A Rose By Any Other Name

January 1, 2018 Pasadena CA, Rose Bowl stadium full for the NCAA College Football at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Ca. on January 1, 2018. Jevone Moore

Pasadena, CA – In the insanity of 2020 College Football has emerged as the sport most accurately depicting the fear, division and uncertainty of the United States. In the wake of California’s statewide policy of not allowing any fans at any sporting events due to the COVID-19 Pandemic; the College Football Playoff(CFP) was forced to make the monumental decision to relocate the 2021 Rose Bowl from Pasadena to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game will take place on January 1, 2021 and will be broadcast by ESPN.

Rose Bowl Pre-Game Art at the Rose Bowl game, Pasadena, CA. on January 1, 2016. Photo by Jevone Moore fi360 News

In a matchup of arguably the two most iconic programs in College Football number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will face the number four ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first semi-final of the College Football Playoff. It is not yet determined if the CFP semifinal in Arlington will be called the CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One. The name is a part of the Master License Agreement and is co-owned by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and the City of Pasadena. 

“We know that the decision was not an easy one to make,” said David Eads, Tournament of Roses CEO and Executive Director. “While we remain confident that a game could have been played at the Rose Bowl Stadium, as evident in the other collegiate and professional games taking place in the region, the projection of COVID-19 cases in the region has continued on an upward trend.”

“We are very grateful to Rose Bowl officials and the City of Pasadena. They have worked hard to listen to the concerns of the CFP, the teams that might have played there, and their state and government officials,” said Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff. 

The Tournament of Roses received word late this week that the State of California would not make a special exception for player guests at the game. Additionally, with significant strain on medical resources throughout Los Angeles County, the Tournament of Roses recognizes that the well-being of the student-athlete needs to come first and that continues to be our top priority.

Florida State vs Oregon Ducks at the Rose Bowl in College Football Playoff - Coach Press Conferences
Florida State vs Oregon Ducks at the Rose Bowl in College Football Playoff – Heisman Trophy Winners

Since March, all sporting events played in California have been unable to host spectators and participant families. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses made its first appeal for a special exception at the Rose Bowl Game in November and made a second request to the state in December. Both requests were denied.

 There was a tense atmosphere in the room as the distinguished College Football Commitee panel determined not only the fate of the games locale, but also the difficulty of selecting the four teams. Texas A & M, Cincinnati and the Oklahoma Sooners were left on the outside looking in.

While the Pasadena Tournament of Roses is extremely disappointed that this year’s game will not take place at the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, the decision to move the game is based on the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Southern California along with the inability to host player and coach guests at any game in California.The last time the Rose Bowl game was played outside Pasadena, California, was 1942. The game between Oregon State and Duke was played in Durham, North Carolina, because the West Coast was deemed unsafe after the attacks on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly — expressed doubts about playing in the Rose Bowl if players’ families couldn’t be in attendance. 

Clemson Tigers wide receiver Tee Higgins #5 making a touchdown catch in the second half of the National Championship Bay Area 2019 between Alabama vs Clemson game at Levis Stadium on Monday January 07, 2019 (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Why would we play if you can’t have families at the game?” Kelly said. If you can’t have families at bowl games, why would you go to a game where your families can’t be part of it? What’s the sense of playing a game in an area of the country where nobody can be part of it?”

The Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide have a bowl game history.  In the 2012 BCS Title game the Crimson Tide won 42–14. 

 In the other semi-final, the ACC champs Clemson Tigers will face the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January, 1st. 

 Big 10 champion Ohio State, akin to Notre Dame, is also a controversial pick, since the Buckeyes only played six games. The winners of each semi-final will meet in the College Football National Championship game, in Miami, Florida on January 11th.