10 Winningest Bowl Teams of All Time

Utah Tops the List

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There are 40 officially-sanctioned bowl games in the NCAA's Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, of those, the New Year's six, make up the College Football Playoff.

As of the 2016-2017 season, Utah tops the list, with an all-time bowl record of 16-4-0 in 20 bowl appearances. 

The top 10 winningest college football bowl teams are ranked by winning percentage in a minimum of 20 bowl appearances. The list includes NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision-sanctioned bowl games, the top level of college football in the U.S.

University Wins-Loss-Ties Games Played Winning Percentage
Utah 16-4-0 20 0.800
USC 34-17-0 51 0.667
Mississippi 24-13-0 37 0.649
Florida State 28-16-2 46 0.6304
Oklahoma State 17-10-0 27 0.6296
Syracuse 15-9-1 25 0.620
Penn State 28-17-2 47 0.617
Georgia 30-19-3 52 0.613
Mississippi State 12-8-0 20 0.600
Alabama 38-25-3 66 0.598

History of the Bowl

The term "bowl" originated from the Rose Bowl stadium, site of the first postseason college football games. The Rose Bowl Stadium, in turn, takes its name and bowl-shaped design from the Yale Bowl, the prototype of many football stadiums in the United States.

The history of the bowl game began in 1902 with the Tournament East-West football game between Michigan and Stanford, a game Michigan won 49-0. The Tournament of Roses Association in Pasadena, California, was the sponsor. As of 1916, the East versus West game was played annually. In 1923, the Rose Bowl began to be played in the brand-new Rose Bowl Stadium.

By 2015, the number of college football's postseason bowls had doubled in 20 years. There were 18 bowls in 1995. 

New Year's Six and Championship Game

The New Year's Six pits the best teams in the country against each other and includes six of the ten oldest bowl games: the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta, and Peach. The four other senior bowls that did not make the six are the Sun, Gator, Citrus and Liberty bowls. 

Four of the best teams play in two semifinal games; the venue rotates annually among the six major bowls. The winners advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The championship game's venue is selected based on bids submitted by cities. Bids considered are host cities with stadiums that have a capacity of at least 65,000 spectators. Under the bidding system, cities cannot host both a semifinal game and the title game in the same year.