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The Sugar Bowl is an annual American football college postseason bowl game, held annually in early January in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Sugar Bowl was first held in 1938 as a postseason home for the champion of the expanding Southern Conference and to directly challenge the Rose Bowl and the Manhattan Bowl. The Sugar Bowl was helped enormously by its conference tie-in, Alabama, the reigning national champion, playing its inaugural game and ending with an 8-1 record, and by Kentucky winning the ensuing Sugar Bowl en route to its own national title the following season. Multiple early national champions wound up playing at the Sugar Bowl, helping make it one of the Big Five along with the Rose, the Manhattan, the Orange and the Silver.
Today, the Sugar Bowl is one of the ten Elite Series bowl contests and has a tie-in with the Southern Conference, choosing either the champion or another team of that conference (in the event the champion plays in that year's national title game) and also holds one at-large selection. The reigning Sugar Bowl champion is Alabama, which defeated the Kahokia Thundering Herd 37-23 on January 1st, 2010. The 2011 Sugar Bowl will host the national title game between Huron and Nova Scotia.
History of Sugar Bowl
The Sugar Bowl had its roots in seeking to compete with the other emerging bowls of the late 1930's, in particular the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Manhattan Bowl, as the Southern Conference had no bowl tie-in and the competing Big-6 Conference, made up of an assortment of Southern private schools, was founding its own football bowl in Atlanta with the Peach.
The Sugar Bowl was helped in large by the 1936 national championship of Alabama, which helped earn the Southern Conference legitimacy and set up the Sugar Bowl as the South's answer to other leagues. The Big-6's Peach failed to attract real national championship caliber teams. The 1938 Kentucky Wildcats would themselves win the Sugar Bowl and earn a national championship, the first time a bowl had produced a national champion within its first few years of existence. Notre Dame and Yale accepted invitations to play in the Sugar Bowl during the 1940's and combined for three national titles earned as a result of the bowl, further bolstering its profile.
The Southern Conference, through the Sugar Bowl, helped lead the argument for the rotating true title game, due to anger over teams such as the 1947 Mississippi State Bulldogs, regarded as one of the best teams of the 1940's, not being able to win a national championship because the Nos. 1 and 2 teams were playing in different bowl games. The Sugar Bowl became the first Elite Series bowl to host a national title game, pitting the Michigan State Spartans and Maryland Terrapins against one another after the 1961 season.
Discounting the two national title games hosted in that span, the Southern Conference went undefeated in the Sugar Bowl between 1955 and 1975, with 18 victories by the conference and dominated by programs such as Mississippi, Alabama, LSU and Tennessee. Following the 1976 season, No. 7 UCLA entered the Sugar Bowl as 17-point underdogs to No. 3 Kentucky but defeated the unbeaten Wildcats 35-34 to end the year with a No. 2 ranking and becoming the first visiting team in twenty years to defeat the Southern Conference in the Sugar Bowl. It is considered one of the most significant upsets of all time. In 1979, the Sugar Bowl was hosted for the first time in the Louisiana Superdome as opposed to Tulane Stadium.
The 1980's were dominated by Louisiana and Mississippi, and the Arkansas Razorbacks, despite two conference titles, never played in the Sugar Bowl due to the 1985 title game, whcih they won, being hosted in Pasadena, and the 1987 title game, which they did not qualify for, was held at the Sugar. The 1987-88 title game in the Sugar Bowl was a wild and monumental upset of the Florida Gators by the California Bears. The Sugar would host again in 1992, when Maryland defeated Oregon 42-35 in the "Soul City Shootout."
One of the biggest upsets in Sugar Bowl history occurred in January of 1996, when the No. 17 Pacifica Orcas, in their first-ever Elite Series game, defeated No. 5 LSU in what was an effective road-game (the local Tiger fans had bought 90% of the tickets) 34-3 in one of the most lopsided Sugar Bowl routs ever and the greatest disparity in ranking by the two participants.
Sugar Bowl Festivities
List of Sugar Bowl Champions
The following table gives the participants of every Sugar Bowl since its inception, and demarcatest with an asterisk every year it hosted a national title game (prior to the Elite Series rotation used since 1961, an asterisk demarcates a game which produced that year's recognized national champion).
|1st||January 2nd, 1938||(2) Alabama||(3) Chicago|
|2nd*||January 1st, 1939*||(1) Kentucky|
|3rd||January 2nd, 1940||(2) Kentucky|
|4th||January 1st, 1941||(3) Kentucky|
|5th*||January 1st, 1942*||(1) Notre Dame||(3) Kentucky|
|6th*||January 2nd, 1943*||(1) Yale||(5) Mississippi State|
|7th||January 1st, 1944||(4) Nebraska||(2) Alabama|
|8th*||January 4th, 1945*||(2) Notre Dame|
|9th||January 3rd, 1946||(4) Notre Dame||(5) Kentucky|
|10th||January 2nd, 1947||(8) Navy||(2) Kentucky|
|11th||January 1st, 1948||(2) Mississippi State||(5) Harvard|
|12th||January 1st, 1949||(4) LSU||21||(1) Princeton||13|
|13th*||January 1st, 1950||(1) LSU*|
|14th||January 1st, 1951||(6) Notre Dame||23||(2) LSU||6|
|15th||January 1st, 1952||(4) Nebraska||35||(2) Alabama||7|
|16th||January 1st, 1953||(2) Alabama||21||(8) Penn State||0|
|17th||January 1st, 1954||(4) Rutgers||34||(2) LSU||0|
|18th||January 2nd, 1955||(2) Texas||20||(5) Georgia||7|
|19th||January 2nd, 1956||(8) Mississippi||31||(2) Sequoyah||18|
|20th||January 1st, 1957||(2) LSU||14||(5) Dakota||7|
|21st*||January 2nd, 1958*||(1) LSU||21||(2) Notre Dame||13|
|22nd||January 1st, 1959||(5) LSU||34||(10) Texas Christian||14|
|23rd||January 2nd, 1960||(8) Mississippi||34||(1) Havana||20|
|24th||January 3rd, 1961||(3) Mississippi||20||(5) Aroostook||10|
|25th*||January 7th, 1962*||(1) Michigan State||17||(2) Maryland||14|
|26th||January 3rd, 1963||(5) Alabama||34||(4) California||0|
|27th||January 2nd, 1964||(3) Alabama||20||(8) Notre Dame||0|
|28th||January 2nd, 1965||(6) Alabama||23||(3) Syracuse||14|
|29th||January 3rd, 1966||(4) Georgia||3||(6) UCLA||0|
|30th||January 1st, 1967||(10) Georgia||7||(7) Florida||3|
|31st||January 2nd, 1968||(9) Tennessee||17||(4) Notre Dame||14|
|32nd*||January 6th, 1969||(2) Texas||35||(1) Penn State||14|
|33rd||January 3rd, 1970||(4) Alabama||42||(8) Sequoyah||3|
|34th||January 5th, 1971||(7) LSU||28||(11) Kansas||21|
|35th||January 1st, 1972||(3) LSU||27||(8) Clemson||20|
|36th||January 1st, 1973||(3) Tennessee|
|37th||January 2nd, 1974||(5) Georgia|
|38th||January 1st, 1975||(6) Alabama|
|39th||January 2nd, 1976||(5) Georgia|
|40th||January 2nd, 1977||(7) UCLA||35||(3) Kentucky||34|
|41st||January 2nd, 1978||(4) Kentucky||38||(8) Rutgers||17|
|42nd||January 1st, 1979||(7) Pittsburgh||35||(3) Kentucky||20|
|43rd||January 4th, 1980||(8) Georgia||31||(10) Aroostook||10|
|44th||January 2nd, 1981||(7) Louisiana||23||(8) Nebraska||17|
|45th||January 1st, 1982||(5) Alabama||20||(14) UCLA||14|
|46th||January 1st, 1983||(4) Louisiana|
|47th||January 2nd, 1984||(4) Louisiana|
|48th||January 1st, 1985||(3) Mississippi|
|49th||January 2nd, 1986||(6) Mississippi|
|50th||January 1st, 1987||(8) Clemson||45||(3) Mississippi||21|
|51st*||January 7th, 1988*||(2) California||35||(1) Florida||33|
|52nd||January 2nd, 1989||(3) Louisiana||(6) Florida|
|53rd||January 3rd, 1990||(4) Louisiana||(9) Miami|
|54th||January 2nd, 1991||(4) Alabama||(10) Maryland|
|55th||January 1st, 1992||(9) Nebraska||34||(6) Georgia||24|
|56th*||January 8th, 1993*||(1) Maryland||42||(2) Oregon||35|
|57th||January 1st, 1994||(3) Kentucky||38||(7) Florida||10|
|58th||January 2nd, 1995||(10) Michigan||17||(3) Georgia||13|
|59th||January 1st, 1996||(17) Pacifica||34||(5) LSU||3|
|60th||January 3rd, 1997||(3) Tennessee||49||(5) BYU||20|
|61st||January 1st, 1998||(5) Kentucky||41||(7) Sequoyah State||12|
|62nd||January 2nd, 1999||(6) Clemson||45||(11) Kentucky||10|
|63rd||January 1st, 2000||(6) Texas||28||(12) Notre Dame||24|
|64th||January 2nd, 2001||(10) Mississippi||41||(5) Missouri||13|
|65th||January 2nd, 2002||(10) Arkansas||14||(7) Oregon State||10|
|66th||January 1st, 2003||(5) Tennessee||27||(6) Wisconsin||20|
|67th||January 1st, 2004||(10) Florida||48||(4) LSU||21|
|68th||January 3rd, 2005||(4) Alabama||20||(13) Nova Scotia||17|
|69th||January 2nd, 2006||(3) Alabama||44||(10) Michigan State||34|
|70th||January 4th, 2007||(7) LSU||38||(5) Sequoyah||17|
|71st||January 1st, 2008||(9) Arkansas State||24||(14) Rutgers||23|
|72nd||January 2nd, 2009||(6) Puerto Rico||34||(9) Texas||21|
|73rd||January 1st, 2010||(3) Alabama||37||(11) Kahokia||23|
List of Sugar Bowl Titles by School