The Independence Bowl is a post-season NCAA-sanctioned Division I college football bowl game that is played annually at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Independence Bowl was named because it was inaugurated in the United States bicentennial year, 1976.For its first five years, the game pitted the champion of the Southland Conference against an at-large opponent It then moved to inviting two at-large teams, until 1995 when it began featuring a Southeastern Conference school against an at-large opponent.
From 1998 to 2009 the game normally featured a matchup between teams representing the Big 12 Conference and the SEC. Teams from other conferences were included only if one of those leagues did not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill its spot, such as in 2004 when Miami (Ohio) played instead of an SEC squad. In 2008 neither the SEC nor the Big 12 had enough bowl-eligible teams to fill their respective spots resulting in a matchup of Louisiana Tech and Northern Illinois. From 2010–2011, the Independence Bowl held the third selection from the Mountain West Conference and the seventh selection from the Atlantic Coast Conference. It was announced that in 2012, the Mountain West Conference team would be replaced by the tenth selection from the Southeastern Conference.
One of the most memorable games in Independence Bowl History was the 2000 "snow bowl" game between Texas A&M and Mississippi State. The game was originally publicized as a reunion game, since Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill had served as A&M's coach for six seasons in the 1980s and led them to three conference titles. However, the weather quickly dominated the storyline as a rare and significant snowstorm hit Shreveport. In the midst of the snow, Mississippi State rallied to an overtime win over A&M. The 2013 game featured the Arizona Wildcats of the Pacific-12 Conference.