I agree with StarTribune sports columnist Patrick Reusse, who offers some historical perspective in his column Bowls were better when named for fruits or flowers:
This was the makeup of major college football in 1959: The major conferences were Big Ten, Pacific Coast (in its last year before reforming), Big Eight, Southwest, Atlantic Coast and Southeastern. Notre Dame, Miami, Florida State and the major programs in the East were independents.There are now over 30 bowl games, seven of which this year are not even able to feature two teams with winning season records. The concept of "tradition" has been diluted by frequent name changes. The Bluebonnet Bowl morphed into the galleryfurniture.com Bowl, then the EV1.net Houston Bowl, then became the Texas Bowl, the Meinecke Car Care Bowl of Texas, and is now the Texas Bowl.
There were five traditional bowls for these teams: Rose (continuously since January 1916), Orange (1935), Sugar (1935), Cotton (1937) and Gator (1946). The Sun Bowl in El Paso and the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando were inviting teams from the second tier of college football.
It's all about money. It probably was in the 1960s as well, but it wasn't so blatant.