Onion or Coconut Shrimp.
You could have no connection whatsoever to either team playing, yet still end up rooting wildly for an outcome based on your favorite appetizer. Genius.
What’s ReliaQuest going to give away? Free open XDR?
In honor of our considerable disappointment in this name change, Saturday Tradition has compiled the 10 lamest bowl names of all-time. Word of warning — if you came here looking for the Poulan Weed Eater Independence Bowl, you’re going to be disappointed.
You can still put weed eater into a bowl.
The 10 lamest bowl names of all-time
10. Blockbuster Bowl (1990-1993)
This wasn’t a terrible name, since it doesn’t inherently signal corporate sponsorship. Indeed, it’s not too far off from Super Bowl. You hear “Blockbuster Bowl” and assume it’s a big game.
But given what happened to Blockbuster Video in the decades following their sponsorship, this game now has a hilarious ring to it.
Think about it. Florida State, Alabama and Stanford all have trophies in their football facilities featuring a Blockbuster Video logo.
And that highlights the risks of naming any game after a company.
9. Builders Square Alamo Bowl (1993-98)
Same vibe, though it avoids complete disaster by keeping the Alamo Bowl name attached.
Like Blockbuster, it made a lot of sense at the time. Builders Square was a major San Antonio-based company.
The problem? The home improvement chain was owned by K-Mart, which… never ends well. By the end of 1999 — a year after its sponsorship ended — every single Builders Square location was shuttered.
8. Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (2017-19)
First off — mowing the lawn doesn’t inherently make you a badass. A 12-year-old can do it. So the entire advertising message of this company does not resonate with me.
Who is this product aimed at? People who are addicted to Monster Energy Drink and need to burn the energy mowing lawns?
There is big news coming to the upcoming 2022-23 Big Ten football season (and NFL season). Ohio online sports betting will be officially launching on January 1, 2023. Ohio will join other Big Ten states where sports betting has become legalized such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois and more.
But, whatever. That’s a personal preference thing. And it’s not my biggest beef with the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
That beef? That this game was once known as the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, which is simply outstanding. The first time I saw that game, I actually looked up the nearest Beef O’Brady’s to my location. That’s how it should be done.
A second strike against Bad Boy Mowers?
This game was played indoors at Tropicana Field. Why would a lawnmower brand sponsor a game on artificial turf?!?! You can’t even highlight what your product does!
If a company claims it can “mow with an attitude,” pick a field with some grass to prove it on.
7. RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl (2020-present)
Naming anything after Boca Raton is putting oneself in an uphill battle to sound cool. So finding a sponsor for a product that anyone under the age of 60 would use is actually quite a coup in this case.
And given the likelihood of having a hurricane-damaged roof in the Gulf region, people tuning in might well be compelled to try the product.
My primary issue with this game is that it should have been reversed with the Bad Boy Mowers sponsorship. FAU Stadium, the venue for this game, has a grass field. But no roof.
Tropicana Field has a roof, but no grass. Surely that roof could be “accidentally” damaged to showcase RoofClaim.com’s services. And if they can’t plug the hole, no worries. Not enough fans show up to Rays games to notice.
Everyone involved really dropped the ball on opportunities to synergize bowl and sponsor.
6. galleryfurniture.com Bowl (2000-01)
The all-lower case stylization of this bowl name is ghastly. Also, the only time a football game should be named after furniture is the $5 Broken Bits of Chair Trophy.
Though unrelated to the game’s name, the fact this bowl was played at the Astrodome after both the Oilers and Astros had already abandoned the building must have given it an extraordinarily depressing feel. Like, nearly as depressing as Tropicana Field.
It’s debatable whether this was even the worst name for this particular game, though. When it moved to Reliant Stadium in 2002, the game was redubbed the EV1.net Houston Bowl. The inclusion of “Houston” saves that version from potentially reaching our No. 1 spot.
5. BBVA Compass Bowl (2011-14)
Compasses are cool. And it doesn’t even matter which kind you are talking about.
Compasses that tell you which direction you’re going are cool. So are the compasses that help you draw circles while also serving as potential weapons.
But the BBVA Compass Bowl was not cool. It was not named after any of those things, but a bank. And — you guessed it — that bank is no longer in business. BBVA was purchased by PNC in 2021.
The game has since been sponsored by companies who actually acknowledge it takes place in Birmingham.
4. uDrove Humanitarian Bowl (2010)
If it sounds like an Abbott and Costello bit, it’s probably a bad sponsor.
“Hello friends, and welcome to the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl…”
“I didn’t drive! I thought you were driving!”
“No Tony, not you drove, uDrove!”
uDrove was a spin-off company of the game’s previous sponsor, Roady’s Truck Stops. But unlike “Frasier” and “Cheers”, this wasn’t a very good spin-off. More like a “Joanie Loves Chachi” to Roady’s “Happy Days.”
And then there’s the unusual Humanitarian Bowl moniker.
Originally, the game’s sponsor was the Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, which was located in Boise. But like so many other bowl sponsors, things didn’t quite work out for the Sports Humanitarian Hall. Apparently the museum’s collection is now locked up in a Santa Clara County, California warehouse. Strong “Raiders of the Lost Ark” vibes there.
Since 2011, this game has been known as the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. It’s arguably the greatest sponsorship in bowldom.
Potatoes can go into bowls. It’s a local sponsor that can only be put out of business by multiple famines. And it has an awesome mascot.
There is not a better mascot in sports than the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl mascot. pic.twitter.com/3AOuQJVzve
— Jack McGuire (@JackMacCFB) January 3, 2020
It will just never settle in that a bowl game has decided to use a mutant potato with gloves as its mascot. pic.twitter.com/97ARttHy2q
— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) December 14, 2015
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 21, 2014
This is how you glow up.
3. Guaranteed Rate Bowl (2020-present)
Guaranteed Rate sounds like the name of a seedy motel far off the Vegas Strip.
As it turns out, that’s not the case. It’s the 3rd-largest mortgage lender in the United States. Look, I’m a writer. How am I supposed to know how people buy houses?
In addition to the bowl game, Guaranteed Rate sponsors the 2nd-best Major League ballpark in the City of Chicago.
But the tragedy of the Guaranteed Rate Bowl isn’t the abject lameness of the name. It’s the fact this game has had several awesome names.
It began life as the Copper Bowl. At one point, it was the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl — a perfect sponsorship for a football game. After that, it was known as the Cactus Bowl. And finally, the Cheez-It Bowl.
All wonderful choices.
But when the Cheez-It Bowl name was transferred to Orlando to replace the Camping World Bowl, Phoenix got stuck with Guaranteed Rate.
At least history tells us nothing can go wrong when you invest in bowl sponsorships and potential housing bubbles.
2. ReliaQuest Bowl (2023)
We’ve been over what makes this such an unbearably lame name. The only stunner is that it isn’t the WOAT. (That’s Worst of All-Time, if you hadn’t gathered.)
1. MicronPC.com Bowl (1999-2000)
Remember the Blockbuster Bowl? This game was its most horrific offspring.
After determining that merely calling it the Micron PC Bowl was not enough, game sponsors threw in the .com for the next 2 years. The internet was very novel back then. People still called it “the web.” And companies felt an urgency to let you know where to find them on the web.
Appropriately, given the overall state of the program, the most impressive bowl win in Illinois history took place at the MicronPC.com Bowl. The Illini racked up 611 yards in a 63-21 win over Virginia in 1999. (In a weird bit of serendipity, the following Illinois season ended with a 61-23 loss to Northwestern.)
The Micron sponsorship ended when the game relocated from Miami to Orlando in 2001. (Where it has rebounded strongly as the Cheez-It Bowl.)
But Micron wasn’t out of the bowl naming game just yet. From 2004-06, the rebranded MPC Computers took sponsorship of the Humanitarian Bowl. The game was simply known as the MPC Computers Bowl. Still lame, but less embarrassing than having a .com tagged on.
So after sponsoring a couple bowl games, business must be booming for Micron, right?
The company ceased operations on Dec. 31, 2008.
Fittingly, 5 bowl games were played that day. Even more fittingly, 1 of those games is considered the worst bowl game ever played — Oregon State’s 3-0 win over Pitt in the Brut Sun Bowl. Perhaps it was a 20-punt salute to the legacy of the worst-named bowl game of all-time.