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The Liberty Bowl is an annual American college football bowl game played in late December or early January since 1959. For its first five years, it was played at Philadelphia Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia before being held at Atlantic City (New Jersey) Convention Hall in 1964. Since 1965, the game has been held at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. Because of the scheduling of the bowl game near the end of the calendar year, no game was played during calendar years 2008 or 2015, while two games were played in calendar years 2010 and 2016.

Liberty Bowl
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Auto Zone Liberty Bowl logo.png
StadiumLiberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
LocationMemphis, Tennessee
Previous stadiumsPhiladelphia Municipal Stadium (1959–1963)
Convention Hall (1964)
Previous locationsPhiladelphia (1959–1963)
Atlantic City, New Jersey (1964)
Operated1959–present
Conference tie-insBig 12 #4 Pick[1] vs SEC Pool Pick[2]
The American (alternate)[3]
Previous conference tie-insC-USA (1996–2013)
MWC (1998–2005)
winner of the Commander in Chief's Trophy (1989–1992)
PayoutUS$2,400,000[4] (As of 2014)
Sponsors
St. Jude (1993–1996)
AXA Financial (1997–2003)
AutoZone (2004–present)
Former names
Liberty Bowl (1959–1992)
St. Jude Liberty Bowl (1993–1996)
AXA Liberty Bowl (1997–2003)
2018 matchup
Missouri vs. Oklahoma State (OSU 38–33)
2019 matchup
Big 12 vs. SEC (December 31, 2019)

Since 2004, the game has been sponsored by Memphis-based auto parts retailer AutoZone and officially known as the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Previous sponsors include St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (1993–1996) and AXA Financial (1997–2003).

HistoryEdit

A. F. "Bud" Dudley, a former Villanova athletic director, created the Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia in 1959. The game was played at Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium. It was the only cold-weather bowl game of its time, and was plagued by poor attendance. The inaugural game was the most successful of the five held in Philadelphia, as 38,000 fans watched Penn State beat Alabama 7–0 in 1959.

A group of Atlantic City businessmen convinced Dudley to move his game from Philadelphia to Atlantic City's Convention Hall for 1964 and guaranteed Dudley $25,000.[5] It would be the first major (University Division, now Division I) bowl game played indoors. AstroTurf was still in its developmental stages and was unavailable for the game. Convention Hall was equipped with a 4-inch-thick (100 mm) grass surface with two inches of burlap underneath it (as padding) on top of concrete. To keep the grass growing, artificial lighting was installed and kept on 24 hours a day. The entire process cost about $16,000. End-zones were only 8 yards long. 6,059 fans saw Utah rout West Virginia. Dudley was paid $25,000 from Atlantic City businessmen, $60,000 from the gate, and $95,000 from television revenues, and cleared $10,000 net profit.[6]

Dudley moved the game to Memphis in 1965, where it has made its home at what became Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to much larger crowds and has established itself as one of the oldest non-BCS bowls.

MatchupEdit

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Liberty Bowl offered an automatic invitation to the winner of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, if that team was bowl eligible.[7] Due to the general lack of power of service academy football during this era, the only academy team ever actually to appear in the Liberty Bowl as a result of this arrangement was Air Force, which appeared in three consecutive games, 1989–1991.

Beginning in 1996, the Liberty Bowl began an affiliation with the newly launched Conference USA, offering its champion an automatic bid. Beginning in 2005, the winner of C-USA was determined by the newly created C-USA championship game. The winner of that game was customarily offered the bowl berth from 2005–2013.

In 1996 and 1997, the opponent for the C-USA champion was a team from the Big East. In 1998, the Liberty Bowl replaced the Holiday Bowl in a shared contract with the Cotton Bowl and had second choice between the WAC champion and a team from the SEC. From 1999 to 2005, the opponent for the C-USA champion was the Mountain West champion. There were two exceptions:

In 1999, the Mountain West Conference did not have an outright champion, as three teams tied for the conference lead. The conference's bid for the game was given to Colorado State.

The bowl's contract from 2006 until 2013 pitted the winner of the C-USA championship game against the eighth pick from the SEC. The American was to provide its fifth-place team as an alternate if the SEC could not provide a team. The SEC was also given veto power for the bowl, and elected to use it in 2011 to block C-USA champion Southern Miss from playing Vanderbilt; instead Cincinnati got the spot and Southern Miss accepted an invitation to the 2011 Hawaii Bowl instead.[8][9]

Since 2014, the matchup features a team from the SEC against the #4 pick from the Big 12 Conference. The Liberty Bowl is part of a six-bowl SEC pool arrangement that also involves the Belk, Music City, Outback, TaxSlayer, and Texas bowls; these bowls will choose one representative from the conference each, while the College Football Playoff receiving first choice (usually the Sugar Bowl in years it does not serve as a national semifinal) and the Citrus Bowl second choice.

The game is televised nationally on ESPN, and is carried nationwide by ESPN Radio, and internationally by ESPN International.

Recent matchups of noteEdit

The 2010 win by UCF was the program's first-ever bowl victory.

The 2011 game matched Coaches' Poll #24 ranked Cincinnati against upstart Vanderbilt, and unlike most lower tier bowls, it aired on the broadcast network ABC rather than its cable brethren ESPN. Cincinnati defeated Vanderbilt in a second-half comeback.

The 2012 Liberty Bowl featured an unusual rematch of a regular season game between the Iowa State Cyclones (9th place in the Big 12) and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Conference USA champions).[10] Iowa State defeated Tulsa 38–23 in the season's first weekend, however Tulsa defeated Iowa State 31–17 in the Liberty Bowl.[10] Though the bowl normally selects a team from the SEC, it invited Iowa State because the SEC did not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all of its contracted bowl games.[11]

Game resultsEdit

Rankings are based on the AP Poll prior to the game being played.

 
Boise State and Louisville square off in the 2004 Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee.
Date Played Winning Team Losing Team Attnd. Notes
December 19, 1959 No. 12 Penn State 7 No. 10 Alabama 0 36,211 notes
December 20, 1960 No. 16 Penn State 41 Oregon 12 16,624 notes
December 16, 1961 No. 14 Syracuse 15 Miami (Florida) 14 15,712 notes
December 15, 1962 Oregon State 6 Villanova 0 17,048 notes
December 21, 1963 Mississippi State 16 NC State 12 8,309 notes
December 19, 1964 Utah 32 West Virginia 6 6,059 notes
December 18, 1965 Ole Miss 13 Auburn 7 38,607 notes
December 10, 1966 No. 9 Miami (Florida) 14 Virginia Tech 7 39,101 notes
December 16, 1967 NC State 14 Georgia 7 35,045 notes
December 14, 1968 Ole Miss 34 Virginia Tech 17 46,206 notes
December 13, 1969 Colorado 47 Alabama 33 50,042 notes
December 12, 1970 Tulane 17 Colorado 3 44,640 notes
December 20, 1971 No. 9 Tennessee 14 No. 18 Arkansas 13 51,410 notes
December 18, 1972 Georgia Tech 31 Iowa State 30 50,021 notes
December 17, 1973 No. 16 NC State 31 No. 19 Kansas 18 50,011 notes
December 16, 1974 Tennessee 7 No. 10 Maryland 3 51,284 notes
December 22, 1975 USC 20 No. 2 Texas A&M 0 52,129 notes
December 20, 1976 No. 16 Alabama 36 No. 7 UCLA 6 52,736 notes
December 19, 1977 No. 12 Nebraska 21 No. 14 North Carolina 17 49,456 notes
December 23, 1978 No. 18 Missouri 20 LSU 15 53,064 notes
December 22, 1979 Penn State 9 No. 15 Tulane 6 50,021 notes
December 27, 1980 No. 16 Purdue 28 Missouri 25 35,667 notes
December 30, 1981 No. 15 Ohio State 31 Navy 28 43,216 notes
December 29, 1982 Alabama 21 Illinois 15 54,123 notes
December 29, 1983 Notre Dame 19 No. 13 Boston College 18 47,071 notes
December 27, 1984 No. 16 Auburn 21 Arkansas 15 50,180 notes
December 27, 1985 Baylor 21 No. 12 LSU 7 40,186 notes
December 29, 1986 Tennessee 21 Minnesota 14 51,327 notes
December 29, 1987 No. 15 Georgia 20 Arkansas 17 53,249 notes
December 28, 1988 Indiana 34 South Carolina 10 39,210 notes
December 29, 1989 Ole Miss 42 Air Force 29 60,128 notes
December 27, 1990 Air Force 23 No. 24 Ohio State 11 39,262 notes
December 29, 1991 Air Force 38 Mississippi State 15 61,497 notes
December 31, 1992 No. 20 Ole Miss 13 Air Force 0 32,107 notes
December 28, 1993 No. 25 Louisville 18 Michigan State 7 34,216 notes
December 31, 1994 Illinois 30 East Carolina 0 33,280 notes
December 30, 1995 East Carolina 19 Stanford 13 47,398 notes
December 27, 1996 No. 23 Syracuse 30 Houston 17 49,163 notes
December 31, 1997 Southern Miss 41 Pittsburgh 7 50,209 notes
December 31, 1998 No. 10 Tulane 41 BYU 27 52,192 notes
December 31, 1999 No. 16 Southern Miss 23 Colorado State 17 54,866 notes
December 29, 2000 No. 23 Colorado State 22 No. 22 Louisville 17 58,302 notes
December 31, 2001 No. 23 Louisville 28 No. 19 BYU 10 58,968 notes
December 31, 2002 TCU 17 No. 23 Colorado State 3 55,207 notes
December 31, 2003 No. 25 Utah 17 Southern Miss 0 55,989 notes
December 31, 2004 No. 7 Louisville 44 No. 10 Boise State 40 58,355 notes
December 31, 2005 Tulsa 31 Fresno State 24 54,894 notes
December 29, 2006 South Carolina 44 Houston 36 56,103 notes
December 29, 2007 Mississippi State 10 Central Florida 3 63,816 notes
January 2, 2009 Kentucky 25 East Carolina 19 56,125 notes
January 2, 2010 Arkansas 20 East Carolina 17 62,742 notes
December 31, 2010 Central Florida 10 Georgia 6 51,231 notes
December 31, 2011 Cincinnati 31 Vanderbilt 24 57,103 notes
December 31, 2012 Tulsa 31 Iowa State 17 53,687 notes
December 31, 2013 Mississippi State 44 Rice 7 57,846 notes
December 29, 2014 Texas A&M 45 West Virginia 37 51,282 notes
January 2, 2016 Arkansas 45 Kansas State 23 61,136 notes
December 30, 2016 Georgia 31 TCU 23 51,087 notes
December 30, 2017 Iowa State 21 No. 18 Memphis 20 57,266 notes
December 31, 2018 Oklahoma State 38 No. 24 Missouri 33 51,587 notes

Source: [12]:67, 70

MVPsEdit

Source: [12]:68

Most appearancesEdit

Updated through the December 2018 edition (60 games, 120 total appearances).

Teams with multiple appearances
Teams with a single appearance

Won (11): Baylor, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Purdue, USC
Lost (18): Boise State, Boston College, Fresno State, Kansas, Kansas State, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan State, Minnesota, Navy, North Carolina, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Rice, Stanford, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Villanova
Source: [12]:69

Appearances by conferenceEdit

Updated through the December 2018 edition (60 games, 120 total appearances).

Rank Conference Games W–L Win pct.
1 SEC 30 20–10 .667
2 Independents 21 10–11 .476
3 C-USA 17 10–7 .588
T4 Big Ten 8 4–4 .500
T4 WAC 8 3–5 .375
6 Big Eight 7 3–4 .429
7 Big 12 6 2–4 .333
T8 ACC 5 2–3 .400
T8 Mountain West 5 2–3 .400
T8 SWC 5 1–4 .200
T11 Big East 3 2–1 .667
T11 Pac-10 3 1–2 .333
T13 The American 1 0–1 .000
T13 So-Con 1 0–1 .000
  TOTAL 120 60–60  
Every SEC member except Florida has played in the game. All told, 44 of the 64 current Power Five conferences' members have played in the game.

Media coverageEdit

The inaugural Liberty Bowl in 1959 was televised by NBC, followed by ABC for 11 years. Between 1981 and 1988, the game was broadcast by several different networks. Since 1990, the game has been broadcast annually by ABC or ESPN.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Liberty Bowl teams with Big 12". ESPN.com. Associated Press. August 23, 2013.
  2. ^ libertydev. "AutoZone Liberty Bowl". www.libertybowl.org. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  3. ^ "American Athletic Conference - American Athletic Conference Announces 2014-19 Bowl Lineup". theamerican.org. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  4. ^ "AutoZone Liberty Bowl doubling payout in new deal with SEC". Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  5. ^ Mazda, Jason (Dec 31, 2014). "50 years ago, indoor college football debuted in Atlantic City". Press of Atlantic City.
  6. ^ Antonick, John (2005-06-22). "Unique Game". West Virginia Mountaineers. MSNsportsNET.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  7. ^ Cavanaugh, Jack (1989-11-12). "COLLEGE FOOTBALL; Boston College Surprises Army". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  8. ^ UCF Knights news, scores & more for the University of Central Florida - Orlando Sentinel Archived 2011-12-07 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ John (27 April 2010). "JSilver's UConn blog: Big East Bowl lineup complete". Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  10. ^ a b Chatmon, Brandon (2012-12-02). "AutoZone Liberty Bowl". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  11. ^ Higgins, Ron (2012-12-02). "Tulsa, Iowa State land in Liberty Bowl; Rebels to Birmingham". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  12. ^ a b c "60th Liberty Bowl Media Guide". libertybowl.org. 2018. Retrieved December 31, 2018 – via Google Docs.

External linksEdit