16 great photos of bygone bowl games

Bowl season begins Saturday, with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl leading the cavalcade of games -- 35 in all -- from December to January.

But some from the past will be missing -- some that were played for decades, others for just a year or two. Here's a look at a selection of great shots from several of these now-defunct games, the bygone bowls of college football:

Bluebonnet Bowl (1959-87)

Played at Rice Stadium and the Astrodome during its run, this game featured some big names and big schools -- Texas played in it six times -- over the 29 years.

Houston Bowl (2000-05; also known as the GalleryFurniture.com Bowl)

Houston's bowl history continued with this game, first played at the Astrodome and later Reliant Stadium. Once again it stressed local teams (it had a Big 12 tie-in), with at least one team from Texas playing each year (including a Texas A&M-TCU matchup in 2001). It also was embattled Colorado coach Gary Barnett's final bowl game.

Oil Bowl (1946-47)

Before Bluebonnet, before GalleryFurniture.com, there was Oil -- the Oil Bowl, which lasted just two years and featured two Georgia teams -- the Bulldogs first, Georgia Tech second. (Note: Houston is back as a bowl host, home to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas).

International Bowl (2007-10)

Aiming to be the first FBS-level postseason bowl played outside the U.S. since 1937, the Toronto-based International pulled it off -- but only for a time. Still, those four years were enough to see some significant winners -- including the Ray Rice-Greg Schiano Rutgers team of 2008, and Brian Kelly's Cincinnati Bearcats the year before.

Aloha Bowl / Oahu Bowl (1982-2000 / 1998-2000)

Hawaii's bowl history mirrors -- even surpasses -- Houston's in terms of stops and starts, covering events FBS-level and otherwise such as the Poi, the Pineapple, the Hula and these two, which actually ran concurrently for a time -- twice as a Christmas Day doubleheader. After 2000, both bowls relocated and later fell apart, but the still-running Hawaii Bowl brought postseason football back to the islands starting in 2002.

Freedom Bowl (1984-94)

Bowl games in baseball stadiums? They happen, still, with this one being played at the Big A, the California Angels' Anaheim Stadium. The game did last more than a decade -- and UCLA drew more than 55,000 people to its 1986 win over BYU -- but low funding and consistently poor attendance doomed the contest.

Seattle Bowl (2001-02)

Another baseball-football nexus, with this Safeco Field game -- which actually was formed when the Oahu Bowl left Hawaii after 2000. Poor funding got the better of the game, which still featured some successful action on the infield for Georgia Tech (over Stanford) and Wake Forest (Oregon).

Gotham Bowl (1961-62)

Before there was the New Era Pinstripe Bowl -- or even Freedom or Seattle -- there was the Gotham Bowl, played at Yankee Stadium only twice. It was far from a smooth operation, though; its anticipated 1960 debut had to be called off when only one team accepted an invitation, then the 1962 game was fraught with drama of the unwanted kind. Still, although it was seen by less than 7,000 fans, it was a dramatic send-off: a 36-34 win by Nebraska over Miami.

Haka Bowl (never played)

We're cheating here, but it's for the story: 1996 was supposed to be the year of the new non-U.S. bowl, with organizers wanting to bring college football to the rugby-crazy nation of New Zealand. Haka -- the Maori war dance still used by the national rugby team, the All Blacks (below) -- was to be its name. But before the third-place teams from the Pac-10 and the WAC could make their way to Auckland, the NCAA pulled the game's bowl certification because it could not meet the payout requirement.

Additional source: sports-reference.com