Fans sometimes use the phrase Toilet Bowl to refer to a football game that is particularly poor in play quality, generally college football. While this name is certainly not official, it does bear mentioning.
In professional football, particularly the National Football League, the term Draft Bowl is occasionally used for this sort of game, as the two teams are often "competing" for the first overall selection in the next year's NFL Draft, which goes to the team with the worst record in the league.
Two specific college games that are often referred to as "Toilet Bowl" games are:
- 1983 Oregon vs. Oregon State: The 1983 contest between the two teams produced a scoreless tie. Played during a rainstorm, the game is commonly known as the "Toilet Bowl", due to the poor quality of play exhibited in the game (it was not a steadfast defensive struggle). No NCAA Division I football game has ended in a scoreless tie since, and due to the recent introduction of overtime into NCAA football (which eliminated ties), it is unlikely to ever happen in the future, unless a subsequent rule change allows tie games to once again occur.
- 1987 Kansas vs. Kansas State: On November 7, 1987 the Kansas Jayhawks traveled to Manhattan, Kansas to play the Kansas State Wildcats. The game was termed "The Toilet Bowl" by national commentators during the week leading up to it because it featured a KU team with a 1-7 record and 0-8 K-State. The contest lived down to expectations and resulted in a 17-17 tie, which was secured when Kansas State missed a field goal at the end of the game. ESPN College Football broadcaster Lee Corso said this about the game: "A tie is like kissing your sister, but a loss is like kissing your brother." This game was one of many for the University of Kansas, giving KU the all-time NCAA Division I-A record for number of tie games with 57.
The term Toilet Bowl is also jocularly used to describe a non-prestigious bowl game or as the "only bowl game (your least favorite team) will be playing in". It also describes a mythical bowl game in which a bowl ineligible team will supposedly be playing in at the end of the season (usually said to be located in Kohler, Wisconsin), in reference to the abundance of bowl games in Division I football.
In the spoof movie The Comebacks, Heartland State University ends up playing in the Toilet Bowl for the South-Southwest Championship.