Technically it is not a college town, but there is football on Saturday. And there may be no better venue to take in a college football game than the Rose Bowl. Pasadena, California, ranks 17th on our Top 100 College Football Towns of America Countdown.
To celebrate 100 days until the start of the college football season, HERO Sports is counting down the Top 100 FBS College Football Towns in America. Each day, through Aug. 24, a new city will be revealed. We will analyze the city, the program, the good and bad of the city as well as the bottom line. If you got a problem, @me on Twitter.
17. Pasadena, California — UCLA
[credit]Chip Kelly is back in the Pac-12. Can he repeat what he accomplished in Oregon? (Photo: Al Seib /Los Angeles Times via AP)[/credit]
There is no denying UCLA is one of the premier programs in college football. Since 1940, the longest the Bruins have gone without being ranked is three seasons. UCLA won a national championship in 1954, and 17 conference championships in its 99-year history. Unfortunately, the Bruins have not won a Pac-12 title since going back-to-back in 1997 and '98. That is the longest drought since winning their first in 1935.
The burden of bringing a title back to
Westwood Pasadena falls on Chip Kelly. The former offensive wunderkind is now tasked with rebuilding the once-proud UCLA program, but also his reputation after two failed stints in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.
While it probably won't happen in 2018, with plenty of holes to fill, Kelly has proved that he can have sustained success in college. UCLA has the pedigree and recruiting reach to make it a reality.
Westwood Pasadena is home to California Institute of Technology, a school that once employed some guy named Albert Einstein, so its kind of a big deal. So technically there is a college and football in Pasadena, making it a college football town. Technically.
As for the town of Pasadena, driving into the San Gabriel Valley is to leave the concrete wasteland of Los Angeles and enter an urban oasis. With the beautiful San Gabriel mountains directly north, a quick day trip can transport you to incredible waterfalls and hiking trails typically reserved for remote forests, not somewhere minutes form an urban hub. Pasadena has done a fantastic job of being close enough to LA to still be considered a part of the metropolis, but still creating enough separation that it is its own unique experience.
There are great restaurants, fantastic shops and a civic pride that resonates throughout.
Every New Year's Eve, people camp along Colorado Boulevard (the main drag in Pasadena), reserving prime real estate for the Rose Parade. An annual tradition that is as much Pasadena's as it is shared with the rest of the world.
On game day, you can actually park on the neighboring Brookside Golf Club, where you can work on your golf game and play corn hole at the same time.
When the weather is just right–or bad in this case–all the pollution and smog that typically hovers over Los Angeles moves north to Pasadena and just sits there, like a poop that forgot to get flushed.
While some may doubt the validity of Pasadena as a college football town, the Rose Bowl should be on everyone's bucket lists of places to see a football game. The city in itself is a tourist destination, throw in good football, and it's hard to match.