Citrus Bowl

The Citrus Bowl is an annual college football bowl game played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.[2] The bowl is operated by Florida Citrus Sports, a non-profit group that also organizes the Camping World Bowl and Florida Classic.

Citrus Bowl
Vrbo Citrus Bowl
StadiumCamping World Stadium
LocationOrlando, Florida
Previous stadiumsFlorida Field (1973)
Previous locationsGainesville, Florida (1973)
Conference tie-insBig Ten, SEC
Previous conference tie-insOVC (1948–1967)
MAC (1968–1975)
SoCon (1968–1972)
SEC (1972–1973)
ACC (1987–1991)
PayoutUS$8,224,578 (2019 season)[1]
Florida Citrus Growers Association (1983–2002)
CompUSA (1994–1999) (2000)
Capital One (2001–2014)
Buffalo Wild Wings (2015–2017)
Overton's (2018)
HomeAway (2019-)
Former names
Tangerine Bowl (1947–1982)
Florida Citrus Bowl (1983–1993)
CompUSA Florida Citrus Bowl (1994–1999) Florida Citrus Bowl (2000)
Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl (2001–2002)
Capital One Bowl (2003–2014)
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl (2015–2017)
Citrus Bowl presented by Overton's (2018)
2018 season matchup
Penn State vs. Kentucky (Kentucky 27–24)
2019 season matchup
Michigan vs. Alabama (January 1, 2020)

The game was first played as the Tangerine Bowl in 1947 before being renamed as the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1983. When Capital One was the game's title sponsor between 2001 and 2014, the game was referred to simply as the Capital One Bowl from 2003 to 2014. Other previous sponsors include CompUSA (1994–1999), (2000), and Buffalo Wild Wings (2015–2017) and Overton's (2018). Presently, it is being sponsored by Vrbo, a vacation rental marketplace, and is known as the Vrbo Citrus Bowl.

Since becoming one of the premier bowls, the Citrus Bowl is typically played at 1 p.m. EST on New Year's Day, immediately before the Rose Bowl, both of which have been televised on ESPN since 2011. When January 1 is a Sunday, the game has been played on January 2 or December 31, to avoid conflicting with the National Football League schedule. As of 2019, at $8.55 million per team,[3] it has the largest payout of all the non-College Football Playoff (CFP) bowls. In nearly every year since 1985, the game has featured two teams ranked in the Top 25.


The game, which began play in 1947, is one of the oldest of the non-CFP bowls, along with the Gator Bowl and Sun Bowl. By 1952, the game was dubbed the "Little Bowl with the Big Heart", because all the proceeds from the game went to charity.

Before 1968, the game featured matchups between schools throughout the South, often featuring the Ohio Valley Conference champion or other small colleges, although a few major colleges did play in the bowl during this early era as well.

From 1964 through 1967, it was one of the four regional finals in the College Division (which became Division II and Division III in 1973), along with the Pecan, Grantland Rice, and Camellia bowls.

In 1968, the Boardwalk Bowl in Atlantic City took over as a regional final, and the Tangerine Bowl became a major college bowl game, featuring teams from the University Division (which became Division I in 1973).

In 1986, it was one of the bowl games considered for the site of the "winner take all" national championship game between Penn State and Miami, before the Fiesta Bowl was eventually chosen.

The 1990 season game had national championship implications; Georgia Tech won the Florida Citrus Bowl, finished 11–0–1, and was voted the 1990 UPI national champion.

The 1997 season game, which featured nearby Florida beating Penn State, holds the game's attendance record at 72,940.

In 2004, the bowl bid to become the fifth BCS game, but was not chosen, primarily due to the stadium's aging condition. In July 2007, the Orange County Commissioners voted in favor of spending $1.1 billion to build the Amway Center for the Orlando Magic, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and to upgrade the Citrus Bowl stadium.

Following the 2014 game, Capital One ceased its sponsorship of the bowl, and moved its sponsorship to the Orange Bowl.[4] Buffalo Wild Wings was announced as the new title sponsor of the bowl game in 2014. Buffalo Wild Wings had previously been the title sponsor of what is now the Cactus Bowl.[5] In the offseason of 2017, Buffalo Wild Wings ceased sponsoring the bowl as the search for a new sponsor is ongoing.

The 2016 season game was played on December 31, the first time in 30 years that the game was not played on January 1 or 2nd.

Conference tie-ins

From 1968 through 1975, the bowl featured the Mid-American Conference (MAC) champion against an opponent from the Southern Conference (1968–1971), the Southeastern Conference (SEC) (1973–1974), or an at-large opponent (1972, 1975). MAC teams were 6–2 during those games.

As the major football conferences relaxed restrictions on post-season play in the mid-1970s, the bowl went to a matchup between two at-large teams from major conferences, with one school typically (but not always) from the South.

From the 1987 season through the 1991 season, the bowl featured the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) champion against an at-large opponent. ACC teams were 3–2 during those games.

From the 1992 season through the 2015 season, the bowl featured an SEC vs. Big Ten matchup – the SEC won 14 of those games, while the Big Ten won 10.

During the 1990s, the second-place finisher in the SEC typically went to this bowl. Florida coach Steve Spurrier, speaking to the fact that Tennessee occupied that spot three of four years as Florida finished first, famously quipped "You can't spell 'Citrus' without U-T!"[6]

Currently, the bowl has tie-ins with the SEC and the Big Ten, holding the first selection after the CFP selection process for both conferences. Since the formation of the CFP, the Citrus Bowl has a chance to occasionally host an ACC team, replacing the Big Ten representative. This will happen the years in which the Orange Bowl is not a CFP semi-final game and selects a Big Ten team to match against their ACC team. This happened following the 2016 season, as the Orange Bowl was not a CFP semi-final and invited Michigan of the Big Ten to face Florida State of the ACC; the Citrus Bowl then invited Louisville of the ACC to face LSU of the SEC.[7] The next year, Wisconsin was invited to the Orange Bowl, so the SEC's LSU was pitted against Notre Dame, who received an invite in lieu of an ACC team.

Racial integration

The undefeated 1955 Hillsdale College football team refused an invitation to the game when bowl officials insisted that Hillsdale's four African-American players would not be allowed to play in the game.[8][9]

The University at Buffalo's first bowl bid was to the Tangerine Bowl in 1958. The Tangerine Bowl Commission hoped that the Orlando High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), which operated the stadium, would waive its rule that prohibited integrated sporting events. When it refused, the team unanimously voted to skip the bowl because its two black players (halfback Willie Evans and end Mike Wilson) would not have been allowed on the field.[10] Buffalo would not be bowl-eligible for another 50 years. During the 2008 season, when the Bulls were on the verge of bowl eligibility, the 1958 team was profiled on ESPN's Outside the Lines.[11][12] The 2008 team went on to win the Mid-American Conference title, and played in the International Bowl.

By 1966, the OHSAA's rule had been changed, and Morgan State of Baltimore, under head coach Earl Banks, became the first historically black college to play in (and win) the Tangerine Bowl.[13]


In early 1973, construction improvements were planned for the then 17,000-seat Tangerine Bowl stadium to expand to over 51,000 seats. In early summer 1973, however, construction was stalled due to legal concerns, and the improvements were delayed. Late in the 1973 season, Tangerine Bowl President Will Gieger and other officials planned to invite the Miami Redskins and the East Carolina Pirates to Orlando for the game. On November 19, 1973, East Carolina withdrew its interests, and the bowl was left with one at-large bid. In an unexpected and unprecedented move, game officials decided to invite the Florida Gators, and move the game to Florida Field in Gainesville, the Gators' home stadium. The larger stadium would be needed to accommodate the large crowd expected. The move required special permission from the NCAA, and special accommodations were made. Both teams would be headquartered in Orlando for the week, and spend most of their time there, including practices, and would be bused up to Gainesville.

The participants were greeted with an unexpected event, a near-record low temperature of 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius). Despite the home-field advantage, in the game nicknamed the "Transplant Bowl",[14] Miami University (OH), who found the cold much more to its liking, defeated the Gators 16–7. One of the players on the victorious Redskins squad was future Gators coach Ron Zook.

The one-time moving of the game, and the fears of a permanent relocation, rejuvenated the stalled stadium renovations in Orlando. The game returned to Orlando for 1974, and within a couple of years, the expansion project was complete.

Mascot Challenge

The "Capital One Mascot Challenge" (formerly known as the "Capital One National Mascot of the Year") was a contest where fans voted for their favorite college mascot. The contest began in 2002 with the winner being named during the halftime; the winning school was awarded $20,000 towards their mascot program. With the ending of Capital One's sponsorship of the Citrus Bowl, the challenge was moved in 2014 to the Orange Bowl with Capital One's sponsorship of that game.

The most recent Mascot Challenge was held in 2014, and it is unknown if it will resume.

List of Capital One Mascot Challenge winners 
Season Mascot University
2002 Monte University of Montana
2003 Cocky University of South Carolina
2004 Monte University of Montana
2005 Herbie Husker University of Nebraska–Lincoln
2006 Butch T. Cougar Washington State University
2007 Zippy University of Akron
2008 Cy the Cardinal Iowa State University
2009 The Bearcat University of Cincinnati
2010 Big Blue Old Dominion University
2011 Wolfie Jr. University of Nevada, Reno
2012 Raider Red Texas Tech University
2013 Rocky the Bull University of South Florida
2014 Aubie Auburn University

Game results

Rankings are based on the AP Poll prior to the game being played. Italics denote a tie game.

No. Season Date played Winning team Losing team Attnd. Notes
11946January 1, 1947Catawba31Maryville69,000notes
21947January 1, 1948Catawba7Marshall09,000notes
31948January 1, 1949Murray State 21, Sul Ross State 219,000notes
41949January 2, 1950Saint Vincent7Emory & Henry69,500notes
51950January 1, 1951Morris Harvey35Emory & Henry1410,000notes
61951January 1, 1952Stetson35Arkansas State2012,500notes
71952January 1, 1953East Texas State33Tennessee Tech012,340notes
81953January 1, 1954Arkansas State 7, East Texas State 712,976notes
91954January 1, 1955Omaha7Eastern Kentucky612,759notes
101955January 2, 1956Juniata 6, Missouri Valley 610,000notes
Teams competing from both NCAA College & University divisions
111956January 1, 1957West Texas State20Mississippi Southern1311,000notes
121957January 1, 1958East Texas State10Mississippi Southern910,500notes
131958December 27, 1958East Texas State26Missouri Valley74,000notes
141959January 1, 1960Middle Tennessee21Presbyterian1212,500notes
151960December 30, 1960The Citadel27Tennessee Tech013,000notes
161961December 29, 1961Lamar21Middle Tennessee146,000notes
171962December 22, 1962Houston49Miami (OH)217,500notes
181963December 28, 1963Western Kentucky27Coast Guard07,500notes
NCAA College Division (Small College) East Regional Final
191964December 12, 1964East Carolina14Massachusetts138,000notes
201965December 11, 1965East Carolina31Maine08,350notes
211966December 10, 1966Morgan State14West Chester67,138notes
221967December 16, 1967Tennessee–Martin25West Chester85,500notes
NCAA University Division (Major College)
231968December 27, 1968Richmond49#15 Ohio4216,114notes
241969December 26, 1969#20 Toledo56Davidson3316,311notes
251970December 28, 1970#15 Toledo40William & Mary1215,664notes
261971December 28, 1971#14 Toledo28Richmond316,750notes
271972December 29, 1972Tampa21Kent State1820,062notes
NCAA Division I
281973December 22, 1973#15 Miami (OH)16Florida737,234notes
291974December 21, 1974#15 Miami (OH)21Georgia1020,246notes
301975December 20, 1975#12 Miami (OH)20South Carolina720,247notes
311976December 18, 1976#14 Oklahoma State49BYU2137,812notes
321977December 23, 1977#19 Florida State40Texas Tech1744,502notes
NCAA Division I-A
331978December 23, 1978NC State30Pittsburgh1731,356notes
341979December 22, 1979LSU34Wake Forest1038,666notes
351980December 20, 1980Florida35Maryland2052,541notes
361981December 19, 1981Missouri19#18 Southern Miss1750,045notes
371982December 18, 1982#18 Auburn33Boston College2651,296notes
381983December 17, 1983Tennessee30#16 Maryland2350,500notes
391984December 22, 1984Georgia 17, #15 Florida State 1751,821notes
401985December 28, 1985#17 Ohio State10#9 BYU750,920notes
411986January 1, 1987#10 Auburn16USC751,113notes
421987January 1, 1988#14 Clemson35#20 Penn State1053,152notes
431988January 2, 1989#9 Clemson13#10 Oklahoma653,571notes
441989January 1, 1990#11 Illinois31#16 Virginia2142,890notes
451990January 1, 1991#2 Georgia Tech45#19 Nebraska2173,328notes
461991January 1, 1992#14 California37#13 Clemson1364,192notes
471992January 1, 1993#8 Georgia21#15 Ohio State1465,861notes
481993January 1, 1994#13 Penn State31#6 Tennessee1372,456notes
491994January 2, 1995#6 Alabama24#13 Ohio State1771,195notes
501995January 1, 1996#3 Tennessee20#4 Ohio State1470,797notes
511996January 1, 1997#9 Tennessee48#11 Northwestern2863,467notes
521997January 1, 1998#6 Florida21#11 Penn State670,797notes
531998January 1, 1999#15 Michigan45#11 Arkansas3167,584notes
541999January 1, 2000#9 Michigan State37#10 Florida3462,011notes
552000January 1, 2001#17 Michigan31#20 Auburn2866,928notes
562001January 1, 2002#8 Tennessee45#17 Michigan1759,653notes
572002January 1, 2003#19 Auburn13#10 Penn State966,334notes
582003January 1, 2004#11 Georgia34#12 Purdue27 (OT)64,565notes
592004January 1, 2005#11 Iowa30#12 LSU2570,229notes
602005January 2, 2006#20 Wisconsin24#7 Auburn1057,221notes
NCAA Division I FBS
612006January 1, 2007#5 Wisconsin17#13 Arkansas1460,774notes
622007January 1, 2008Michigan41#12 Florida3569,748notes
632008January 1, 2009#15 Georgia24#18 Michigan State1259,681notes
642009January 1, 2010#11 Penn State19#15 LSU1763,025notes
652010January 1, 2011 #16 Alabama49#9 Michigan State761,519notes
662011January 2, 2012#9 South Carolina30#20 Nebraska1361,351notes
672012January 1, 2013#6 Georgia45#23 Nebraska3159,712notes
682013January 1, 2014#9 South Carolina34#19 Wisconsin2456,629notes
692014January 1, 2015#16 Missouri33#25 Minnesota1748,624notes
702015January 1, 2016#14 Michigan41#19 Florida763,113notes
712016December 31, 2016#20 LSU29#13 Louisville946,063notes
722017January 1, 2018#14 Notre Dame21#17 LSU1757,726notes
732018January 1, 2019#16 Kentucky27#13 Penn State2459,167notes
742019January 1, 2020#9 Alabama vs. #17 Michigannotes


Multiple players were recognized in some games – detail, where known, is denoted with B (outstanding back), L (outstanding lineman), O (outstanding offensive player), D (outstanding defensive player), or M (overall MVP) per contemporary newspaper reports.

Three players have been recognized in multiple games; Chuck Ealey of Toledo (1969, 1970, 1971), Brad Cousino of Miami (OH) (1973, 1974), and Anthony Thomas of Michigan (1999, 2001).

Most appearances

Only teams with at least three appearances are listed.

T1Penn State62–4
T8Miami (OH)43–1
T8Ohio State41–3
T10South Carolina32–1
T10Michigan State31–2
T10Southern Miss30–3

Includes two Southern Miss appearances under their former name, Mississippi Southern.

Appearances by conference

Note: this table reflects games played since 1968, when the bowl started hosting major college teams.
Updated through the January 2019 edition (51 games, 102 total appearances).

Rank Conference Appearances Wins Losses Ties Pct.
2Big Ten2812150.444
T6Big Eight4220.500
Records are based on a team's conference affiliation at the time the game was played.
For example, Penn State has appeared both as a Big Ten team and as an Independent team.

Game records

Note: When there is a tie, the most recent one will be listed.

Team Performance vs. Opponent Year
Most points scored (one team) 56, Toledo 1969
Most points scored (both teams) 91, Richmond vs. Ohio 1968
Most points scored (losing team) 42, Ohio 1968
Fewest points scored (winning team) 7, Omaha (tied with 2 others) 1955
Fewest points scored (both teams) 7, Catawba vs. Marshall 1948
Fewest points allowed 0, East Carolina (tied with 4 others) 1965
Largest margin of victory 42, Alabama 2011
Total yards
Rushing yards
Passing yards
First downs
Fewest yards allowed
Fewest rushing yards allowed
Fewest passing yards allowed
Individual Record, Player vs. Opponent Year
All-purpose yards
Touchdowns (overall)
Rushing yards
Rushing touchdowns
Passing yards
Passing touchdowns
Receiving yards
Receiving touchdowns
Long Plays Record, Player vs. Opponent Year
Touchdown run
Touchdown pass
Kickoff return
Punt return
Interception return
Fumble return
Field goal
Miscellaneous Record, Team vs. Team Year
Bowl Attendance

Media coverage

Most editions of the Citrus Bowl have been televised by ABC, who is the current broadcaster. ESPN televised the game in 2011 and 2012, NBC televised it in 1984 and 1985, and Mizlou televised it in 1979 and 1982. Broadcast information for the bowl's early years is incomplete.


  1. "2019 Bowl Schedule". Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  2. "Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl > Home". Archived from the original on 2014-10-23.
  3. "Bowl Game Payouts are Practically a Small Fortune in College Football". Fan Buzz College and Professional Sports News.
  4. "Capital One to sponsor Orange Bowl". Archived from the original on 2017-12-07.
  5. Repchak, Matt (21 October 2014). "Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl begins new era for Orlando's New Year's Day game". Florida Citrus Sports. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  6. Fuhrmeister, Chris (October 18, 2013). "The 14 best Steve Spurrier quotes of now and then". SB Nation. Archived from the original on March 7, 2017. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  7. Whaley, Anson (December 4, 2016). "Sorting out the ACC Bowl slotting mess, Pitt missed good chance to slide into elite bowl game". SB Nation. Archived from the original on March 7, 2017. Retrieved March 6, 2017 via
  8. "1955 Football Team". Archived from the original on January 16, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  9. Cramer, Dick (December 2, 1955). "Better Kind Of Glory". The Michigan Daily. Ann Arbor, Michigan. p. 4. Archived from the original on April 24, 2018. Retrieved March 3, 2017 via The Michigan Daily Digital Archives.
  10. "Race Bias Makes Lemon Of Tangerine Bowl Bid". New York Age. New York City. December 6, 1958. Archived from the original on April 24, 2018. Retrieved March 3, 2017 via
  11. Neal, Eric (2008). "All Or Nothing". ESPN. Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2008.
  12. "1958 Buffalo Football". hobbsbrother4. February 18, 2010. Archived from the original on October 27, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2017 via YouTube.
  13. Schmuck, Peter (December 25, 2015). "1966 Morgan State bowl team that broke barriers to be honored". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 2, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  14. Clark, Bill (December 22, 1973). "Temp Takes Miami Bounce So Put On The Woolies". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on April 24, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2017 via

Additional sources

  • Orlando Sentinel-Star (November 20, 1973); Various articles- Accessed via microfilm 01-03-2007.
Preceded by
Ford Field
Host of WrestleMania
Succeeded by
Reliant Stadium
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