1981 Bluebonnet Bowl: Knocking on the door
The Bluebonnet Bowl doesn’t quite have the same history and prestige as the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, or even the Liberty Bowl, but in 1981 it certainly featured two historically relevant programs with UCLA against Michigan at the Houston Astrodome.
The Bruins fell to the Wolverines 33-14 to finish the 1981 campaign at 7-4-1 but were still ranked No. 5 in the country. This dropped UCLA’s record in bowl games to 2-7-1 and its record in bowl games under Donahue to 0-2-1.
This season, UCLA had a chance to make it back to the Rose Bowl with a win over USC, but they fell 21-20 to their crosstown rivals. Donahue had his program knocking on the door and they were about to go on an impressive run starting the very next season.