Miami football five best New Year’s Day bowl victories

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13 (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13 (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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The Miami football team’s first postseason appearance was a 26-0 loss to Bucknell in the 1935 Orange Bowl. Miami earned its first bowl win 11 years later with a 13-6 victory over Holy Cross. The Hurricanes won the game when Al Hudson returned an interception 89 yards for a touchdown on the last play.

The Miami football team lost 15-14 to Clemson in the 1951 Orange Bowl on New Years Day. Exactly a year later the Hurricanes defeated the Tigers 14-0 in the Gator Bowl. Miami did not play another game on January 1 until a 39-37 1985 Fiesta Bowl loss to UCLA in the first season under Jimmy Johnson.

The Fiesta Bowl trip was the first of 12 straight seasons Miami played in what was then one of the big five bowl games. The Hurricanes played in the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange and Sugar Bowls between 1984 and 1995. Nine of those games were played on New Year’s Day. Miami was 4-5 in those games.

After the 12 year streak of major bowl games ended, Miami next played on January 1 with a 28-13 victory over Georgia Tech in the 2000 Gator Bowl. The Hurricanes’ next two January 1 appearances were victories over Florida in the 2001 Sugar Bowl and Florida State in the 2004 Orange Bowl. Miami has not played on January 1 since then.

During their two championship eras, Miami playing in a major bowl game was expected. Victories on New Year’s Day frequently resulted in National Championships. Even if they did not, Miami had several exciting and memorable victories to begin the year. When Miami was rolling New Year’s Day games were must-see TV.