Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Saturday’s Rose Bowl Game

Published on Dec 29, 2021

The Utah Utes and the Ohio State Buckeyes are meeting for only the second time in history when they face off in the 108th Rose Bowl Game, presented by Capital One, in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Their first meeting was in 1986 at the Ohio Stadium in Columbus, where the Buckeyes won against the Utes, 64-6.

Now, Ohio, being the highest-ranked non-playoff team in the Big Ten, will take on the Pac-12 champion before a live audience that normally exceeds 90,000 at the Rose Bowl Stadium and over 16 million TV viewers in the U.S. and around the world.

The Buckeyes have been in the Rose Bowl Game 15 times, winning in eight of those games, the last time in 2019.

Utah will be appearing for the first time in the New Year’s Day game, although they’ve played a number of times against UCLA in the Pasadena stadium, including four games as a Pac-12 Conference member.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham, the 2021 Pac-12 Coach of the Year, will lead Utah into the Rose Bowl after winning the program’s first Pac-12 championship on December 3 with a 38-10 win over Oregon at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.  Whittingham is in his 17th year as Utah’s head coach.

Ryan Day is coaching the Buckeyes, a position he has held since 2019. He is the 24th head football coach at Ohio State. He was also the acting head coach for the Buckeyes for the first three games of the 2018 season. Day is the first Ohio State coach to win Big Ten championships in his first two years as coach, in 2019 and again in 2020, and he has also set the standard by leading the Buckeyes into the College Football Playoffs for two consecutive years.

Affectionately called the ‘Granddaddy of Them All’, the Rose Bowl Game was first played at Tournament Park on January 1, 1902, matching the West Coast’s Stanford against Midwestern Michigan. It wasn’t called the Rose Bowl Game then, but the Tournament East-West Football Game. Michigan routed Stanford, 49-0, in the match, prompting the football contest to be replaced with Roman-style chariot races inspired by the literary classic Ben-Hur.

It was only in 1916 that football was permanently reinstated as part of the Tournament of Roses tradition.

In 1923, USC beat Penn State, 14-3, in the first Tournament of Roses Game ever that was held in the newly-built Rose Bowl Stadium. The horseshoe shaped stadium held 57,000 and was deeded to the City of Pasadena by the Tournament of Roses Association.

Now famous as America’s Stadium, the Rose Bowl is a National Historic Landmark that has also earned its world-class reputation by hosting five NFL Super Bowls, 1984 Olympic soccer matches, the 1994 Men’s World Cup, the 1999 Women’s World Cup, four BCS National College Football Championships, and numerous other memorable events. The stadium will be 100 years old in 2022.

Whichever team wins on January 1 will win the Rose Bowl Game trophy, also known as the Leishman Trophy. The trophy is named in honor of the 1920 Tournament of Roses President, William L. Leishman, who was responsible for the construction of the Rose Bowl Stadium, and his son, Lathrop K. Leishman, who was the 1939 Tournament of Roses President. The younger Leishman was instrumental in helping establish the Rose Bowl Game as “The Granddaddy of Them All.”

The approximately 21-inch-tall design, crafted by Tiffany and Co. since 2005, features a three-fourth size football rendered entirely in sterling silver. Master artisans employ age-old techniques – spinning, silversmithing, chasing, etching, and polishing – to create the trophy. The process takes about three months to complete, the Tournament of Roses Association said.

For more information about the Rose Bowl Game, including ticketing information and public transportation schedules to the Stadium, visit

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