January 1, 1902: The first of the year is all about celebrating the new year ahead, lots of food and beverage, and of course, football. And there is no better college football bowl game on New Year's Day than the Rose Bowl, aka "The Grand Daddy of Them All". The first ever of these spectacles was played in 1902 when the University of Michigan crushed Stanford, 49-0, at Pasadena, CA, and was crowned national champion. Back then it wasn't called the Rose Bowl, but the Tournament of Roses Football Game.
The Rose Bowl Game has traditionally hosted the conference champions from the Big Ten and Pac-12 (formally Pac-10), but the BCS era changed that format to set up championship matches. And now, today, the first-ever College Football Playoff game will fittingly be played on the same field when the University of Oregon takes on Florida State University.
Since 1945 this bowl game is the highest attended game of any of the bowls, according to Wikepedia.
Here are some Jeopardy-esque facts about the game you may have never known: The only time the game wasn't played in Pasadena was in 1942 because after Pearl Harbor there were fears of attacks on the West Coast. The game that year was moved to Durham, North Carolina. Also, 14 times the game has been played on January 2 due to the fact that January 1 fell on a Sunday.
USC has played in the most Rose Bowls, with 33 appearances, followed by Michigan (20); Ohio State, Stanford, and Washington (14 each); and UCLA (12). USC has also won the most Rose Bowls (24), followed by Michigan (8), Washington and Ohio State (7 each), and Stanford (6), while Michigan has lost the most (12), followed by USC (9), Ohio State, UCLA and Stanford (7 each), Washington and Wisconsin (6 each).
There have been so many great Rose Bowl games. It's hard to top the 2006 BCS Championship Game between No. 1 USC and No. 2 Texas when Vince Young of Texas defeated Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush of USC, 41-38. Some say it's the best college football game ever played:
Here's to you Grandaddy. Happy New Year to all.