Boston College Bowl Games History: A Retrospective


The history of Boston College bowl games has been made much fuller in the last thirty years or so. As we approach the Pinstripe Bowl, the Eagles’ 24th bowl game all-time, let’s remember the other 23.

What were the most entertaining Boston College bowl games ever? What were the worst? What were the most meaningful? All this in more will be revealed in a matter of seconds.

Boston College Bowl Games: The Most Entertaining

1986 Hall of Fame Bowl (Boston College defeats Georgia, 27-24). The Eagles played a dominant first half in the 1986 Hall of Fame Bowl, taking a 20-7 lead into the break. Yet, a Shawn Halloran pick-six plus another touchdown drive by the #17 Bulldogs put Georgia on top in the fourth quarter.

Inside the final few minutes, the Eagles had the ball and a chance to win. On a fourth down try, Georgia was called for pass interference, giving Boston College another set of downs to extend the game. Halloran would then hook up with Kelvin Martin for a touchdown with 32 seconds to go, putting the Eagles back on top for good.

2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl (Boston College beats Navy, 25-24). The Eagles went into this game protecting a streak of six bowls won in a row, but things were looking bleak against the Midshipmen. Down eight in the fourth quarter, Matt Ryan led the Eagles down the field for a touchdown with 7:36 to go, but the two-point try failed and Navy remained in front, 24-22.

The Middies were about to run out the clock on the Eagles and their bowl streak in the final minutes, but Navy got called for a hold on 3rd & 5, and on the next play, Reggie Campbell fumbled and Jolonn Dunbar recovered at the Navy 40 yard line with 1:43 left.

The Eagles got down to the 19, and Steve Aponavicius’s knuckleball kick made it through the uprights as time expired to give BC the victory.

Boston College Bowl Games: The Most Forgettable

1999 Bowl (Colorado defeats Boston College, 62-28). The score speaks for itself. To add some depth, the Eagles trailed 21-0 in the first quarter, and 45-7 at halftime. The Eagles’ only score was ironically on a George White pick-six. BC had five turnovers and was outgained more than two-to-one in this embarrassing loss.

2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl (Arizona beats Boston College, 42-19). What a depressing way to end such an uplifting season. BC had gone five wins over their 2012 total, which constituted one of the biggest season-to-season jumps ever at the school, but they got railroaded in Shreveport.

The game completely got away from the Eagles in the third quarter with Arizona going up 29, eventually growing to 36 in the fourth quarter. BC scored some garbage time points to make this ugly bowl look more respectable. Andre Williams ended his stellar Eagles career with just 75 yards rushing.

1993 Hall of Fame Bowl (Tennessee beats Boston College, 38-23). This January game from the 1992 season saw the Eagles get blown out by the Vols. Boston College never led in this game that saw a tight game at the half, but a collapse in the second. What was a 14-7 game became a 31-7 game by the end of the third quarter. Tennessee led by as many as 31 in the fourth before a few stat-padding touchdowns for the Eagles late.

Boston College Bowl Games: The Most Meaningful Wins

Boston College Eagles
Boston College Eagles /

Boston College Eagles

1940 Sugar Bowl (Boston College defeats Tennessee, 19-13). The school claims a national championship based off of this victory in the Sugar Bowl. Given that it is the only bowl now considered “major” that the Eagles have ever won, it has to be the most meaningful victory in program history.

1985 Cotton Bowl (Boston College beats Houston, 45-28). The stellar 1984 season was wrapped up with a big win for Doug Flutie in the Cotton Bowl. Some consider it a “major” bowl, though it was not BCS, but it has great stature in college football. It was a great moment at a great time for our program.

2007 Champs Sports Bowl (Boston College beats Michigan State, 24-21). The Spartans were not as good as the Eagles that season, but the win still marked an 11th victory for BC and a validating end to Matt Ryan’s great career. Following this win, the Eagles were ranked number 10 in the end-season polls.