The History of the Pesci Bowl | Syracusefan.com

The History of the Pesci Bowl

SWC75

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After doing the Ty-D-Bowl, I came up with the idea of a bowl game between the top two Mid or Lower Majors teams. I would define those teams as teams listed as a major college here:
but which, had they won all their games, would not have been considered a legitimate contender for the national championship. This bowl is to see which team is the best of them. (I also used the ESPN College Football Encyclopedia. As well as this website: College Football National Champions and Seasons | College Football at Sports-Reference.com )

I decided to name the game after Joe Pesci, a vertically challenged but feisty character actor. Thus, it’s the “Pesci Bowl”. As with the Ty-D-Bowl, I decided to start with the post-war era, largely because the distinctions between levels of competition among major colleges were less apparent in the pre-war era, when college football was more like college basketball today when many schools can have good teams because you don’t need so many players to be good, (pre-war ball was exclusively one platoon football).

The first thing I’ll look at is numerical record, which is the number of losses and ties. It’s not the number of wins because teams don’t always play the same number of games. A 9-1 game is a 10-1 team that just played 10 games instead of 11. It’s better than a 10-2 team because they have only one loss instead of 2. I there is a tie, the next thing I will look at is head-head confrontations. I don’t want rematches if there is a team with a similar record who hasn’t played the winner yet. If I still need a tie-breaker, it’s going to be point differential. I’m not going to try to determine if the MAC was better than the WAC in a particular year. The first team listed is the team with the best record or, if that’s tie, the greatest average point differential. (They will get to wear their dark jerseys.) Again, I’m using the current names of the teams. Texas Western is now Texas-El Paso, for example.

1946 Hardin-Simmons 10-0-0 (30-5) vs. Yale 7-1-1 (30-8)
1947 Pennsylvania 7-0-1 (27-4) vs. Rutgers 8-1 (29-11)
1948 Cornell 8-1-0 (25-12) vs. Utah 8-1-1 (22-10)
1949 Cornell 8-1-0 (32-12) vs. Wyoming 9-1-0 (38-6)
(The Cowboys squeaked by Northern Colorado 103-0)
1950 Wyoming 9-0-0 (38-7) vs. Princeton 9-0-0 (39-10)
1951 Princeton 9-0-0 (34-9) vs. San Francisco 9-0-0 (32-8)
(Princeton had Heisman Trophy winner Dick Kazmaier but USF had future Pro Football Hall of Famers Ollie Matson, Gino Marchetti and Bob St. Clair. The school gave up football- on a high note- after 1951)
1952 Princeton 8-1-0 (33-8) vs. Tulsa 8-1-1 (33-18)
1953 Texas Tech 11-1-0 (39-14) vs. West Virginia 8-1-0 (32-12)
1954 Virginia Tech 8-0-1 (23-8) vs. Denver 9-1-0 (30-10)
(The Denver Bears had a respectable program until they gave up football in 1960)
1955 Miami University 9-0-0 (25-5) vs. West Virginia 8-2-0 (28.5-10)
(Miami- of Ohio- was actually not listed on the website above as major college until 1962. But they were ranked: #15 by the writers and #20 by the coaches so I included them. Their coach: Ara Parseghian)
1956 Wyoming 10-0-0 (25-11) vs. Texas-El Paso 9-1-0 (30.5-6.5)
(Wyoming’s coach was Bob Devaney, who later turned Nebraska into a superpower.)
1957 Arizona State 10-0-0 (40-7) vs. Virginia Military 9-0-1 (20-10)
(The Sun Devils were coached by Dan Devine, who then took the job at Missouri, leaving assistant Frank Kush in charge in Tempe, a job he kept for the next 22 years)
1958 Air Force 9-0-1 (22.5-9) vs. Rutgers 8-1-0 (33-9)
(The Falcons tied TCU, 0-0 in the Cotton Bowl that year)
1959 Wyoming 9-1-0 (29-6) vs. North Texas State 9-1-0 (29.5-7.5)
1960 New Mexico St. 10-0-0 (37-10) vs. Yale 9-0-0 (28-8)
1961 Rutgers 9-0-0 (27-11) vs. Utah State 9-0-1 (39-8)
1962 Dartmouth 9-0-0 (26-6) vs. Memphis 8-1-0 (29-7)
1963 Memphis 9-0-1 (20-5) vs. Arizona State 8-1-0 (28-14)
1964 Princeton 9-0-0 (24-6) vs. Bowling Green 9-1-0 (27.5-9)
1965 Dartmouth 9-0-0 (30-8) vs. East Carolina 8-1-0 (30-9)
1966 Wyoming 9-1-0 (33-7) vs. Harvard 8-1-0 (26-7)
1967 Wyoming 10-0-0 (28-10) vs. Toledo 9-1-0 (27-8)
(The Cowboys were actually invited to the Sugar Bowl were they almost beat LSU)
1968 Ohio U. 10-0-0 (38-18) vs. Yale 8-0-1 (35-16)
(The Bobcats went 10-0 in 1960, 0-10 in 1965 and 10-0 in 1968.)
1969 San Diego State 10-0-0 (46-19) vs. Toledo 10-0-0 (33-13)
1970 Dartmouth 9-0-0 (35-5) vs. Toledo 11-0-0 (31-7)
1971 Toledo 11-0-0 (32-8) vs. Arizona State 10-1-0 (38-15)
1972 Louisville 9-1-0 (31-9) vs. San Diego State 10-1-0 (24-13)
1973 Miami University 10-0-0 (21-7) vs. Arizona State 10-1-0 (45-15)
1974 Miami University 9-0-1 (28-8) vs. Yale 8-1-0 (25-7)
1975 Arkansas State 11-0-0 (32-7) vs. Arizona State 11-0-0 (30-10)
1976 Rutgers 11-0-0 (26-7) vs. Yale 8-1-0 (22-9)
1977 Grambling 10-1-0 (42-16) vs. San Diego State 10-1-0 (32-15)
1978 Ball State 10-1-0 (23-7) vs. North Texas State 9-2-0 (25-14)
1979 Brigham Young 11-0-0 (41-15) vs. McNeese State 11-0-0 (21-9)
1980 Brigham Young 11-1-0 (47-11) vs. Furman 9-1-1 (26-16)
1981 Yale 9-1-0 (28.5-15) vs. Drake 10-1-0 (22-18)
(After 1981, the Ivy league and the Southern Conference dropped down to Division 1AA-FCS- and their schools thus dropped out of contention for the Pesci Bowl.)
1982 Fresno State 11-1-0 (32-18) vs. New Mexico 10-1-0 (34-20)
1983 Brigham Young 10-1-0 (44-21) vs. Virginia Tech 9-2-0 (27-8)
(These are the pre-Beamer, pre-Big East Hokies who played mostly former Southern Conference foes. Howell lists Southern Illinois, 13-1 as a major college but they won the FCS championship that year so I can’t include them in the Pesci Bowl.)
1984 Brigham Young 12-0-0 (36-14) vs. Fullerton State 11-1-0 (28-18)
(You didn’t really think the Cougars were #1 in 1984, did you?)
1985 Bowling Green 11-0-0 (32-16) vs. Fresno State 10-0-1 (39-18)
(This game actually took place in the California Bowl and Fresno State won big, 51-7.)
1986 San Jose State 9-2-0 (33-20) vs. Fresno State 9-2-0 (27-14)
(This is a rematch of a 45-41 regular season game.)
1987 San Jose State 10-1-0 (35-18) vs. Wyoming 10-2-0 (34-21)
1988 Wyoming 11-1-0 (41-18) vs. Fresno State 9-2-0 (33-13)
1989 Fresno State 11-1-0 (38-19) vs. Northern Illinois 9-2-0 (31-24)
1990 Louisville 9-1-1 (28-13) vs. Brigham Young 10-2-0 (42.5-24)
1991 Fresno State 10-1-0 (44-19) vs. East Carolina 10-1-0 (34-22)
1992 Hawaii 10-2 (33-25) vs. Bowling Green 9-2 (26-18)
1993 Ball State 8-2-1 (24-20) vs. Fresno State 8-3 (40-28)
1994 Colorado State 10-1 (35-22) vs. Bowling Green 9-2- (36-16)
1995 Toledo 10-0-1 (34-19) vs. Nevada-Reno 9-2 (40-31)
(This game actually took place in the Las Vegas Bowl and Toledo, coached by Gary Pinkel, won 40-37)
1996 Brigham Young 13-1 (41-19) vs. Army 10-1 (32-17)
1997 Colorado State 10-2 (37-15) vs. Marshall 10-2 (38-19)
1998 Tulane 11-0 (45-24) vs. Air Force 11-1 (35-13)
1999 Marshall 12-0 (37-11) vs. East Carolina 9-2 (29-18)
2000 Texas Christian 10-1 (37-10) vs. Toledo 10-1 (36-11)
2001 Brigham Young 11-2 (47-30) vs. Fresno State 11-2 (40-23)
2002 Boise State 11-1 (47-19) vs. South Florida 9-2 (31-19)
2003 Boise State 12-1 (44-16) vs. Miami University 12-1 (43-19)
2004 Boise State 11-0 (50-24) vs. Utah 11-0 (46-21)
2005 Texas Christian 10-1 (34-18) vs. Toledo 8-3 (35-23)
2006 Boise State 12-0 (39-16) vs. Brigham Young 10-2 (37-15)
2007 Hawaii 12-0 (46-24) vs. Brigham Young 10-2 (31-19)
2008 Boise State 12-0 (39-12) vs. Utah 12-0 (37-17)
2009 Texas Christian 12-0 (41-13) vs. Boise State 13-0 (44-18)
2010 Texas Christian 12-0 (43-11) vs. Nevada-Reno 12-1 (43-22)
2011 Houston 12-1 (51-23) vs. Boise State 11-1 (43-18)
2012 Northern Illinois 12-1 (41-19) vs. Utah State 10-2 (34-15)
2013 Northern Illinois 12-1 (42-25) vs. Fresno State 11-1 (45-29)
2014 Marshall 12-1 (45-21) vs. Boise State 11-2 (40-27)
2015 Houston 12-1 (41-20) vs. Western Kentucky 11-2 (44-25)
2016 Western Michigan 13-0 (44-19) vs. South Florida 10-2 (44-31)
2017 Central Florida 12-0 (49-25) vs. Toledo 11-2 (39-26)
2018 Central Florida 12-0 (44-21) vs. Fresno State 11-2 (35-14)
2019 Memphis 12-1 (41-24) vs. Boise State 12-1 (37-21)
2020 Cincinnati 9-0 (39-16) vs. Coastal Carolina 11-0 (37-22)
2021 (SW) Louisiana 12-1 (31-18) vs. Texas- San Antonio 12-1 (38-24)

Participation:

Air Force 1958, 1998 (2)
Arizona State 1957, 1963, 1970, 1973, 1975 (5)
Arkansas State 1975 (1)
Army 1996 (1)
Ball State 1978, 1993 (2)
Boise State 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2019 (9)
Bowling Green 1964, 1985, 1992, 1994 (4)
Brigham Young 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1990, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2007 (9)
Central Florida 2017, 2018 (2)
Cincinnati 2020 (1)
Coastal Carolina 2020 (1)
Colorado State 1994, 1997 (2)
Cornell 1948, 1949 (2)
Dartmouth 1962, 1965, 1970 (3)
Denver 1954 (1)
Drake 1981 (1)
East Carolina 1965, 1991, 1999 (3)
Fresno State 1982, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 2001, 2013, 2018 (10)
Fullerton State 1984 (1)
Furman 1980 (1)
Grambling 1977 (1)
Hardin-Simmons 1946 (1)
Harvard 1966 (1)
Hawaii 1992, 2007 (2)
Houston 2011, 2015 (2)
(SW) Louisiana 2021 (1)
Louisville 1972, 1990 (2)
Marshall 1997, 1999, 2014 (3)
McNeese State 1979 (1)
Memphis 1962, 1963, 2019 (3)
Miami U. 1955, 1973, 1974, 2003 (4)
Nevada-Reno 1995, 2010 (2)
New Mexico 1982 (1)
New Mexico State 1960 (1)
Northern Illinois 1989, 2012, 2013 (3)
North Texas State 1959, 1978 (2)
Ohio U. 1968 (1)
Pennsylvania 1947 (1)
Princeton 1950, 1951, 1952, 1964 (4)
Rutgers 1947, 1958, 1961, 1976 (4)
San Diego State 1969, 1972, 1977 (3)
San Francisco 1951 (1)
San Jose State 1986, 1987 (2)
South Florida 2002, 2016 (2)
Texas Christian 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010 (4)
Texas-El Paso 1956 (1)
Texas-San Antonio 2021 (1)
Texas Tech 1953 (1)
Toledo 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2017 (8)
Tulane 1998 (1)
Tulsa 1952 (1)
Utah 1948, 2004, 2008 (3)
Utah State 1961, 2012 (2)
Virginia Military 1957 (1)
Virginia Tech 1954, 1983 (2)
Western Kentucky 2015 (1)
Western Michigan 2016 (1)
West Virginia 1953, 1955 (2)
Wyoming 1949, 1950, 1956, 1959, 1966, 1967, 1987, 1988 (8)
Yale 1946, 1960, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1981 (6)
 

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