Growing up, one of my favorite was the International Bowl. As a kid, the idea of two college football teams playing in Canada and furthermore, in the Blue Jays' stadium was always so mind-blowing to me. Even though the bowl lasted from 2006 to 2009, the idea of a bowl game in Canada is not far-fetched considering the Bahamas Bowl is about to enter its tenth year.
A quiet, but intriguing development this Spring has been the proliferation of Division I college basketball events in Canada. Last season, Stephen F. Austin, Quinnipiac, Hofstra, Middle Tennessee, UNC-Greensboro, and Montana State all traveled to Montreal for the Northern Classic. This year, not only will Toronto host a huge doubleheader featuring matchups between Purdue and Alabama and TCU and Clemson, but Moncton, New Brunswick will host The Atlantic Slam featuring Weber State, Yale, and Gardner-Webb.
It seems like it is only a matter of time before Division I college football re-enters Canada. There are several schools in the northeast, particularly in the CAA that are manageable distances from cities like Ottawa and Montreal, both home to CFL franchises. An Albany-New Hampshire game in either Ottawa or Montreal would be ideal with both schools being located within 400 miles of both cities.
Ottawa's historic TD Place Stadium and Montreal's Olympic Stadium are both worthy sites for a college football game with lots of history. For a Toronto game, Buffalo seems like the ideal "home team" as the city is less than two hours away from Toronto. Many NFL fans remember the Buffalo Bills' ill-fated yearly home games in Toronto, so the Bulls are a natural fit.
Even Atlantic Canadian cities like Moncton and Halifax could host FCS games as the University of Maine is less than a seven-hour drive from Halifax and Moncton. Moncton has hosted four CFL regular season games as part of the CFL's Touchdown Atlantic series.
Out west, Washington could host one of their FCS or Group of Five opponents at Vancouver's BC Place. While BC Place seats less than Washington's 70,000-seat Husky Stadium, its capacity of over 54,000 is more than enough to accommodate an FCS-FBS game and the special occasion of an international game makes up for the difference in capacity.
If NCAA college basketball can sell in Canada, there is no reason to believe FBS football will not be a great draw too. College football in Ireland is about to become a yearly tradition, so why not bring college football to our northern neighbors?