From Copper to Snoop Dogg: The history of bowl games at Arizona Stadium

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl - Toledo v Wyoming
Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl - Toledo v Wyoming / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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Copper Bowl: 1989-96

Rod Dayne
Rod Dayne / Todd Warshaw/GettyImages

There is one game in this timeframe that stands out above the rest: 1989 — the first one. It featured the hometown Wildcats, who emerged victorious over an ACC foe.

Arizona had the honor of playing in the inaugural bowl game at Arizona Stadium in the very first Copper Bowl in 1997 against North Carolina State. The 1989 'Cats went 7-4 in the regular season and finished ranked No. 25 in the AP Poll, while the Wolfpack also went 7-4 but finished unranked. Arizona led the game the entire way en route to a 17-10 win in front of 37,237 hometown fans.

The Copper Bowl also saw an intense shootout between Texas Tech and Air Force in 1995, marking the highest-scoring outing to date. The Red Raiders downed the Falcons by a score of 55-41, and 12 of the game's 13 touchdowns were scored on the ground. Bowl: 1997-99

Insightcom Bowl X Anthony
Insightcom Bowl X Anthony / Harry How/GettyImages

The Bowl was played at Arizona Stadium for three years before moving to Phoenix in 2000 and finally to where it's currently played in Tempe in 2005. This is a special time period, and most Tucson locals who have been around long enough would say that the 1997 Bowl was the most meaningful bowl game ever played in Tucson.

Once again, Arizona Football capped off their season by winning a postseason game in front of a home crowd when the Wildcats toppled the Lobos 20-14. The 49,385 fans in attendance was a record for the bowl game and stood until the end of the 2007 season. That was more than 10% of the Tucson's population of nearly 460,000 who packed into Arizona Stadium.

The final year of the Bowl's stint in Tucson in 1999 brought another memorable matchup where Colorado (6-5, 5-3 in Big-12) dropped a 62-point hammer to stun No. 25 Boston College (8-3, 4-3 in Big East). 45 of Colorado's points came in the first half in the 62-28 rout of the Eagles.

After the 1999 season, the Bowl moved to Phoenix and Tempe where it was played as the Insight Bowl, the Cactus Bowl, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, and finally the Guaranteed Rate Bowl since 2020.