What’s Next For The Rose Bowl? Officials Scramble As UCLA, USC Jump Ship

The Pac-12 is in shambles, Rose Bowl officials are scrambling, and the future of the ‘Grandaddy Of Them All’ is unclear at the moment.

All of this coming from Pasadena Now, which recently obtained a letter to Association members from Tournament of Roses President Amy Wainscott, who said UCLA’s decision to join the Big Ten took the Tournament by surprise.

“This conference realignment was unexpected by the majority of the college football world, including ourselves, and we’ve been working with our conference partners to figure out what this means for the Rose Bowl Game,” Wainscott said in the letter.

“Last year, it was also announced that Texas and Oklahoma would be leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. They’re expected to change conferences at the beginning of the 2024-2025 season.”

USC Trojans linebacker Hunter Echols (31) leads the Trojans onto the field before the start of a game against the UCLA Bruins (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Earlier this month, both USC and UCLA announced their intentions to leave the Pac-12 after this season. The Rose Bowl game traditionally pits a Pac-12 team against a member of the Big Ten.

The departure of both USC and UCLA obviously represents a significant issue for the conference, especially since both programs have combined for 46 Rose Bowl appearances since the game’s inception in 1902.

In recent years, the Rose Bowl Game has also been in the rotation for College Football Playoff semifinal games, which does open the door for other teams from other conferences.

While that will be the case again in 2024, the game is scheduled to host traditional participants this season and in 2025 and 2026.

Wainscott admitted in the letter that the Tournament may need to adjust sooner rather than later.

“While the future is somewhat uncertain, we know we must be flexible and open to changes as we work to ensure that the tradition of the Rose Bowl Game will continue into the future of college football,” Wainscott said.

Obi Eboh #22 of the UCLA Bruins celebrates after a Rose Bowl victory (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Rose Bowl officials surely won’t be the only ones scrambling over the next few years.

The college football landscape is changing in real time, interest in meaningless bowl games has waned ever since the playoff system was created, and powerhouse programs are seemingly realigning every other week.

The Rose Bowl Game is the one under the microscope right now, but it certainly isn’t alone. Remember, the sport is almost assuredly going to expand the postseason field once this current deal is up after the 2025 season.

Buckle up.

Follow Zach on Twitter at @ZachDeanDBNJ.

Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.

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