Football Rose Bowl

Football Rose Bowl

The Rose Bowl is the most prestigious and oldest bowl game in college football today. It has a long and rich history dating back to its first game in 1902. Keep reading to learn all about the Rose Bowl in college football!

What is the Rose Bowl in Football?

The Rose Bowl game is one of the New Year’s Six, a group of six major college football games that takes place on or around January 1st. The game is held in the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California. In 2015, the Rose Bowl officially became part of the College Football Playoffs (CFP) alongside the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Orange Bowl, and the Peach Bowl. As the oldest of these college bowl games, the Rose Bowl is popularly nicknamed “The Granddaddy of Them All.”

Basic Information:

  • Stadium: Rose Bowl Stadium
  • Location: Pasadena, California
  • First Game: January 1, 1902
  • Conference Affiliation: Big Ten, PAC-12 (when not a CFP Semifinal)
  • Most Appearances: USC (34 appearances)
  • Most Wins: USC (25 wins)

Rose Bowl 2022

The Rose Bowl will be held on January 2nd, 2023, and will feature the Penn State Nittany Lions versus the Utah Utes. The game will be played at 5:00 p.m. EST at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California. Rose Bowl tickets start at around $200 for upper-level seating and range to over $1,000 for seating near the field. 

Conference Affiliation

The Rose Bowl has a conference tie-in with the Big 10 and the PAC-12 conferences. Whenever it is not hosting a National College Football semi-final, it traditionally brings together the champions of those two conferences. It is the oldest bowl game in existence.

Rose Bowl History

The first Rose Bowl game was played on January 1, 1902, at Tournament Park in Pasadena, California. It was then called the “Tournament East-West football game” and was a way to fund the local Rose Parade. University of Michigan handily defeated Stanford University in that first matchup. After a decade of other competitions, the Rose Bowl as we know it was first held in 1916, again on New Year’s Day. Washington State University, known then as State College of Washington, defeated Brown University.

Though the game was initially held elsewhere, the Rose Bowl moved in 1923 to its current stadium of the same name just three miles away. In the more than a century since that game, the Rose Bowl has been regularly dominated by the University of Southern California. Since their first appearance (and win) in 1923, the team has played a record 34 total times so far and won a record 25 of those appearances. Though traditionally tied to just the champions of the Big Ten and PAC-12 conferences, the Rose Bowl only officially became part of the national championship system in 2002 and formally joined the College Football Playoffs (CFP) system in 2015.

Rose Bowl Payout

Like other Power 5 bowls, winning the Rose Bowl comes with a base payout estimated around $66 million. The winning team also, of course, receives the prestigious honor of receiving the Rose Bowl trophy, also known as the Leishman Trophy, in addition to their payout. Some of the greatest college football programs have received this honor, most notably USC, University of Michigan, University of Washington, and Ohio State University.


Why is it called the Rose Bowl?

The Rose Bowl got its name from the nearby Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. In fact, the game was first played in 1902 as a way of supporting the parade. Since the game was consistently so lopsided in favor of the University of Michigan, the parade tried hosting chariot races and other such sporting events. In 1916, the tradition was exclusively returned to college football and has remained that way to this day.

When is the Rose Bowl?

The Rose Bowl typically occurs on or around January 1st every year. For its proximity to the holiday, the annual bowl game is one of six bowl games informally referred to as the New Year’s Six. Whenever January 1st falls on a Sunday, the Rose Bowl is traditionally played on January 2nd instead.

Where is the Rose Bowl played?

The Rose Bowl is currently played at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California. The stadium of the same name has been the default host site of the Rose Bowl game since it was first played there in 1923. Due to this long history, the stadium has also been unofficially nicknamed “America’s Stadium.” Before its current location, the Rose Bowl was played at Tournament Park a few miles away (also in Pasadena). There have also been rare occasions in which the game had to be temporarily moved to a new location.