The Bacardi Bowl was played in 1937 and the name of the game was coined during the build up to that contest by the American press. It has also been referred to as the "Rhumba Bowl" or the "Cigar Bowl". There was actually no corporate sponsorship. The game was the culminating event of the Cuban Christmas Sports Festival of 1936 and was played at La Tropical Stadium in Havana.

Five other games were played between 1907 and 1921 matching teams from the American South against teams from Cuban Athletic Clubs at various locations. These games were considered postseason games only and are not actually considered, “The Bacardi Bowl”. None of the US institutions involved consider these contests as bowl games and they are not listed as such in the respective school’s media guides.

Historical Results and notes on the other Cuban postseason bowl games:


The games that were held from 1907 to 1921 were considered postseason games only and are not actually considered, “The Bacardi Bowl”. None of the US institutions involved consider these contest as bowl games and they are not listed as such in the respective school’s media guides.


1907 Bacardi Bowl

1937 Bacardi Bowl



The Complete History of the Bacardi Bowl



December 25, 1907 Louisiana State University 56 Havana University 0 

(See webpage)


January 1, 1910 Havana AC 11 Tulane University 0


It was the first victory for a Cuban squad over an American collegiate team and it brought much rejoicing to the citizens of Havana. The game was played at Almendares Park on the afternoon of New Year’s Day, 1910. The Tulane team was outweighed and outplayed and the crowd included the elite of Cuban society.


January 1, 1912 Mississippi State University 12 Havana AC 0


Mississippi State, then known as Mississippi A&M defeated Club Atletico de Cuba, 12-0 in Havana. In 1911, MSU was led by four-sport star Morley Jennings and coached by W.D. Chadwick. They posted a 7-2-1 record in 1911.

Mississippi State University, 1911


December 25, 1912 University of Florida 28 Vedado AC 0


There were two games played against different teams over the Christmas holidays in Cuba. One was played under the “old rules” and one was played under modern rules that had been refined in 1906. The Gators won the first game under the old rule scheme 27-0, over Vedada. The second game was played against the Cuban Athletic Club of Havana. It ended late in the first quarter as a fight broke out and the Florida team walked off the field complaining that the Cubans continued to play under the old rules.


The partisan Cuban crowd became enraged and insisted upon the arrest of the Florida Coach G.E. Pyle and players for violating a Cuban law which prohibited the suspension of a game for which gate money had already been collected. Pyle was taken into custody by the authorities, but later released. Pyle and the Florida team are still considered "fugitives from justice" for the incident. Florida recorded the game as a 0-0 tie, but Cuba recorded it as a 1-0 victory for them. There was concern that this would be the last Cuban post-season game to be played.


December 31, 1921 Havana University 14 University of Mississippi 0


Ole Miss Havana stars


In what was described as an exceedingly rough game, the Cubans manhandled the American collegiate squad. Following the travesty of 1912 and the arrest of the Florida coach, it was decided that the style of play would be left up to each team. Cuba stayed away from the forward pass and employed “old time” rules. According to the New York Times, “…the Cubans scored 6 points in the first half and seven in the second when Romero, right half back, ran thirty-five yards then bucked the line twice for a touchdown. Mississippi failed badly in aerial attacks. Quintana, 250 pound centre, took care of most of the defensive work for the Cubans.”


The following excerpt is taken from the book, Ole Miss Rebels: Mississippi Football, William Sorrels and Charles Cavagnaro, 1976, Strode Publishers:


Ole Miss voted yes after the Cuban Athletic Club invited its football team to Havana in 1921. In Oxford Coach Sullivan gave each player 50 cents to spend as he saw fit on the train to New Orleans, en route to the school's first postseason game.


"I took $8 to spend in Havana," recalled Calvin Barbour, "but it cost more than 50 cents to eat on the way to New Orleans." His teammate, Johnny Montgomery of Hattiesburg, said, "I think I had $7.50 to spend."


Anyway, expecting high adventure, sixteen young Mississippi football players set out on December 23, 1921, for Havana, Cuba. Santa Claus Robinson's team boarded the Aetna, of the Great White Fleet, in New Orleans on Christmas Eve, steamed down the Mississippi, and headed across the Gulf. Watching the flying fish from the ship's railing were Coach Sullivan, Barbour, Montgomery, Robinson, O. M. Whittington, Claude Smithson, Dooley Akin, Arthur Scruggs, Bennie McDaniels, Wayne Smith, Oscar Gober, Grayson (Buster) Keeton, O. G. Eubanks, Sollie Grain, Frank Leftwich, Moseley, and John Stovall.


The sight of salt water and sun soon lost its beauty. Most of the young men got seasick. "Someone told us to eat, eat and eat," Barbour said, "and you won't get sick. Some must not have eaten enough. I ate and I ate and I didn't. I ordered everything. It was a lovely trip. We had nice sleeping quarters on the second deck- two men to a room. We were supreme people."


Perhaps there is destiny in names. How else can you explain an Ole Miss football captain nicknamed Santa Claus and his teammates being aboard a steamer on Christmas Eve? The youthful gridders arrived in Havana on Christmas Day. And five thousand Cubans gathered at Almendares Park in sunny, 80-degree weather to watch their game with the Cuban Athletic Club on New Year's Eve.


The game had its comic moments. For one thing, Dr. Bernardo LaTour, the referee, gave his decisions in Spanish to the Cuban team and in English to the Mississippians. This con­fusion in language seemed also to be reflected in confusion in officiating.


"We scored three touchdowns," Barbour said, "but they didn't let them count. We were always offside, holding or some­thing. But we had a real battle in the second half, and it was a lot of fun."


Ole Miss lost 14 to 0. The Mississippians admit they should have done better with their passing game. They threw 12 times and completed none.


Everyone liked Havana. "We visited Morro Castle and the Light House and signed the register there," said Montgomery. "The Cubans took us all over Havana. One night we saw the country's champion play jai lai."


The team returned to New Orleans on a banana boat that included other passengers. In its report on the trip, the annual said, "Everyone enjoyed the stay in Havana very much. On board coming back 'Possum' McDaniels, who had succeeded in evading the influences of Spanish love, lost his heart and foot­ball sweater to an 'American Beauty.' We admire his choice."


Football had been good to a so-so 1921 team. "We all paid our way to go to school," Barbour summed it up. "We played for love of the school. It wasn't just putting in a day's work."


January 1, 1937 Auburn 6  Villanova 6

(See webpage)