Alabama set to add new chapter to its storied Rose Bowl history

Rose Bowl
Alabama will get to add to its Rose Bowl history January 1. (“The BCS National Championship” by 50%ChanceofRain is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

After defeating the University of Georgia 27-24 Saturday in the SEC Championship game, the Alabama Crimson Tide learned Sunday they would face Michigan in the Rose Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

Alabama and the Rose Bowl have a pretty storied history together — I mean, it’s in the Crimson Tide’s fight song — so getting to play in “The Granddaddy of Them All” is a special occasion indeed.

‘Remember the Rose Bowl we’ll win then…’

Rose Bowl
Jimmy Angelich carries the ball in the 1935 Rose Bowl” by Los Angeles Times is licensed under CC BY 4.0

The Rose Bowl earned the moniker “The Granddaddy of Them All” by being college football’s first bowl game, and in the early stages of college football’s rise in popularity often served as the de facto national championship game in the 1920s and 1930s.

But teams from the South were not invited to play in the game for the first 20 years of its existence. This is what made the 1926 Rose Bowl significant in many ways.

Coach Wallace Wade’s undefeated Alabama team (who had given up just one touchdown all season) faced Washington in that game and won 20-19, capturing the Tide’s first national championship. This not only put Alabama on the college football map, but put the nation on notice that southern schools were serious contenders in college football.

This opened the door for schools like Georgia Tech, Tulane, SMU, Tennessee and Duke to get invitations to the game in the years to come.

Rose Bowl
Crimson Tide Special” by Diamondduste is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Bama would go on to play in the Rose Bowl the following season, tying Stanford 7-7 and earning a share of the national championship that season as well.

In fact, the Tide would play in the Rose Bowl four more times until the game’s participants became limited to the Big 10 champion vs. the PAC- 8 (later the PAC-10) champion from 1947-2001. The Tide was the last school not in the PAC-10 or Big 10 to play in game until 2002.

Alabama’s Rose Bowl appearances included:

  • 1931 – Alabama 24, Washington State 0
  • 1935 – Alabama 29, Stanford 13
  • 1938 – Cal 13, Alabama 0
  • 1946 – Alabama 34, USC 14

Alabama’s success in the Rose Bowl in the 1920s was the inspiration for the Crimson Tide’s fight song, “Yea, Alabama!” The song was written in 1926 after the Tide’s first appearance in the game, with the line, “Remember the Rose Bowl, we’ll win then…”

And even after the game became closed off to teams outside the PAC-10 and Big 10, the line in the song remained to remind Bama faithful of when the Crimson Tide’s storied football history began.

A return to the Rose Bowl

Rose Bowl
Alabama returned to Pasadena in 2010 for the National Championship Game against Texas. )”File:2010 BCS Champ.jpg” by Bband11th is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Although technically not the official Rose Bowl, Alabama would return to Pasadena for the 2009 National Championship Game against Texas, where the Tide won their first of six national championships under Nick Saban — defeating the Longhorns 37-21.

Alabama would play in the game again in 2021, but because of COVID-19 restrictions in California, the game between the Tide and Notre Dame was moved to Arlington, Texas, where Bama defeated the Fighting Irish 31-14 en route to an undefeated season and another national title.

The 2024 Rose Bowl

2023 Sec Title
Alabama Crimson Tide celebrating the SEC title in Atlanta. (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

Alabama’s victory Saturday in the SEC Championship game secured the Tide’s invitation to the 2024 Rose Bowl — CFP semifinal game against top-ranked Michigan — which will be played on New Years Day at 2PM PT(That’s 4PM Central Time, by the way).

The Crimson Tide and Wolverines will meet for the sixth time in the history of the series that dates back to 1988. It will mark the second straight time the two storied programs will meet in the postseason as Alabama defeated Michigan, 35-16, in the 2019 Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. With that win, the Tide now leads the all-time series, 3-2.

The winner of the Semifinal between Alabama and Michigan will meet the winner of the contest between the No. 2 Washington Huskies and the No. 3 Texas Longhorns, who will play in the CFP Semifinal Game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Superdome in New Orleans on Jan. 1.

The 2024 CFP National Championship Game is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 8 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Tickets for the Rose Bowl are on sale now, and can be purchased through Ticketmaster, Vivid SeatsStubHub and Seat Geek.

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Michael Seale
Michael Seale
Articles: 107