The Rose Bowl has come a long way since its inaugural festivities in 1890. The "Tournament of Roses" was founded by a group of men from the Pasadena Valley Hunt Club; which was comprised mostly of former residents from the Eastern & Midwestern United States, looking to showcase the mild winter weather of their new home. As one of the founders famously put it, "In New York, people are buried in snow. Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear. Let's hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise." To the surprise of many, the origins of the tournament did not include football. The original "Tournament of Roses" featured marching bands, ostrich races, bronco riding, and a colorful parade. As Pasadena's winter festival expanded over the next couple of years, motorized floats were introduced and reviewing stands were built along the parade route. The event eventually grew to the point that East coast newspapers began to take notice, prompting the formation of the Tournament of Roses Association in 1895. It wasn't for another seven years, in 1902, that the Tournament of Roses decided to add a football game to its agenda. The game was the first postseason college football game ever played, and was between Stanford University and the University of Michigan. Going into the game, University of Michigan was heavily favored; however, Stanford surprised the crowd by crushing Michigan 49-0. Over the next two decades, the crowds grew to such a capacity that the tournament's president, William Leishman, envisioned building the largest stadium on the west coast to house the annual football game. In 1923, the Pasadena stadium was completed and deemed "The Rose Bowl." In 1947, the exclusive agreement between the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences was signed. Every Rose Bowl game since then has been a sellout. Now, as part of the Bowl Championship Series, the Rose Bowl has hosted the National Championship Game between the top two football teams in the nation in 2002, 2006, 2010 and will host the National Championship again in 2014. The two teams with the most Rose Bowl visits are the University of Southern California with 33 and the University of Michigan with 20. Without any doubt, the founding fathers of the Tournament of Roses would be honored and humbled by the current state of their annual festival. The Rose Bowl parade, which now features extravagant floats operated by robotics, pyrotechnics, and advanced computerized animation, has certainly evolved from its humble origins. When comparing the Rose Bowl with other collegiate football bowl games, it should come as no surprise that the Rose Bowl is often referred to as "The Granddaddy of Them All." A number of sports travel agencies offer exclusive Rose Bowl travel packages that provide air travel, hotel accommodations, tickets to the football game, and transportation. If the opportunity to attend this spectacular event ever presents itself, it should not be missed. Brendan is a history major who happens to also be a college football fanatic. In his free time, aside from watching college football, he enjoys cooking and reading politcal mysteries. He is currently researching Rose Bowl travel packages from reputable sports travel agencies.