Coca-Cola Classic (college football)

Coca-Cola Classic (defunct)
Stadium Tokyo Dome
Location Tokyo, Japan
Previous stadiums Korakuen Stadium (1977–1979)
National Olympic Stadium (1980–1987)
Operated 1977–1993
Mitsubishi (1977–1985)
The Coca-Cola Company (1986–1993)
Former names
Mirage Bowl (1977–1985)

The Coca-Cola Classic was a regular season National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college football game played in Tokyo, Japan from 1977 to 1993. It was originally sponsored by Mitsubishi and known as the Mirage Bowl and later The Coca-Cola Company when it was renamed for the soft drink Coca-Cola Classic. Because the game was merely a re-location of a regular season game, it was not considered a traditional, postseason bowl game.

Corporate sponsorship


The Mirage Bowl was hosted by Mitsubishi Motors in Japan from its inception through 1985. The name refers to Mitsubishi's Mirage line of subcompact cars. Chrysler imported the Mirage and sold it in the US as the Dodge Colt and the Plymouth Champ.

Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company took over corporate sponsorship from Mitsubishi in 1986, renaming it the "Coca-Cola Classic". Other sports contests sponsored by Coca-Cola have also been called "Coca-Cola Classic", for example, in college basketball[1] and volleyball.[2] The company's flagship beverage, itself, was rebranded "Coca-Cola Classic" in the wake of the "New Coke" fiasco.

Game results

Italics denote a tie game.

Date Played Winning Team Losing Team
December 11, 1977 Grambling 35 Temple 32
December 10, 1978 Temple 28 Boston College 24
November 24, 1979 Notre Dame 40 Miami (FL) 15
November 30, 1980 UCLA 34 Oregon State 3
November 28, 1981 Air Force 21 San Diego State 16
November 27, 1982 Clemson 21 Wake Forest 17
November 26, 1983 SMU 34 Houston 12
November 17, 1984 Army 45 Montana 31
November 30, 1985 USC 20 Oregon 6
November 30, 1986 Stanford 29 Arizona 24
November 28, 1987 California 17 Washington State 17
December 3, 1988 Oklahoma State 45 Texas Tech 42
December 4, 1989 Syracuse 24 Louisville 13
December 2, 1990 Houston 62 Arizona State 45
November 30, 1991 Clemson 33 Duke 21
December 6, 1992 Nebraska 38 Kansas State 24
December 6, 1993 Wisconsin 41 Michigan State 20

Notable games


The first Mirage Bowl was played in Korakuen Stadium on December 11, 1977, between Grambling State and Temple. Grambling won the game, 35–32, and quarterback Doug Williams was named MVP.


The game between Army and Montana marked the introduction of "The Wave" to Japan.


Heisman Trophy winning running back Barry Sanders concluded his NCAA Division I-A (now FBS) record-setting rushing season in this game, since the NCAA did not begin counting bowl game statistics until 2002 (he would later gain 222 yards in the 1988 Holiday Bowl which are not included in his record-setting total). He watched the Heisman Trophy announcement in a Tokyo television studio at five o'clock in the morning.[3] Sanders rushed for more than 300 yards in Oklahoma State's 45-42 win against Texas Tech to finish the season with 2,628 yards.


Houston quarterback David Klingler passed for 716 yards against Arizona State, a NCAA Division I-A (now FBS) single game passing yardage record that stood for decades until it was broken by Connor Halliday in 2014.[4]


Nebraska won the Big Eight conference title, edging out runner up Colorado with the win.


With the win, Wisconsin became co-champions of the Big Ten (with Ohio State, who they had tied earlier in the season) and received the invitation to the 1994 Rose Bowl, the program's first Rose Bowl appearance since the 1963 Rose Bowl.

See also


  1. WVU Record in Coca-Cola Classic
  2. University of Alaska Fairbanks Volleyball Archives
  3. Trotter, Jake (August 8, 2014). "Sanders' 1988 season stands alone". ESPN. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  4. Bonagura, Kyle (October 5, 2014). "Connor Halliday sets passing record". ESPN. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
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