Originally titled the “Tournament East-West football game,” the Rose Bowl was first played on January 1, 1902, starting the tradition of New Year’s Day bowl games. The inaugural game featured Fielding Yost’s dominating 1901 Michigan team, representing the East, who 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 11-0-0 and was considered the national champion … 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, in 1916 football returned to stay.
Michigan vs. Stanford – First Rose Bowl Game – 1902 , Michigan In Pictures, December 28, 2006.
Did you know that following Pearl Harbor, the Rose Bowl was moved to Duke University in 1942? (the Red Tape Editor was a Duke undergraduate!) For more information, see Wikipedia’s Rose Bowl entry