The Outback Bowl is an annual college football bowl game played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, usually on New Year's Day. The event was originally called the Hall of Fame Bowl from 1986 to 1994 until being renamed in 1995 for its new title sponsor, Outback Steakhouse. It is organized by the Tampa Bay Bowl Association under Jim McVay, who has been the president and CEO since 1988.


Cigar Bowl

The Outback Bowl was not Tampa's first bowl game; the Cigar Bowl was played at old Phillips Field near downtown from 1947 to 1954. However, the earlier event matched small college teams, so the Outback / Hall of Fame Bowl is the first major bowl game to be played in the area.

Hall of Fame Bowl

The Hall of Fame Classic was held at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, from 1977 to 1985. In the spring of 1986, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame decided to discontinue their association with the bowl and realign with a new bowl game to be played in Tampa Stadium which would inherit the Hall of Fame Bowl name. Initially, the Hall of Fame Bowl did not have agreements with any conferences, so it usually matched a school from either the Southeastern Conference or the Atlantic Coast Conference against a team from another region of the country.

Outback Bowl

Outback Steakhouse became the game's title sponsor in 1995. At the same time, the newly renamed Outback Bowl signed agreements with the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten Conference, creating an annual inter-sectional matchup that has continued ever since. In 1999, the Outback Bowl moved from Tampa Stadium into Raymond James Stadium, which had recently been built adjacent to the old stadium.

The game

The Outback Bowl is played on New Year's Day unless January 1 falls on a Sunday, in which case it is moved to the following Monday. It is usually the first game to start on a day which is traditionally full of college bowl games, and has kicked off as early as 11AM. ESPN has had television rights to the game since 1993. Under an extension of those rights signed in 2010, ESPN broadcasts the game on either ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2, in conjunction with the Citrus Bowl and the New Year's Six bowl games. Before 1993, the Hall of Fame Bowl aired on NBC. Upon signing agreements with the SEC and Big Ten in 1995, the Outback Bowl had the third pick of teams from each conference after the Bowl Championship Series teams were placed. Since 2014, both the SEC and Big Ten have worked with a group of several bowl games, including the Outback Bowl, to place their bowl-eligible teams after the College Football Playoff and associated bowls have made their selections. As of 2017, the Outback Bowl payout was $3.5 million for each team.

Game results

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


The bowl has named an MVP since inception; in the inaugural game, there were co-MVPs.

Most appearances

Updated through the January 2021 edition (35 games, 70 total appearances). ;Teams with multiple appearances ;Teams with a single appearance Won: Clemson, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ole Miss
Lost: Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi State, NC State, Purdue

Appearances by conference

Updated through the January 2021 edition (35 games, 70 total appearances). January 2021 participant * Games marked with an asterisk (*) were played in January of the following calendar year. * Results reflect conference affiliations at the time each game was played. * Big East appearances: Syracuse (1992) and Boston College (1993); the American Athletic Conference (The American) has retained the charter of the original Big East, following its 2013 realignment. * Independent appearances: Boston College (1986) and Syracuse (1988).

Game records


Media coverage

The inaugural edition of the bowl was carried by Mizlou in December 1986, with NBC carrying the next five editions (1988–1992). Since 1993, the game has been carried by ESPN or ESPN2, except for four broadcasts on ABC (2011, 2012, 2017, and 2021).


External links

* {{HCFPEI Category:College football bowls Category:Sports competitions in Tampa, Florida Category:1986 establishments in Florida