It's bowl season, and for the fifth year now, we'll be previewing each of the bowl game marching band matchups in the Big Band Bowl Battle. This postseason, a whopping 80 bands from the football bowl subdivision - and an additional two from FCS who will play in the inaugural Celebration Bowl - will head to bowl games to support their teams. A few notes on this year's matchups before we preview each bowl with video:
- This year will feature eight matchups in which both bands have won the Sudler Trophy, college marching's highest honor; that number becomes nine is Oklahoma advances in their semifinal game. The previous season high was five, so we can expect some high-caliber band battles, even though the Sudler isn't the sole measure of a stellar band.
- This year's 41 FBS bowl slate required a few callups - three teams with a sub-.500 record will be going to bowls this season.
- After the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, the remaining bowls all hold some stature, an upgrade from years when the new year featured such gems as the GoDaddy.com Bowl and the International Bowl.
- When I say 80 FBS bands will travel, I now know, sadly, that I'm making an assumption that the athletic department will send the band. There's at least one case where the full band will not travel, and while I'd be surprised if anyone neglected to send the band overall, some poor-planning athletic departments may look to cut corners.
- And, of course, two of this season's most important bowls - both national semifinal games - will take place on New Year's Eve, causing strife, consternation, and creative planning for many. And we'd better get used to it; this is the setup four out of every six years in the new system.
Every bowl can be found below. Consider this your primer before this year's band matchups step off!
Celebration - Cure - New Mexico - Las Vegas - Camellia - New Orleans - Miami Beach - Famous Idaho Potato - Boca Raton - Poinsettia - GoDaddy - Bahamas - Hawai'i - St. Petersburg - Sun - Heart of Dallas - Pinstripe - Independence - Foster Farms - Military - Quick Lane - Armed Forces - Russell Athletic - Arizona - Texas - Birmingham - Belk - Music City - Holiday - Peach - Outback - Citrus - Fiesta - Rose - Sugar - TaxSlayer - Liberty - Alamo - Cactus