The Outback Bowl is an annual New Year's Day college football bowl game played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The event was originally called the Hall of Fame Bowl from 1986 to 1994 until being renamed in 1995 for its new title sponsor, Outback Steakhouse. It is organized by the Tampa Bay Bowl Association under Jim McVay, who has been the president/CEO since 1988. The Outback Bowl is not Tampa's first bowl game, as the Cigar Bowl was played at old Phillips Field near downtown from 1947–1954. However, the earlier event matched small college teams, so the Outback Bowl was the first major bowl game to be played in the area. (A notable participant in the 1950 Cigar Bowl was Florida State, but the FSU football program had just begun at the time and they were not yet considered a major college team.)
The Hall of Fame Classic was held at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama from 1977–1985. In the spring of 1986, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame decided to discontinue their association with the bowl and realign with a new bowl game to be played in Tampa Stadium which would inherit the Hall of Fame Bowl name. The bowl did not have agreements to bring in teams from particular conferences in its early years but often matched a school from either the Southeastern Conference or the Atlantic Coast Conference against a team from another region. In 1999, the Outback Bowl was moved from Tampa Stadium into newly built Raymond James Stadium next door.