What is the Rose Bowl?

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  • Written By: Sherry Holetzky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Americans love their football, including college football. The Rose Bowl is a contest between top-rated college teams and is usually scheduled for New Year’s Day, as a part of the Tournament of Roses Festival. This event includes the popular Tournament of Roses Parade, which has become not only a well-loved tradition but an increasingly more extravagant event. The parade features elaborate floats made with rose petals, and there are various other activities during this celebration, not the least of which is the Rose Bowl game.

A popular nickname for the Rose Bowl is “The Granddaddy of Them All.” The overall event grew so quickly that people as far away as the East Coast began to learn about it. Today, the parade as well as the Rose Bowl football game are both televised, and millions of people from coast to coast tune in to watch both events each year.

The first Rose Bowl game was played on 1 January 1902. That first contest began the tradition of New Year’s Day being a big day for football, which continues on. Various details have changed over the years, including the location of the Rose Bowl. The first games were played in Tournament Park, before the Rose Bowl Stadium was built nearby in the early 1920’s. The Rose Bowl began as a contest between one team from the each conference that are today known as the Big Ten and the Pacific Ten, or “Pac-10.”


There is some controversy regarding which teams will play in the Rose Bowl, since the inception of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system. The teams are rated according to the BCS, which means that on some occasions, the season champions will not be the teams to meet in the Rose Bowl. However, this hasn’t kept fans away or kept viewers from tuning in. In fact, in January 2006, when the University of Southern California lost to the Texas Longhorns in a huge upset, that year’s Rose Bowl was cited as having the highest ratings for any college football game in nearly 20 years.


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What happens to all the floats after the parade? How are they disassembled and what happens to all the flowers?

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