40th Independence Bowl Set For Today In Shreveport
Has it really been that long? Has it really been 40 years that college football teams have been coming to Shreveport to play a bowl game? It has in fact been forty years.
The first Independence Bowl was played in 1976 and when the game kicks off just before 5PM this afternoon there will be a bit of a full circle feeling.
This afternoon's game features the Hokies of Virginia Tech and the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa. Part of the full circle feeling for this game involves each of those two teams. The Golden Hurricane participated in the very first Independence Bowl in 1976. They lost to McNeese State by a score of 20-16.
Meanwhile Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer coached his very first bowl game in Shreveport in 1993. That's when his Hokies topped Indiana by a score of 45-20. Today will also mark the last college bowl game that Coach Beamer will coach. He announced his retirement earlier in the year. This marks the 23rd straight season he has led his team to post season play.
For me, the most memorable Independence Bowl happened in year 2000. That game featured teams from Mississippi State and Texas A&M with a very special guest appearance by Old Man Winter. The game was played in a blizzard. Well for Louisiana residents as close to a blizzard as we get. The game earned the nickname The Snow Bowl. The game went to overtime and was eventually won by Mississippi State 43-41.
Those attending today's Camping World Independence Bowl will not have to worry about snow. In fact heat stroke and dehydration might be a bigger issue. The high in the Shreveport area is expected to be around 80 degrees and there is a 40% chance of showers. Kick off for the game is set for 4:45 PM the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.