Bowl Games

The annual debate over the best way to crown college football’s national champion is nothing new. Bowl games and playoffs were the subjects of a poll of the nation’s sports editors as the 1938 season came to a close. Under the headline, “Writers Against ‘Bowl’ Contests,” a syndicated article appeared in the December 21, 1938, issue of the Nebraska City News-Press.

Ninety percent of the editors queried did not favor a postseason playoff to decide the national championship. However, sixty-six percent voted “no” when asked if they favored the existing bowl games. Eight percent said they didn’t care one way or another, while the remaining twenty-six percent approved bowl games. Even editors who favored bowl games had reservations: “They are okay if we don’t get any more.” “Two or three are all right, but too many of them cheapen the sport.” “Personally, I dislike the hypocrisy connected with the games, but they do help liven up the sport pages during the dull holiday season.”


The University of Omaha football team in the huddle during a game. 1935.

The University of Omaha football team in the huddle during a game. 1935.

Although a postseason playoff struck some editors as a good idea, they felt it was impossible to conduct such a tournament. “Besides,” said one editor, “there’d still be many arguments over who to invite to such a tournament, and the fighting would continue long after the tournament had ended. Anyway, it’s more fun just speculating on the national champion.”

The editors probably would be shocked by the number of bowl games now, but they would not be surprised that “speculation” continues to play a part in determining the national champion.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

The Massacre Canyon Oral History and Archeology Project

The Massacre Canyon Oral History and Archeology Project

Lest We Forget:  The Lynching of Will Brown, Omaha’s 1919 Race Riot

Lest We Forget: The Lynching of Will Brown, Omaha’s 1919 Race Riot

Portraits of Omaha’s 1898 Indian Congress

Portraits of Omaha’s 1898 Indian Congress

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.
Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.