In case you haven’t been following the news, the Washington Huskies football team is already in Atlanta. You may well imagine that they are all hard at work scheming to pull off what would be deemed by Vegas the greatest upset in this bowl season and what might be viewed as one of the more significant in the history of the game.
Well, you may well not be imagining correctly.
The Huskies are mixing in a bit of pleasure with their work as they seek to maximize their Peach Bowl week experience. There are personal activities and bowl sponsored events underway in addition to the football work being organized by Chris Petersen and crew. The college football players and the Peach Bowl are a foreign experience for all of these players and they are all, I’m sure, eager to take it all in.
For its part, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is one of the more interesting bowl games in all of College Football, even if it doesn’t carry the traditional cachet of other brands such as the Rose and Orange Bowls. It has traditionally matched up high-end teams between the SEC and the ACC conferences. As such, it is a bit of a mystery to west coast football fans.
A History of Competitiveness
The most interesting question that Husky fans might have on their minds is about the history of competitiveness in the Peach Bowl. Not that it matters to this game, but a history of competitiveness in general might feed some positive mojo to those of you who are otherwise superstitiously inclined.
If you are one of those people, REJOICE!
The Peach Bowl has a history of significant competitiveness. 26 of 48 Peach Bowls have been decided by one touchdown or less in the history of the game. However, recent history is that six of the last eight have been multi-score wins in one way or the other.
More interesting to Husky fans might be the observation that the last two Peach Bowls - those in the college football playoffs era - have been won by a non SEC or ACC member against an SEC or ACC opponent (TCU crushed Ole Miss in 2014 while Houston whipped Florida State in 2015). In fact, four of the last five times a non SEC or ACC team has been invited, they’ve defeated a traditional Peach Bowl conference invitee.
So, that is some good juju right there.
The Battle for Bowl Week
The Huskies are currently engaged with the Tide in a weeklong series of contests leading up to the bowl game this Saturday. Those activities include go-karting (won by UW), bowling (won by UW) and basketball skills (tonight). There are five “battles” in all with the winner of the series laying claim to the the vaunted Battle for Bowl Week Belt (yup, there is a belt).
UW is just one win away from claiming the belt being modeled by Dante Pettis above. The team holding the belt has won six straight Peach Bowl titles.
That got your attention, didn’t it?
Peach Bowl Dots
- One factoid that jumped out at me as I was researching the Peach Bowl was its charitable focus. All football players participate in community activities (include visits to the MLK Museum and to a local hospital). In addition, the Peach Bowl, which owns three events, makes significant donations to scholarship funds and community charities. In 2015, they donated over $1.5M to those causes
- In case you were wondering, the Peach Bowl is not owned by ESPN. Though this chair I’m sitting on might be.
- Based on last year’s data, each team will earn approximately $12M in total payouts along with an additional $2M in expense reimbursement
- Husky fans who watch the game on TV are likely to participate in one of the - if not the most - broad audiences to ever take in a UW football game. The Peach Bowl had over 6 million television viewers and 71,000 attendees last year. That alone would be a record, I’m guessing, for game that UW participated in. Some prognosticators have estimated that this number could triple and possible quadruple given that it is a playoff game and that Alabama is participating.
- The Peach Bowl, which was founded in 1968, ceased to exist in 2006 as it was re-branded simply the Chick-fil-A Bowl. However, as part of the requirements laid out to be accepted as a possible college football playoff bowl, a traditional moniker was required. Thus, the “Peach” was re-introduced in 2014.
- One PAC 12 team has previously participated in the Peach Bowl. In 1970, #8 Arizona State blasted North Carolina by score of 48-26. ASU participated in the Peach Bowl only after Penn State declined an invitation. For decades, they were the highest ranked team to ever play in the Peach Bowl until #6 Tennessee made an appearance in 2004.
- UW (#4) and Alabama (#1) are the two highest ranked teams to ever play in a Peach Bowl. It is the first Peach Bowl appearance for either team.