Outside of the annual Rose Bowl in Pasadena, there wasn’t another major postseason bowl game where top-level programs could square off in. This changed on January 1st, 1935, when the Orange Bowl made its inaugural appearance onto college football’s grand stage.
The bowl game’s roots initiated in Miami Gardens, where Miami Field hosted the event for its first three years. However, it wasn’t until 1938, when the bowl game took flight. For the next 60 years the Orange Bowl found a home inside the Miami Orange Bowl, an outdoor stadium west of downtown in Little Havana. When it was first opened, the Orange Bowl’s attendance stood at 23,330. Due to the annual exposure, attendance soared to 59,578 in 1947, later reaching its fullest capacity of 80,100 during the early 1980’s.
Before the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) compromised an alliance with the Orange Bowl during the BCS era, the Big Eight, which is now known as the Big 12, and SEC were the two conferences that appeared in the Orange Bowl the most. As of now, all current and former members of the Big Eight have combined to play in 42 Orange Bowls, the SEC 34.
With that being said, here are the ten best Orange Bowls games to have ever been played in its entire nine-decade history.