The Rose Bowl is an annual American college football bowl game, usually played on January 1 (New Year's Day) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. When New Year's Day falls on a Sunday, the game is played on Monday, January 2. The Rose Bowl is nicknamed "The Granddaddy of Them All" because it is the oldest bowl game. It was first played in 1902, and has been played annually since 1916. Since 1945, it has been the highest attended college football bowl game. It is a part of the Tournament of Roses "America's New Year Celebration", which also includes the historic Tournament of Roses Parade. Except in the years when the Rose Bowl served as the BCS National Championship Game, the Rose Bowl Game has continued to be played in the afternoon.
In 2002 and 2006 (2001 and 2005 football seasons), the Rose Bowl game was also the BCS National Championship Game. In the current BCS alignment, the Rose Bowl hosts the Big Ten and Pacific-12 conference champions unless they are involved in the national championship game. Beginning with the 2012 Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl game representative teams from the Big Ten and Pacific-12 conferences are determined by Big Ten Football Championship Game and Pacific-12 Football Championship Game, respectively.
Originally titled the "Tournament East-West football game," the first Rose Bowl was played on January 1, 1902, starting the tradition of New Year's Day bowl games. The inaugural game featured Fielding H. Yost's dominating 1901 Michigan team, representing the East, which crushed a previously 3-1-2 team from Stanford University, representing the West, by a score of 49–0 after Stanford quit in the third quarter. Michigan finished the season 11–0 and was crowned the national champion. Yost had been Stanford's coach the previous year. The game was so lopsided that for the next 15 years, the Tournament of Roses officials ran chariot races, ostrich races, and other various events instead of football. But, on New Year's Day 1916 football returned to stay as The State College of Washington (now Washington State University) defeated Brown University in the first annual Rose Bowl with that explicit name. The Rose Bowl football game was added in 1902 to help fund the cost of the parade.