The Granddaddy of them all. The Rose Bowl, probably the most iconic bowl game in college football. Since the beginning of college football, the Rose Bowl has been one of the most important games in the sport’s history. The Rose Bowl has traditionally hosted the winner of the Big Ten and the Pac-12 but has been the host to teams from other conferences on various occasions. The scenery around the stadium has helped give the game an unmatched view as the sun sets over the mountains while the game enters the second half. Pasadena has been the site for some of the most iconic games in college football history which is why the Rose Bowl is number five in 99 Things.
The first Rose Bowl was hosted in 1902. The game was originally known as the Tournament East–West football game. The game has been played annually since 1916 and played in Pasadena every season except two. The game was moved in 1942 to North Carolina due to the start of World War II. The 2021 editions was moved to Texas because of Covid-19 regulations in California. The Rose Bowl has traditionally been played on January 1st. The game has occasionally moved to January 2nd if the game falls on a Sunday to avoid scheduling conflicts with the NFL. The tradition of the Rose Bowl helps to culminate every college football season and a game most fans look forward to during bowl season.
The Rose Bowl has been the site of two BCS National Championships and three College Football Playoff games. A few of these games have gone down in history as some of the best games in the sport’s history. The 2006 Rose Bowl is commonly referred to as the best game ever. USC and Texas entered the national championship game after finishing the season with perfect records. USC was led by Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart who both won Heisman trophies in their college career. Texas was led by Vince Young who finished second in Heisman voting. Young scored the game winning touchdown with less than a minute left in the game. Legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson could not have picked a better game to finish his storied career. The game also was the highest-rated BCS game in TV history with 21.7% of households watching it.
The 2018 Rose Bowl featured the second College Football Playoff game to be played in Pasadena. Oklahoma and Georgia squared up for a chance to play in the national championship. Oklahoma was led by Heisman winner Baker Mayfield while Georgia’s team featured Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Oklahoma led 31-14 just before halftime. A last second field goal allowed Georgia to make the score 21-17 at halftime. Georgia was able to tie the game at 31 before the end of the third quarter. Both teams traded blows which resulted in the game going to overtime. Georgia scored a touchdown in double overtime giving the Bulldogs at 54-48 victory. The 2018 edition set numerous records for the Rose Bowl. On top of being the first Rose Bowl to go to overtime, Georgia and Oklahoma also scored the most points in the game’s history. Georgia overcame a 17-point deficit which was the largest comeback in Rose Bowl history.
Bowl season has continued to grow year after year but the original bowl games continue to be the best to watch. Fans from other conferences may not have the sentimental value of the Rose Bowl but it is still a great game to watch. The Rose Bowl will host the College Football Playoffs once again following the 2023 season. The landscape of the sport may continue to change and the playoffs will likely change as well. Uncertainty surrounds college football but we know the Rose Bowl will be included in some shape or form.