Alabama Football: On Rose Bowls, Championships and CFB History


Tradition is valued by Alabama Football as much or more than any other college football program. No CFB tradition is as longstanding as the Rose Bowl Game. But, nothing, not even the ‘Granddaddy’ lasts forever.

Next season, even if there is some miniaturized version of the Pac-12, there will no longer be a traditional Rose Bowl. In the first two seasons of the 12-team Playoff, the Rose Bowl Game will be a quarterfinal game on Jan. 1. There is no guarantee the game will have a Big Ten team, much less a West Coast team. It will truly be the end of a college football era.

The 2024 Rose Bowl, while non-traditional, still carries an attachment to the game’s history. Michigan played in the first Rose Bowl in 1902. The Wolverines so outclassed Stanford, that the founders scrapped football games for chariot races until a renewal in 1916. There was no stadium for the first game. It was held in a park and records show a crowd of 8,000, though that is likely an inflated number since fans were able to watch from the sidelines in their horse-drawn carriages.

Before the Poll Era began in the 1930s, the winner of the Rose Bowl was often considered the National Champion. Alabama Football gained its 1925, 1926, and 1930 National Championships after two Rose Bowl wins and a tie. The 1926 Rose Bowl victory for the Alabama Crimson Tide shocked not just the college football world, it gave Southerners an uncommon feeling of pride and accomplishment in what was then a depressed region.

Counting Alabama’s Rose Bowl appearances is a bit tricky. The Crimson Tide has played in seven Rose Bowl Games, though only six of them were held at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. The 2021 Rose Bowl Game, a Crimson Tide Playoff Semi-Final thumping of Notre Dame, was played in Texas. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, spectator events were not held in California during that time.

Alabama Football played another BIG game in the Rose Bowl Stadium in 2010. It was the National Championship Game when the Crimson Tide defeated the Texas Longhorns.

For the record, the Crimson Tide also played at the Rose Bowl Stadium in the 2000 season. It was a home game for UCLA and the Bruins won by a score of 35-24. It was the first of eight losses for Alabama that season.

Only five college football teams have more Rose Bowl wins than the Crimson Tide. The five are Pac-12 and Big Ten teams, USC, Ohio State, Michigan, Stanford, and Washington. The Wolverines with eight Rose Bowl victories have only three more than the Crimson Tide.

After January 1946, until the Playoff Era, only Pac-12 and Big Ten teams could play in the Rose Bowl.

Alabama Football Rose Bowl Games

  • Jan. 1, 1926; Alabama 20 – Washington Huskies 19 – Alabama 1925 National Champion
  • Jan. 1, 1927; Alabama 7 – Stanford 7 – Alabama 1926 National Champion
  • Jan. 30, 1931; Alabama 24 – Washington State 0 – Alabama 1930 National Champion
  • Jan. 1, 1935; Alabama 29 – Stanford 13 – Alabama 1934 National Champion
  • Jan. 1, 1938; California 13 – Alabama 0
  • Jan. 1, 1946; Alabama 34 – Southern Cal 14
  • Jan. 1, 2021; Alabama 31 – Notre Dame 14 – Alabama 2020 National Champion; Rose Bowl Game was played in Arlington, TX.

Note: Historical records provided by and Sports Reference