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Originally titled the Blockbuster Bowl, the game was born in Miami, Florida, in 1990 and thrived in its first year with a marquee matchup between Penn State and Florida State which drew more than 74,000 fans. Over the next 11 years, however, the game’s attendance dwindled, and it became apparent that the game would not survive in south Florida.

Sensing a unique opportunity to bring a second bowl game to Orlando, then Florida Citrus Sports Executive Director Chuck Rohe and the Board of Directors initiated a process of obtaining the bowl’s certification. The first game was called the Tangerine Bowl, a tribute to the name of Orlando’s original bowl game (now the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl).

In the new College Football Playoff era, the bowl will match the top selection from the ACC (inclusive of Notre Dame) outside of the CFP series against the second selection from the Big 12 outside of the CFP series.

In 2020, Cheez-It signed a multi-year agreement with Florida Citrus Sports to become the new title sponsor of the game.

The seventh-oldest collegiate bowl game in the country, the Vrbo Citrus Bowl began as the Tangerine Bowl in 1947. The initial game sponsors, members of Elks Lodge #1079 of Orlando, each put up $100 to fund initial expenses.

Since 1993 the bowl has hosted top teams from the Big Ten and Southeastern conferences.

In the new “College Football Playoff” era of college football’s postseason, the Vrbo Citrus Bowl will continue to host the top Big Ten and SEC teams from outside the CFP series of bowls (including Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, Orange, Cotton and Peach).

The game moved to a New Year’s Day date in 1987 and has remained a New Year’s Day tradition except in years when the holiday falls on a Sunday.

In late 2018, Vrbo signed a multi-year agreement with Florida Citrus Sports to become the new title sponsor of the game.

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