Earlier today we gave you one of the most heated intra-state college football rivalries in "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate" and now, we give you one of college footballs classic bowl games. It's the 2nd BCS bowl game to appear on our list (the Orange Bowl was first).
No. 53: Sugarl Bowl (FBS Football):
Today the Sugar Bowl is simply one of the classic games on the college football and the United States sports calendar, however it was a game that nearly never was.
I'm guessing the names Colonel James M. Thomson and Fred Digby aren't commonly known but they should be celebrated names in college football circles as the Sugar Bowl was their creation - an idea that started in 1927 and pushed by the Publisher & Editor of the New Orleans Item.
The game itself didn't begin until 1935 (the same year as the Orange and Sun Bowls btw) at Tulane Stadium where none other than Tulane beat Temple 20-14 to start another New Years Day Tradition.
One of the most interesting things about this game is it's had it's controversial moments, none more so than the 1956 matchup between Pitt and Georgia Tech. Pitt featured star fullback and linebacker Bobby Grier, who happened to be black, and Georgia was in the midst of the deep south's opposition to anything integration. If it weren't for the the students of Georgia Tech and the outpouring of the community Grier wouldn't have even played in the game.
As it turned out that wasn't the end of the controversy for Grier, as he was called for a pass interference penalty on a Pitt touchdown that would've given them a 7-0 lead in the contest against the Yellow Jackets. However, the call was clearly incorrect as the game film showed and instead GT went on to win it 7-0.
Tulane Stadium played host to the Sugar Bowl from 1935 to 1975 when it moved over to the Superdome, which hosts the game to this day.
One of the most memorable games in Sugar Bowl history came following the 1992 season as the 1993 Sugar Bowl played host to Alabama vs. Miami, which was the National Championship game - a very rare feat to see #1 vs. #2 in the same bowl game for the time.
Miami came in overwhelming favorites, going for back-to-back undefeated seasons, and sporting the 1992 Heisman Trohpy winner in Gino Torretta at quarterback. They talked a ton of trash about the Alabama defense and it completely backfired as the name of George Teague became synonymous with the Sugar Bowl. He would lead the Tide defense in causing three interceptions, one of which he returned for a TD on the way to being named Sugar Bowl MVP, as 'Bama won 34-13 and became the unlikely National Champions.
Believe it or not, there's even been a tie in this game, coming in the 1988 matchup between Syracuse of the Big East and Auburn of the SEC. The game was between #4 and #6 respectively and ended a 16-16 defensive tie that allowed the Orange to finish the season undefeated.
To me this is the one bowl game that can even come close to being a rival to the Rose Bowl in terms of tradition. It's a bowl that's literally seen just about everything possible and is one of the more unpredictable games in college football year in and year out.