Nine different teams from power 5 conferences have been going to a bowl game at the end of each regular season for at least a decade now. Michigan State could have joined them, but they’ve fallen apart this season, which means the end to their nine-year bowl game streak. Every team on this list, from Alabama to Virginia Tech, has either already clinched a bowl game berth or is one win away from one.
Oklahoma State Cowboys: 10
The Cowboys are on their way to an 11th consecutive bowl game, so far 7-2 in the 2016 season. Their last 10 bowl games have been under Mike Gundy at head coach, who missed the postseason just once, in 2005, his first year as the HC. During the streak, Oklahoma State have been to two major bowl games: The Fiesta Bowl after the 2011 season (beating Stanford 41-38) and the Sugar Bowl following the 2015 season (losing 48-20 to Ole Miss).
Clemson Tigers: 11
Clemson have been going bowling every season since 2005. The streak began under Tommy Bowden and carried on with Dabo Swinney, going 5-4 with Clemson in the postseason. This includes the famous loss to West Virginia in the 2012 Orange Bowl, but also beating Ohio State in the Orange Bowl two years later, and making the College Football Playoff title game last season.
Alabama Crimson Tide: 12
Since 2004, Alabama have gone to a bowl game every season. This means all of Nick Saban’s tenure (since 2007, which includes winning four national championships) and the Mike Shula era, which even includes Joe Kines in the 2006 Independence Bowl. During the Saban era, Alabama have lost all three Sugar Bowls they’ve played in, one of them being a CFP semifinal.
Wisconsin Badgers: 14
There have been three head coaches for Wisconsin during their current bowl game streak: Barry Alvarez, now the school’s athletic director; Bret Bielema, now at Arkansas, gone bowling in each of his 7 seasons including three Rose Bowls, losing all three (Alvarez coached one of those games); and now with Paul Chryst, who did well in 2015, his first year at the job, winning the Holiday Bowl against USC. He’ll be going bowling in 2016 as well.
LSU Tigers: 16
Dating back to the Nick Saban era, LSU have gone bowling at the end of each season since 2000, which includes winning two BCS championships (1 Saban, 1 Les Miles) and losing the title game once (With Miles against Saban). Ed Orgeron, their current head coach, needs one more win to clinch a bowl game invite. He has Florida, Texas A&M and Arkansas in his way.
Oklahoma Sooners: 17
The last time Oklahoma didn’t go to a bowl game, Bob Stoops wasn’t the head coach. He has gone to the postseason game every time since becoming the HC in 1999, including the 2000 BCS title coming to Norman. Oklahoma have mostly lost their major bowl games during this time, including a Sugar Bowl to LSU, the Orange Bowl to USC, back-to-back Fiesta Bowls against Boise State and West Virginia, followed by the BCS championship game against Florida. They did have a big moment when beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl after the 2013 season, and there was also last year’s loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
Georgia Bulldogs: 19
The Georgia bowl game streak began in the 1997 season, when Jim Donnan was the head coach. He actually won all four bowl games he took Georgia too. Mark Richt carried on with the postseason tradition for 15 years, including three Sugar Bowls during his first seven seasons (two wins), but no major bowl game after that. He’s now in Miami and his replacement, Kirby Smart, is one win away from clinching eligibility.
Virginia Tech Hokies: 23
When Justin Fuente leads Virginia Tech to a bowl game after the 2016 regular season is over, it’ll be the first time since the 1986 Peach Bowl that the Hokies go bowling without Frank Beamer on the sidelines. The now retired head coach took over the program in 1987. The first bowl game came in 1993, and since then it hasn’t stopped, through the moves from the Big East to the ACC, and includes trips to 8 major bowl games, the last of ’em being the 2012 Sugar Bowl, which they lost to Michigan in overtime.
Florida State Seminoles: 34
More impressive than the bowl game streak that will add one more to it at the end of this season, has to be the 14 consecutive top 5 finishes during the Bobby Bowden era, from 1987 through 2000. In the bowl game streak, carried on by Jimbo Fisher (who took over in 2010), Florida State have won 3 national titles: 1993, 1999 and 2013. They actually haven’t won a bowl game since the BCS championship game against Auburn.
- Boise State, 14: The Broncos have gone to a bowl game each season since 2002 (not stopping this year either), winning nine of them. This includes three Fiesta Bowls, beating Oklahoma, TCU and Arizona.
- BYU, 11: Kalani Sitake needs one more win to extend the bowl-game streak, which began in 2005, Bronco Mendenhall’s first season with the team. Now with Virginia, Mendenhall hasn’t won a bowl game since the Poinsettia Bowl in 2012. BYU have gone to six Las Vegas bowls during the streak.