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Frequently Asked Questions
about the Tom Bowl

Here are some questions we've been asked frequently here at the Tom Bowl. Some just off the street and some are gleaned from our comments area on the Tom Bowl Fan Ballot and others from the guest book.

What is the Tom Bowl?

The Tom Bowl is the only major college bowl game not sanctioned by the NCAA. It annually selects the best teams in college football to face off to determine the true national champion. The game is held in Beal City, MI.

Why are there three teams?

The Tom Bowl has used a variety of formats for selecting teams. Initially the Tom Bowl chose the top two teams in the nation with alternates. When the top two teams did somehow end up playing each other the Tom Bowl would determine the True #2 by inviting the #3 and #4 teams in the nation to determine the second best team in college football (since the team that loses 1 vs. 2 usually ends up like 5 or 6). One year the Tom Bowl hosted the Big 10 Championship game between Ohio State and Iowa when those two teams didn't mean during the season. Then in 2004 and 2005 the Tom Bowl experimented with a three game format that proved widely popular. The Tom Bowl returned to the two team format in 2006 but beginning in 2007 will always feature the top three teams in the nation.

How do three teams play each other?

The format for the three way game is simple. Each team plays each other for a "half" However, in what can only be called a mathematical anomaly, the game would consist of three "halves.

In the first "half" Team A plays Team B
In the second "half" Team C plays Team A
In the third "half" Team C plays Team B

So basically there are three thirders.

The end result? Each team plays a full 60 minutes of football, 30 minutes against one team, 30 against the other. The team that has the most points at the end would be declared the winner with the rights to be called the true #1 college football team in the nation.

What if two teams are tied at the end of the three thirders?

In an advent of a tie, the two tied teams play a standard overtime.

What if all three teams are tied at the end of the three thirders?

If it was a three way tie we devised a complicated method for resolving the contest that we won't document here because it'll take too long.

Does the Tom Bowl really send invitations to the schools?

The Tom Bowl sends letters of invitation to the colleges and their respective conferences. The package includes an official Tom Bowl bid and a game program. To learn more about the bids, click here

Do the schools and/or conferences ever respond?

Yes. The Tom Bowl has received several responses. You can read them here.

Where has the Tom Bowl been mentioned other than on the website?

The Tom Bowl has also been mentioned in the Lansing State Journal, the Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun, the Detroit Free Press, and on CNN Headline News. You can read them here.

Why Beal City?

Why not Beal City.

Why is it called the “Tom” Bowl?

It was all we could think of at the time, plus that happens to be the President’s first name and he was entitled.

How do I get tickets?

Tickets can be obtained on a walk-up basis. Just walk-up to Frank A. Schafer stadium on game day and someone will give you a ticket.

How is the parking situation?

Not bad most of the time but it gets more crowded every year.

Can I pre-park the day before to reserve a good tailgating spot?

If you think it will help. In all the years of the Tom Bowl their have been two tailgaters but they were really two people who came to the game but weren’t willing to get out of the car to go into the stands.

What is the “Return the Tom Bowl to Stanley P. Meade Field in New Canaan" Committee?

Prior to Tom Bowl VI, the Tom Bowl was played at Stanley P. Meade Field (home of the Rams) in New Canaan, CT. A group of protestors got together to voice their displeasure at the Tom Bowl leaving New Canaan for Beal City. The “Return the Tom Bowl to Stanley P. Meade Field in New Canaan" committee regularly offers bribes in the form of chocolate chip cookies to get the game to return to New Canaan. It is also rumored that the “Return the Tom Bowl to Stanley P. Meade Field in New Canaan" committee is behind the disappearance of the original Tom Bowl Trophy.

Will the Tom Bowl ever consider releasing a pre-season top 10?

The Tom Bowl President strongly believes that the pre-season rankings are a sham. It allows a team to take the #1 slot and hold on to it all year because no one ever leapfrogs #1 unless #1 loses. This past year (2004) is a great example. USC started #1, Oklahoma was #2 and Auburn was like #17. It took a good part of the season for Auburn to get up to the top five and they weren’t going to advance beyond #3 unless either Oklahoma or USC lost. They didn’t and Auburn was left out. The rankings shouldn’t start until the beginning of conference play. So the answer is no.

Where’s the TV contract?

Nothing is pending, but we are working on it. No, not really.

What is the price of a luxury suite?

We don’t have luxury suites but I suppose we could put a folding chair and a space heater in the press box and say “Here you go.” Maybe throw in a bottle of water.

Will their ever be a webcam broadcast?

If we had a webcam, we’d broadcast it that way. Maybe in the next year or two we’ll attempt to get some video footage of a Tom Bowl.

Do you have any corporate sponsors?


Was the Tom Bowl logo inspired by the New England Patriots old football helmet?

We didn't take this very seriously until we put them next to each other and then we thought that perhaps there was a reason people ask us this. However, if you check out the Tom Bowl logo gallery you'll see how the logo evolved and then you'll know that it really wasn't. Especially if you look at the original color scheme.

The old New England Patriots helmet and the current Tom Bowl logo.


How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood at the Tom Bowl?



Do you have a question about the Tom Bowl?

Send us an email at or just click here.