|Note: Years for bowl games indicate the fall season preceding the game itself. Further, unless impossible to avoid, corporate sponsorship is ignored. Please see Bowl Alert for details.|
In attempting to keep historical records of bowl games in a way which makes sense, this wiki imposes two rules of operation which may lead to confusion until one becomes used to the mechanics.
Years for bowl games indicate the fall season preceding the game itself. On the actual pages for a given bowl game, the full date on which the game was played is noted; it is assumed that if a bowl game is played in January 1984 that the reader can deduce the game is part of what is commonly referred to as the 1983 season. On team and conference pages, however, where we list the seasons in which a team played in a given bowl game, it becomes necessary to focus on the season rather than the actual game date. Therefore, as an example, if a team played in a bowl game in January 1984, their listing of bowl games will show this bowl as 1983, not 1984.
Even though this "alteration to reality", as it were, may cause initial confusion to people who instinctively think "Florida played in the 1999 Orange Bowl, not the 1998 Orange Bowl," the change should not be particularly controversial. The change in years for these games is not meant to imply that it was in fact the 1998 Orange Bowl, but that Florida played in the Orange Bowl following the 1998 season. The most obvious reason to take this approach: not doing so would lead to many instances where a scan of a team or conference page gives the impression a team played in two bowls in the same season. We'd prefer to avoid that unless it actually happened (hello, 1948 Hardin-Simmons football team).
Unless impossible to avoid, corporate sponsorship is ignored. Corporate sponsors change all the time. The history of the bowl itself, however, is consistent. For the purposes of this wiki, the sponsorship of the bowl is utterly irrelevant; the "USF&G Sugar Bowl" is the same thing as the "Nokia Sugar Bowl". As such, the information for this bowl is contained on the page Sugar Bowl, and except for inline text references the sponsors will not even be referred to. For bowl games which have become known only by their sponsor's name, links from team and conference pages will show the "official" name of the bowl, but link to the standard non-sponsored name of the bowl. (Example: Insight Bowl redirects to Copper Bowl.) This applies even to bowls which were initially certified with a non-sponsored name which has never been used (see Queen City Bowl). The exception is bowls which were certified under sponsored names without ever having had a non-sponsored name, such as the Ticket City Bowl; we can't very well use a traditional bowl game name for a bowl that never had one to begin with.
There is, however, yet another specific exception to these rules which has been made necessary for clarity. The Tangerine Bowl was a well-known bowl for many years before eventually becoming known as the Capital One Bowl. The Champs Sports Bowl was briefly known as the Tangerine Bowl in between other sponsorships after the original Tangerine Bowl had become the Capital One Bowl. Because of this, if we followed the above procedures the situation would have arisen where Tennessee and Michigan, who played in the 2002 Capital One Bowl, would be linked to the Tangerine Bowl. The problem is that there was a 2002 Tangerine Bowl, and those two teams did not play in it. So, reluctantly, we're allowing the sponsored names to take precedence, with Tangerine Bowl being relegated to a disambiguation page (although if a team actually played in the Tangerine Bowl, the link will read "Tangerine Bowl" and redirect to the proper page).
In all cases, however, on team and conference pages the bowl will be referred to by its traditional name if the traditional name is in use at all; if the traditional name is no longer in use, the sponsored name will be used, redirecting to the traditional name. We consider this acceptable, since the Boston College Eagles quite clearly did not play in the "San Francisco Bowl" after the 2010 season; they played in the "Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl". But the bowl itself is, historically, the San Francisco Bowl.
We hope this isn't too confusing, but we believe that the traditional bowl game names are important, and choose to focus our attention on them rather than ephemeral sponsorship branding.