The Rose Bowl is known as the “granddaddy of them all” because of its prestige, rich history, and striking beauty. Set amongst the San Gabriel Mountains and placed in the ritzy neighborhoods of the Arroyo Seco, the setting is timeless and leaves a lasting impression. Arguably college football’s most picturesque view occurs as the sunset illuminates the mountains adjacent to the Rose Bowl, while outlining this colorfully grand arena. It’s one of perfection’s rare visits.
A Rose Bowl black out set the stage for the Bruins, who were in must-win mode. A season filled with playoff aspirations has taken a few punches to the jaw. A win over the ranked Cal Bears would bring a little more postseason attention in UCLA’s direction.
Both Wisconsin and TCU had magical seasons that led them to a unique Rose Bowl matchup on New Year’s Day. Our trip to Pasadena turned out to be less than magical. We left on New Year’s Eve ready to connect in Kansas City, then Phoenix, then Long Beach en route to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, our flight from Chicago was delayed and upon arriving Kansas City, our connect to Phoenix was gone. Panic stricken, we found ourselves in a deserted airport seemingly destined to ring in the New Year 2,000 miles from the Rose Bowl.
At the close of September, the nation essentially had written off the Badgers for a Big Ten contender. Seven straight victories later, they land back in Pasadena for their second consecutive trip to the Rose Bowl. In addition, tailback Ron Dayne made history by eclipsing the national rushing record and winning the Heisman Trophy.
The dreadful tie with Ohio State would not keep the Badgers from focusing on the Big Ten title. Two weeks after that game, Michigan clobbered the Buckeyes leaving the door open for Wisconsin. With wins over Illinois and Michigan State (in Tokyo of all places), the Badgers completed one of the most improbable runs in college football history. It took thirty-one years for Wisconsin to return to the Rose Bowl, and this 1993 season would firmly plant my love for college football into the turf.