I Like Duke’s Mayo…But Must We Call It a ‘Mayo Bowl’?


My alma mater, the University of South Carolina, will play the University of North Carolina in this year’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Dec. 30.

They’re calling it the Battle of the Carolinas. The University of South Carolina Gamecocks will face the University of North Carolina Tarheels in Charlotte at the end of the month in what we now call the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

So my school, which everyone in South Carolina knows as “USC” but now goes by the ridiculous “UofSC” because of a court ruling, will play its first bowl game in three years. And that game will be named after mayonnaise. 

Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing against mayonnaise. In fact, if I’m going to use mayonnaise at home, it has to be Duke’s. 

People get particular when it comes to mayo. A co-worker of mine comes from New Orleans. There, Blue Plate Mayonnaise is apparently the only way to go. 

Some people up north say Hellman’s is the only mayo they would consider.

As for you Miracle Whip folks, I’m sorry, but that’s not mayonnaise. It even says so on the label. Go to your refrigerator and look for yourself!

Duke’s calls itself “the South’s Favorite Mayo.” I wouldn’t argue with that. With a hint of a lemon twist, it has a taste that really adds to a sandwich. I know people do lots of other things with mayonnaise, but I suppose I’ve never reached that level of adventure with recipes.

In any case, when it comes to mayonnaise, it has to be Duke’s for me.

But on a bowl game title?

Do we really have to have a Duke’s Mayo Bowl? For what it’s worth, you might recognize this particular bowl game by its original title: The Queen City Bowl. The bowl is played in Charlotte. Charlotte goes by the nickname the “Queen City.”

By the same logic, if Charleston ever hosted a bowl game, we’d surely call it the Holy City Bowl. But Charleston probably wouldn’t host such an event; there’d be no place to park if they found a way to do so.

When I was a kid, bowl games had names that were easier to keep up with. We had the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, just to name a few. Each bowl game had its own history and prestige based on the name alone.

But corporate sponsorship has sent naming right into the Toilet Bowl.

The Queen City Bowl started in 2002, but with corporate sponsorships that now involve renaming the game rather than just placing the company logos everywhere, we haven’t called it the Queen City Bowl.

We first knew it as the Continental Tire Bowl. From 2004 to 2010, we called it the Meineke Car Care Center Bowl. The Belk Bowl popped up in 2011 when the department store chain sponsored it. Then starting in 2020, that great mayonnaise took over the title. 

This year’s game will represent UofSC’s 24th bowl game appearance. Its last, in 2018, was also in the Queen City Bowl, but of course, it was the Belk Bowl back then. 

Before that, they played in the Outback Bowl. Same problem: I love Outback Steakhouse. But the Outback Bowl used to be known as the Hall of Fame Bowl. 

Over the years, UofSC made multiple appearances in the Gator Bowl, going back as far as 1946. The year I was born, USC played in the Peach Bowl. (We lost that game, so we won’t discuss it further.) 

But we’ve also played in games with dubious names like the Carquest Bowl, The Capital One Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the Bowl. (For that last one, it wasn’t enough to just be the Papa John’s Bowl: They had to make it a web domain.)

I get it: putting on a bowl game, like everything else, can be costly these days. But there’s surely a better way to have a sponsor without all the renaming that goes on. 

I give the Gator Bowl a little credit: This year, they’re the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. At least they kept their original name.

Maybe if I were more of a sports fan, all of these goofy sponsor names would be easy to keep up with. But I can’t help but think that the rebranding makes it a lot harder for people to follow which bowl game is really which. For me, it takes a little of the sparkle off of the bowl game season. I can no longer tell which bowl is a big deal…so most no longer seem they are.

In any case, I’ll pull for UofSC to win. Go Cocks!

Do you keep track of bowl games? Do you mind the sponsorship? 

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.