Best Places to Watch The Rose Bowl


This year’s Rose Bowl will ring in the new year with a contest between the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners and the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs. Fans of Oklahoma (Big 12 champs) and Georgia (SEC champs) have a lot to be excited about (this is the first time the teams have met in the Rose Bowl), but traveling to Pasadena may not be in the cards for most fans. Where, then, can they take in the game with like-minded souls as they cheer on their favorite college football team?

Good news. Fans of either team don’t have to stray too far from campus to take in the game with their fellow students, alumni, and fans.

Oklahoma Sooners

The Mont

The Mont is a Norman institution and is located just a few blocks away from OU. Reviewers say the atmosphere is phenomenal, as is the food, but many start game day with an Original Sooner Swirl in hand.

The Garage Burgers and Beer

The Garage in Norman, Oklahoma, is a hot spot for burgers and game-watchin’. They offer traditional burgers alongside a plethora of specialities such as the Sticky Finger, which features peanut butter and jalapeno relish on a bacon cheeseburger (reviewers insist it’s amazing, even though it sounds a bit odd). Add in a fab game-watching atmosphere and terrific locale, and it may be just where you head on New Year’s Day.

Louie’s Grill and Bar

There are tons of Louie’s scattered around the OKC metro area, but for those who are on or near campus, there is one located right on the edge of the university (in fact, its location is termed “Campus Corner”). Reviewers say this is a great place to take in a game, as there are multiple TVs scattered throughout.

Georgia Bulldogs

Blind Pig Tavern

Bulldogs fans that love fried pickles – we’ve got your game day locale scouted out for some quality Rose Bowl watching. Blind Pig Tavern will definitely have the game on while you look over the menu (which includes other awesomeness aside from fried pickles – don’t worry). There are three locations to choose from, all right there in Athens.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is known for a variety of kick-ass food, including burgers, wings, and dogs. Reviewers rave about the excellent food and great service, and they’re totally all about the Bulldogs (and other Georgia teams, of course). This may be your only stop on Rose Bowl day for food, drinks, and the game.


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Bar South

Plenty of TVs make Bar South a go-to spot for the Rose Bowl. It doesn’t hurt that it has an amazing beer selection and super good food, too. They usually run specials on big game days, so belly up to the table and get well-fed while getting your Bulldogs fix as they take on the Sooners.

Food, Drinks, and Large TVs

If you’re lucky enough to be traveling to California for the Rose Bowl, or if you have other plans like checking out one of these amazing pubs (or really, hanging out at home with your best buds), be sure to check out the vast selection of Sooners and Bulldogs gear at Fanatics.


Iowa vs. Stanford – After the Rose Bowl

Iowa vs Stanford in the Rose Bowl 2015 - Their Players' NFL careers after the Rose Bowl

As Iowa prepares to face Stanford on New Year’s Day at the 2016 Rose Bowl, fans are considering the type of matchup to expect. A team that radically reinvented itself this season, Iowa will play in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for the first time since 1990. Prior to the course correction, Iowa failed to surpass an 8-4 season record since 2009, and season ticket sales are projected to drop 10 percent this season from the season prior. This year, however, Iowa is 12-1 and missed an invitation to the National Championship Playoffs by losing to Michigan State at the Big Ten Championship – the team’s only loss this season.

Iowa – traditionally a big, hard-hitting, offense driven by tight ends and fullbacks – found success this year by emphasizing overlooked elements of Iowa football (such as punt returns) as well as perfecting their running game. Iowa will face a Rose Bowl standard in Stanford; the team has appeared at the Pasadena Classic in three of the last four seasons. A much smaller but faster team, Stanford has historically fared poorly against big-hitting teams – as illustrated by the team’s season opener against Northwestern, which it lost 16-6. With an 11-2 record to defend, however, the Cardinal are set to defy expectations.

If one were to use the success of Iowa’s and Stanford’s NFL draftees to speak of the historical quality of the teams, a complicated picture emerges. We compiled the playing records of the 95 Iowa and Stanford Rose Bowl alumni who have been drafted into the NFL and present the study below. Examine the results to discover the type of star players the team typically send to the Rose Bowl in order to determine not only what to expect on New Year’s Day, but what this game will mean for the league in the future.

Iowa vs Stanford - Success after the Rose Bowl

Tale of the Tape

The 48 Iowa draftees who have played in the Rose Bowl have amassed 27 Pro Bowl appearances and 72 NFL/AFL playoff appearances. They also have seen 228 collective years in the NFL and have racked up an astounding 22,121 yards from the line of scrimmage – including 17,519 yards in receiving. This is surprising, considering that Iowa is a tight end/fullback-friendly team.

Despite the impressive stats, no Iowa Rose Bowl alumnus has ever appeared in a Super Bowl or NFL Championship Game. In contrast, Stanford’s 47 Rose Bowl alumni/NFL draftees have played in six Super Bowls (winning four), amassed nine Pro Bowl appearances, and scored a combined 2,822 points – including 455 touchdowns.

Of the 95 Rose Bowl draftees from both teams, an astounding 41 were drafted as defensive ends, free safeties, linebackers, defensive backs, or defensive linemen. This suggests that, overwhelmingly, NFL scouts appreciate both teams’ ability to produce quality defensive players. These 41 players averaged in excess of 30 games played in the league.

Eleven of the drafted players were quarterbacks. Despite this, no Rose Bowl quarterback has been drafted from either school in the first round since Chuck Long in 1986.

Successful Pro's from Iowa vs Stanford after the Rose Bowl

After the Rose Bowl

The players drafted from the Rose Bowl from the two teams cut an interesting profile. Take, for example, Stanford’s Jim Plunkett, a Heisman Trophy–winning quarterback who won the award over Archie Manning and Joe Theismann. Even though he was drafted by the New England Patriots and traded to the San Francisco 49ers, his career didn’t truly start until his ninth year in the league, when he was traded to the Oakland Raiders to be their third-string quarterback.

After a series of retirements and injuries, Plunkett became the starting quarterback. During his first season as lead quarterback, he won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. He threw 2,299 yards for 18 touchdowns, went 9-2 in games started, and won MVP in Super Bowl XV, which the Raiders won over the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10.

Three years later, he led the Raiders to another Super Bowl win after losing and regaining his starting quarterback position. Although his 72-72 games started record probably means he will not make it to the Hall of Fame, Plunkett is still the first quarterback of Latino descent to ever win a Super Bowl.

As Iowa and Stanford prepare to meet on New Year’s Day – one to protect and improve on its reputation as a perennial Rose Bowl guest and the other to seek to justify the change in mind that saw an end to years of stagnation – fans ponder who will be the next Rose Bowl alumnus to enter the NFL. Ultimately, “the Grandaddy of Them All” is the highest stage at which NFL hopefuls can dream of playing; it is more than likely that the finest athletes to play in Pasadena have yet to take the field.


Best of the Rose Bowl: the 2001 Miami Hurricanes

The Best of The Rose Bowl

2001 happened under the most improbable of situations. The University of Miami was in deep decline after losing 31 scholarships, climaxing in a rare losing season in 1997. However, under then–head coach Butch Davis, the Hurricanes recovered to the point that in 2000, the team only lost one game. The decision by the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) to deny Miami a slot in the 2000 National Championship Game lit a fire under the team for the 2001 season, leading to a perfect season and the national championship.

The concentration of talent amassed by Davis and exploited by 2001 head coach Larry Coker from a mixture of in-depth field analysis and “creative” recruiting – such as awarding star players track and field scholarships and then having them “walk on” to the football team – had never been seen in a college team and has yet to be duplicated. The 2001 Hurricanes saw 38 players drafted into the NFL, 17 of whom went in the first round of the Draft. With 46 Pro Bowl appearances, 13 Super Bowl appearances, and seven Super Bowl wins, the 2001 Hurricanes arguably are the best team ever to play in the Rose Bowl.

Measuring Greatness; Miami Hurricanes

To assess the success of the 2001 Hurricanes in the NFL, look no further than the quarterback, Ken Dorsey. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and current quarterback coach for the Carolina Panthers – the NFL’s only undefeated team as of Week 15 – Dorsey made 13 starts for the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns and completed 214 of 408 passes for 2,082 yards and eight touchdowns.

By the numbers, the 2001 team was exceptional. The combined tenure of the 2001 Hurricanes in the NFL was 247 years. The team produced 32,151 NFL rushing yards from the line of scrimmage and 33,956 receiving yards. They produced 429 league touchdowns, including 27 defensive scores and seven kickoff returns. The team’s bench, which included Willis McGahee, Vince Wilfork, Sean Taylor, Antrel Rolle, Frank Gore, and Kellen Winslow II, had 18 Pro Bowl appearances among the six players listed alone.

While there will always be an open debate about whether the 2001 Hurricanes or the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers were the best college football team of all time, no one can deny that the Hurricanes are a contender. The team’s 37-14 win over Nebraska in the 2002 Rose Bowl introduced the world to a team that outscored their opponents 512-117, beat Syracuse and Washington back to back for the largest margin of victory against two ranked teams (124-7), and yielded the best point differential of any national champion (+395).

The NFL productivity of the 2001 Miami Hurricanes players

Heads of the Class

In a constellation of stars, it is difficult at times to point out the brightest. But some of the 2001 Hurricanes had stronger NFL careers than others. Take, for example, safety Ed Reed. In his 12-years career that saw him play for the Baltimore Ravens, the New York Jets, and the Houston Texans, Reed collected 531 tackles and 64 interceptions – making him seventh on the list of all-time interception leaders. With nine Pro Bowl appearances and nine defensive touchdowns, Reed is one of the best defensive players to have played in the league.

Miami reserve running back Frank Gore is still lighting up the scoreboard, with four touchdowns and 762 rushing yards this season. With 11,775 total rushing yards – 15th on the all-time records – and 68 touchdowns, the five-time Pro Bowler and first-year Indianapolis Colt (previously, he played for the 49ers) is seeing rushing stats at par for his career average. Wide receiver Andre Johnson – also a Colt – is the eighth all-time receptions leader at 1,040 with 13,964 career receiving yards, the 10th-most in league history.

Standout professionals from the 2001 Miami Hurricanes


Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, reflecting on his time with the Hurricanes to Fox Sports, said, “There may have been a USC team that came close. I don’t think any of the other teams come close, from every perspective; point differential, number of guys drafted into the league, the length of the careers of guys in the league once they got there, whatever you want to compare it to. I don’t know anybody out there that would even come close.”

Considering that the team was cobbled together from the ruins of the NCAA sanctions that rocked the University of Miami in the mid-1990s, the 2001 Hurricanes were an extraordinary example of recognizing hidden talents and maximizing resources. While there may be arguably better BCS teams, none had to overcome so much to get as far as they did. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this squad would find success in anything they desired, including conquering the NFL.


College Bowl Game Explosion


For the 2015-2016 NCAA Men’s Division I-Football Bowl Subdivision post-season, there are 41 scheduled bowls, including the three that are part of the national championship series and the one that is not actually in the United States (the Bahamas Bowl). The number of bowls has grown to such an extent that the NCAA recently changed its rules to allow five to seven teams with high Academic Progress Rates (APR) to be bowl-eligible. This has become necessary because the 41 FBS bowls would require the participation of 80 schools, and there are only 128 FBS schools as of 2015. Without the rule change, there will not be enough bowl-eligible schools for all the bowls; only 77 schools had the 6-6 record or better for bowl eligibility, as of December 5.

With eight new bowls in the works – including the Austin Bowl, the Melbourne Bowl, and the Medal of Honor Bowl in 2016, and announced post-season games in Dubai; Ireland; Little Rock, AR; and Toronto – the post-season will only grow more crowded in the future. With the FBS’s “Power Five” conferences controlling who will compete against each other in the major bowl games, the smaller conferences are using this expanding post-season schedule as a way to get involved in the exposure a bowl appearance would bring.

One question remains, however: Are all these bowl games helping or hurting?

Bowl Game Fandom


In recent years, the introduction of a national championship playoff system and the glut of post-season bowls have created a tiered system in regards to in-stadium attendance. As shown in the above graphic, as the number of bowl games grew, the average attendance for a bowl game fell. The big games – such as the Rose Bowl and the BCS National Championship – can still demand in-stadium attendance in excess of 90,000. However, many of the smaller bowls – such as the 2014-2015 Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl, at 13,667 – only managed to get a fraction of this.

This is due to many factors, including the fact that many of the newer games are played in smaller stadiums or that these bowls have yet to garner fan attention or major media interest.

America’s “bowl fever” started with a single bowl game: the Rose Bowl. Originally meant to be a game in a schedule of sporting events during the Valley Hunt Club’s Tournament of Roses Parade, the Rose Bowl – named for the stadium it moved to in 1923 – grew in popularity and started to sprout imitators, such as the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Sun Bowl, and the Cotton Bowl. Oddly enough, the NCAA did not initially like the bowls, feeling that post-season play would “merely trade upon intercollegiate football for commercial purposes.”

However, the growth of television and the fact that the Associated Press publishes their college football polls at the conclusion of every bowl season, the bowls became must-see television. Watching the last-minute struggles to get on top of the rankings and the fight to claim the top spot – the perceived and, at times controversial, national championship – came to define what post-season college football looks like in America.


Bowl Game Title Sponsors


Bowl sponsorship is big business. Since the bowls started auctioning off naming rights to help to pay for the rising team appearance fees, it has been a mark of distinction for a corporation to have its name appear before a major post-season game. In 2014, only four of that season’s 39 bowl games resisted the temptation to sell the naming rights to their games; 12 of the games saw their sponsorships change as corporate sponsors moved from one game to another.

Among the corporate defections were Discover Financial, which did not want to support the Fiesta Bowl’s involvement in the playoff system; Vizio, which picked up the dropped Fiesta Bowl sponsorship; Capital One, which was actively lured away from the Citrus Bowl by the Orange Bowl; and Northwestern Mutual, which took the Rose Bowl after Vizio grabbed the Fiesta Bowl. Games that play before New Year’s Day typically sell their naming rights for between $500,000 and $1 million annually, while New Year’s Day or later games can see multimillion-dollar deals. The graphic above shows the title sponsors of the highest average attended bowl games during the 2005–2014 seasons.



We looked at the NCAA Football Bowl and All-Star Records and analyzed all bowl games from 2005 to 2015, as well as their corresponding attendance and title sponsors. The year of the bowl season was determined by the year in December when the bowl games begin, ending in the first week in January of the following year. For “Bowl Game Title Sponsors,” we excluded the Rose Bowl, which does not have a title sponsor but rather is “Presented By.” We also chose to only focus on the top 11 bowl game title sponsors for brevity purposes.


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