Stanford was invited to represent the West in the Tournament East-West football game to be held in Tournament Park in Pasadena, California on New Year's Day, 1902, facing East representative Michigan, a team which had yet to yield a point all season. Stanford had no better luck, losing 49–0 in what would eventually to be known as the Rose Bowl.
After the conclusion of the 1901 football season, Stanford was invited to play against Michigan in a game to be held on New Year's Day, 1902 in Tournament Park in Pasadena, California. The game was dubbed the Tournament East-West Football Game and was held as part of the Tournament of Roses event to encourage tourism to the mild climate of Southern California at a time of year when most of the nation was experiencing cold winter weather.
In the game, Stanford was no match for Michigan, which had outscored its opponents 501–0 during the regular season. Led by fullback Neil Snow, who ran for five touchdowns, the Wolverines led 49–0 with eight minutes remaining before the teams agreed to end the game early. The outcome of the game soured the Tournament of Roses committee on football, and it was not until 1916 that football was again included as part of the festivities. The game is considered the first-ever postseason bowl game in college football.