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Cal football, the Rose Bowl, and how the playoff changes things

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The college football playoff complicates Cal's path to the Rose Bowl, leading to a bunch of peculiar scenarios for the Bears to get to Pasadena.

Jonathan Moore

The Rose Bowl hasn't been itself for awhile.

Since 2002, the traditional Pac-12 vs. Big Ten matchup hasn't been quite as traditional on January 1st. Four out of five years from 2002 to 2006, the Rose Bowl either featured a national championship matchup or an at-large taking the place of a Big Ten or Pac-10 team elevated to a national championship game. We learned that lesson all too bitterly in 2004.

Still, after that, the Rose Bowl would straighten itself out and mostly feature the traditional B1G vs. Pac matchup that we're accustomed to seeing every New Year's Day. Seven of the last eight games have featured a Big Ten-Pac-12 game.

Things have changed though. The Rose Bowl isn't going to be quite the same anymore.

The Rose Bowl now is part of a bizarre six bowl rotation of the new college football playoff. Both the Rose and the Sugar bowl will be semifinalist site for the eventual national championship game in Arlington. This means that either the Pac-12 champion will make the Rose Bowl if they qualify for the playoff, or will be heading for the Alamo Bowl if they don't.

Things get weirder next year and the year after that. The Rose Bowl moves out of the rotation, which almost certainly means a Pac-12 team will be in it. But will it be the champion or the second most qualified team? The Pac-12 champion could very well end up in the Playoff, which means they head off to the Cotton Bowl or the Orange Bowl.

This modification means that the Pac-12 champion will probably not end up in the Rose Bowl every year. Which is probably going to throw Cal fans in a tizzy whatever year they end up being in the mix. "Rose Bowl Before I Die has become a motto amongst the Blue and Gold for decades, and it's starting to look more complicated than ever to find our actual path to Pasadena.

Since we are pretty far away from Rose Bowl discussion right now, let's discuss!

1) What do you think of the Playoff edition of the Rose Bowl? Like it? Hate it? What would you change?

2) Say Cal had a chance to either make the Rose Bowl or make the College Football Playoff. Would you prefer to play for the chance for a championship or finally hit it up on Colorado Blvd?

3) Say Cal won the Pac-12 championship outright, but ended up in the Alamo Bowl because the Rose Bowl was in the playoff rotation and we didn't quite qualify. Would you consider this type of Pac-12 championship an end to our curse or a dissatisfying conclusion? Would going to the Rose Bowl as the second best Pac-12 team feel more satisfying than the aforementioned scenario?