On this sports heavy Sunday we return with Madtown Badger’s College Sports Bucket List. Today we’ll be looking at one of the most tradition heavy games in college football.

No. 86 - The Orange Bowl (FBS Football)

Since starting as the “Palm Festival Game” in 1933, the Orange Bowl has grown in to one of College Football’s most beloved games. The first “Orange Bowl” was played on January 1st, 1935. Since then, the modern Orange Bowl has been played 78 times, making it College Football’s 2nd oldest game. The game has been played annually since the first game in 1935, where Bucknell took down Miami 26-0. 

Orange BowlSince the BCS’ birth in 1998, the Orange Bowl has hosted three national championship games, played in 2001, 2005, and 2009. In today’s BCS format, the ACC Champion (assuming they’re not ranked #1 or #2) faces off against a team with an at-large bid. The game is played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The most recent Orange Bowl was played on January 4th, 2012, when West Virginia defeated Clemson 70-33 in a game which set many records.

Arguably the most memorable Orange Bowl game was the 1965 game between #1 ranked Alabama and Texas. The game was the first ever college bowl game to be played at night and broadcasted on prime-time television. After the Longhorns took a big lead, Alabama put in backup Joe Namath, who led Alabama all the way back to within one score. In the final minute of the game, Texas led Alabama 21-17 with the Crimson Tide in scoring distance. Texas stuffed Alabama on three straight goal-line runs, the last being a Namath QB sneak. Many people believed that Namath was in the end zone, but the refs called him just short, crushing the Crimson Tide’s championship season and giving Texas the 21-17 upset victory.

Another one of the greatest Orange Bowl games was the 1984 matchup between the seemingly un-beatable, undefeated Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Miami Hurricanes. The upset-minded Hurricanes jumped out to a early 17-0 lead, shocking the football world. The Huskers fought back to bring the score to 17-14 at half. Miami came out strong once again, controlling the game with a 31-17 lead late in the 3rd. The Huskers again fought back and a late touchdown on 4th and 8 made it 31-30 Miami. Nebraska coach Tom Osborne had a decision to make. A tie would virtually guarantee the Huskers the title with the two teams behind them both struggling. Osborne decided to go for two to win the game and complete a undefeated national championship season. With the game on the line, Freshman QB Turner Gill’s pass was batted down by Kenny Calhoun, giving Miami the 31-30 victory. Later the Hurricanes would soar in the polls to finish #1 and claim their first Championship.

The Orange Bowl is a game a lot of teams and players dream of playing in. Each year, every ACC team sets a goal to make it to Miami. There’s something about the Orange Bowl that makes it so special. Maybe it’s the Miami sun, the warm night games, or the lights of Sun Light Stadium. Whatever it is, the Orange Bowl holds special memories in the minds of hardcore college football fans and for that it lands on our bucket lis.