The Rose Bowl is the most iconic game in college football. This year's edition has heightened importance as well, as it serves as a semifinal game for the College Football Playoff.
If that game is played as scheduled in Pasadena, it will be in front of an empty stadium. The state of California has started to pass some aggressive restrictions on large gatherings, in order to combat COVID-19 as we enter the winter months, before a vaccine is available.
Los Angeles County and the city of Pasadena have imposed rules that will prevent the Rose Bowl from hosting fans this year. It is an unfortunate situation, but likely the right call, and definitely not a surprise given all that has gone on, especially in the last few weeks.
“While we are disappointed that the Rose Bowl Game will not be played in front of spectators, we are pleased that we are still able to hold the game this year, continuing the 100-year plus tradition of The Granddaddy of Them All,” said David Eads, Pasadena Tournament of Roses CEO and executive director. “We continue to work closely with health department officials and the Rose Bowl Stadium to provide the safest possible environment for our game participants.”
This is the second major bowl game to make this announcement today. The Fiesta Bowl will also be played without fans.
There are some concerns that the game will be able to be played at all. Santa Clara County in Northern California has already banned sporting events for the next few weeks, which forced Stanford and San Jose State to shift home games, while the San Francisco 49ers will play games in Arizona until the restrictions are lifted.
The Rose Bowl indicates that it will be able to have the game in Pasadena without fans, in the statement released today. Hopefully that is the case.
The 2021 Rose Bowl is scheduled to be played on Jan. 1, and will kick off at 5 p.m. ET/2 PT.