Orange Bowl

2006 Orange Bowl

Congratulations to all the participants in the 2005-06 Orange Bowl, and especially to the Penn State Nittany Lions for their 26-23 victory over the Florida State Seminoles in triple overtime!

Two perennially powerful football schools will face each other in a post-season game for the third time as Penn State University heads down to meet Florida State University in the Fed-Ex Orange Bowl of 2005-06. This will also mean a contest between two of college football's all-time best coaches, Penn State's Joe Paterno and FSU's Bobby Bowden, both in their 40th seasons as a head coach. Get your Orange Bowl tickets now to be there cheering on the Big Ten Champion Nittany Lions or the ACC Champion Seminoles!

The college football bowl season has a few longtime star performers. Once the Rose Bowl established itself on the West Coast, it was no surprise that other groups would follow the formula. The first city to take on the challenge of hosting a major bowl game was Miami, in January of 1933, and in 1935, their game became the Orange Bowl.

Miami inaugurated its football game as part of the Miami Palm Festival, and it was such a hit that it earned its own stadium, named the Orange Bowl to match the game and the Rose Bowl, for the 1938 spectacular. As the second-oldest bowl game, as well as the second-most-recognized football stadium for college play, the Orange Bowl developed a fan base willing to buy as many tickets as there were seats.

In a fairly obvious move designed to sell local tickets, the Orange Bowl officially began with the 1935 appearance of the University of Miami (Florida), though they lost 26-0 to Bucknell. Southern schools figured in all of the early games, but it was not until 1946 that another Florida team appeared, when Miami University beat Holy Cross, 13-6.

Beginning in 1953, the champion of the Big Eight Conference received an automatic invitation to play an at-large invitee in the Orange Bowl. This lasted until 1963, and was the norm again from 1975 to 1994. Apart from those years, Big Eight teams appeared frequently but were not guaranteed a slot.

As the 'other' early January bowl game, the Orange Bowl chose to distinguish itself in 1965 by shifting to night play. As the first major bowl game to do so, the Orange Bowl set the tone for the future of nonstop televised bowl games by choosing an unused time slot. The move succeeded, and the Orange Bowl has been known as the principal night bowl game since then.

In more recent history, the Orange Bowl accepted sponsorship by Federal Express in 1989, and is now known as the FedEx Orange Bowl. This move did not change the basic structure of the game, which continued to be dominated by appearances by Miami University, Florida State and the University of Florida. Nebraska has been a popular opponent, appearing six times in the 1990s.

Now, as part of the Bowl Championship Series, the FedEx Orange Bowl rotates to hold the National Championship game. So, if you get tickets to the Orange Bowl, you may be witnessing a Florida team at work, or you may have a seat at the most-watched game of the college football season.

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