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Who Won the First Rose Bowl

The Rose Bowl is an annual college football game usually played on New Year’s Day (January 1). It is the oldest college bowl game and is often considered to be the most important. Currently, the Rose Bowl is played between the Pacific-12 and the Big Ten conference champions (unless those teams are involved in the national championship game). The first Rose Bowl was played on January 1, 1902, at Tournament Park in Pasadena, California. Let’s find out who won the first ever Rose Bowl.

Who won the first Rose Bowl?
A black and white image of the first rose bowl.
(click to enlarge)
The first Rose Bowl was known as the “Tournament East-West football game” and is was played as a part of the Tournament of Roses Parade as a way to increase tourism in the area. The first game featured the Michigan Wolverines (representing the East) and Stanford University (representing the West). There was no score in the first quarter of the game, but Michigan led 17-0 by half time. By the final quarter Michigan was 49-0 and the Stanford captain (Ralph Fisher) asked the Michigan captain (Hugh White) if the game could be stopped. They agreed and the teams left the field with 8 minutes remaining. The estimated attendance was 8,000-8,500, but the crowd was obviously not thrilled with the lopsided result because the next Rose Bowl game was not held until 1916. The Tournament of Roses officials decided to replace the game with chariot and ostrich races! The second coming was much more of a success and it became so popular that a new stadium had to be built to cope with the extra spectators (see below)

Did you know?
Stanford were always going to struggle against the Wolverines. In fact, Michigan finished the season 11-0 and they had a scored a total of 501 points without letting their opponents score a single point in 1901! The team was nicknamed “Point-a-Minute” for this remarkable feat!

The current Rose Bowl is held in the stadium of the same name. This stadium is about 3 miles from Tournament Park (the original location of the game). Tournament Park was replaced in 1922 because it could not host the number of spectators (Rose Bowl stadium has a capacity of 94,392) that were coming each year. It is now a private park run by the California Institute of Technology.

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