PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- With college football preparing to ditch its Bowl Championship Series before the 2014 season, the divide between the bowl haves and have-nots is about to get a lot wider.
As its stands, the January BCS bowls and their big-money sponsors such as PepsiCo's (PEP) Tostitos (Fiesta Bowl), Allstate (ALL) (Sugar Bowl), Vizio (Rose Bowl) and Discover (DFS) (Orange Bowl) already pay out $17 million to $18 million apiece. Toward the bottom of the pile are the low-budget, mid-December bowls with lesser-know sponsors such as Gildan (GIL) athleticwear for the Dec. 21 New Mexico Bowl ($456,000), the Idaho Potato Commission for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl ($325,000) the same day and the San Diego County Credit Union for the Dec. 26 Poinsettia Bowl ($500,000).
It's a simple matter of supply and demand. When bowls such as the Cotton Bowl and former Citrus Bowl have decades of history and roughly $4 million to pay out to high-ranked teams, it's a whole lot easier to draw high-rolling sponsors including AT&T (T) and Capital One (COF). When you're the New Orleans Bowl with only $500,000 to give teams and a legacy that started in 2001, it's Ohio shipping company R+L Carriers or just about no one
In the middle, however, is a stewpot of companies trying to keep their names and products in fans' minds and little guys looking for their big break. Every so often, this yields a head-scratching bowl name that leaves fans wondering how it happened. Here are just five that continue to perplex us: