Now, 86 Teams Will Partake of the Holiday Gridiron Spirit
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It's time to recall how this entire bowl thing began.
Back in 1902, Pasadena's Tournament of Roses was seeking something to put a capper to the various quaint competitions that were part of its festivities. But tugs-of-war and jousting just didn't have that je ne sais quoi to serve as a headliner.
They needed something the masses could well and truly party around. One event they actually tried was this:
But the timing wasn't good. Rome had already fallen and neither Charlton Heston nor NASCAR were around yet. That's when some bright light suggested a rowdy new sport that President Teddy Roosevelt would ultmately threaten to ban. Besides the thrill of viewing imminent danger, it would bring two large outa-town throngs with it to join in the revelry and local spending.
It looked like they were on to something. The stands at the time seated 1000 fans, but 8000 and counting had poured in.
So all seemed well and good. Until Michigan demolished Stanford, 49-0. The lopsided result kept football from returning until 1916. Who knew it would be Washington State and Brown to rekindle the flame?
But rekindle they did, and the rest was college partying history. Not until Spring Break was invented did anything come close to the phenomenon.
That's the DNA the Grandaddy of Them All passed along, and proudly may its seed proliferate.
- More of the NCAA's unpaid student-athletes get swag without sanctions;
- One more road trip with hardly anything on the line and lotsa parties;
- More sports on TV; and
- More time to re-consider that trip to Gamblers Anonymous.
Meanwhile, a few big brands will still get to wear their bikinis and slashes while being judged for anointment at season's end. Let 'em do what they do, and let as many others as possible have their fun.
It's the true spirit of the Rose Bowl.