The Rose Bowl.
One of the most, if not the most anticipated NCAA Football game of the year. There have been 95 games so far, but 10 stand out from the rest.
There have been blowouts, comebacks, tie games, and one labeled the "Most Boring Football Game Ever Played".
There are many match-up's that make defining moments not just in Rose Bowl history, but NCAA history, and sometimes Football history as a whole.
From the most recent being 2006, dating back to 1925, we've got it all. For various reasons, these top the chart as the most memorable in my book.
I wanna give thanks to rosebowlhistory.org, ESPN.com, and wikipedia.com from which I got all my info. I hope you enjoy!
Notre Dame (9-0)—27
Back in the day, Notre Dame was literally feared by their opponents. The "Four Horsemen" consisted of Elmer Layden, Jim Crowley, Harry Stuhldreher, and Don Miller making up Notre Dame's backfield, and defensive corps.
Notre Dame set out to impress, making this their only Rose Bowl appearance to date. "Pop" Warner led the team on their undefeated season, through the Rose Bowl, and dominated Stanford.
In a sellout of 53,000, Layden was truly the star with three Touchdowns, two of which on 70+ yard interceptions.
While Notre Dame was expected to win, this game makes the list because as some articles state, the Four Horsemen were, "the most fabled quartet in college football history." This was also Notre Dame's one and only Rose Bowl, which is pretty amazing as well.
Georgia Tech (9-0)—8
California Golden Bears (6-1-2)—7
Georgia Tech barely wins in this historical Rose Bowl. Many not around back in the day (Ok, admit it, none of us were there) still know who Roy Riegels was. When did people start calling him "Wrong Way" though?
This was the day. Jan 1, 1929.
Minutes before halftime, 30 yards from the endzone, Roy picks up a fumble from Georgia Tech's Quarterback. Somehow getting turned around, he manages to run 65 yards the other way—toward Cal's endzone—and narrowly avoids a safety. (Which ended up happening anyway after Cal blocked their punt).
From then on, till today, and forever, Roy "Wrong Way" Riegels earned his nickname here. He went on to do great things in the NFL, and never lost the nickname.
Many consider this the best Rose Bowl ever and rightly so. This memorable game makes the top 10 Rose Bowls of all time, mainly because of "Wrong Way" Riegels. He influenced the game in a number of ways, and people still know who he is.
This Rose Bowl stands out from the crowd because of one man. Clark Shaughnessy.
What the world today now knows as the "T-Formation" was first seen by Clark's Stanford Indians in 1941. It is said that Frank Leahy—whom Clark actually served as assistant to for a time—invented the formation. That doesn't change the fact his successor, Coach Clark, made it famous.
It became famous when it won them the 1941 Rose Bowl against Nebraska. Interestingly enough, this is Nebraska and Stanford's only match-up to date, and Nebraska's only Rose Bowl appearance.
The T-Formation developed into "option plays" used by multiple NCAA teams, the "Pro Set" popular in the NFL, and eventually the "slot" receiver.
For the invention of the T-Formation, and 1941 being where it got it's start, this Rose Bowl makes our list of the most memorable.
Ohio St (9-1)—17
Called one of the toughest teams ever to hit NCAA turf, the '73 Trojans commanded the field against Woody Hayes' Buckeyes.
USC Quarterback Mike Rae passes for nearly 230 yards, while the "Human Torpedo" Sam Cunningham (later a Pro-Bowl RB for the New England Patriots) rushed for 4 Touchdowns.
23 (yes, 23) players of this USC team made it into the NFL. One of the highest in the history of Football. In fact, the '73 Trojan team is on of the toughest NCAA team of all time. Next to the '61 Alabama Crimson Tide, the '01 Miami Hurricanes, the '95 Cornhuskers and the '05 USC Trojans, it's the '73 Trojans.
For marking the greatness of future Pro-Bowler Sam Cunningham, but mainly for showcasing one of the best NCAA Football teams ever, this Rose Bowl is certainly a memorable one.
Famous Michigan coach, Bo Schembechler had been to the Rose Bowl five times coming into the '81 season. "This one knows how to win the big one" he remarked before heading onto the field. And that they did...
Bo was 0-5 in the Rose Bowl coming out to face Washington. But 6th time's the charm. All Washington can manage against powerful Michigan is two field goals.
Michigan dominated on both sides of the ball.
Butch Woolfolk was named the MVP after rushing for 182 yards in 26 carries. Stan Edwards had 68 rushing yards, and Anthony Carter compiled 101 yards of total offense.
Although allowing Washington to gain 374 yards, Michigan extended its streak to five and a half games without allowing a Touchdown.
For being such a great game, fighting against the stats, and for Schembechler finally getting a Rose Bowl win (later recognized as the best Michigan coach of all time), the '81 Rose Bowl stands out from the rest.
Terry Donahue was the man to beat. Well, the Coach to beat to be exact. Donahue has already won two Rose Bowls with UCLA, hoping this to be his third. And it is, with the help of All-American Running Back Eric Ball.
Donahue has won a Bowl Game three years in a row coming into the 85-86 season, and would go on to win seven straight.
Gaston Green, the starter for UCLA was injured. Freshman Eric Ball would have to do his best, for which a win was doubtful...after all, Iowa had been at the top of the charts for quite a while.
He didn't disappoint. Rushing for 227 yards, he set a Rose Bowl record with four rushing Touchdowns. Matt Stevens, UCLA Quarterback, was subbing for an injured David Norris. He did excellent as well, completing 29 of 37 passes.
There was back and forth scoring throughout, providing an intense and exciting game. One of the main reasons Iowa couldn't make a comeback was their Running Back, Ronnie Harmon.
Ronnie fumbled the ball four times, and dropped a pass wide open in the Endzone during the forth quarter. He had fumbled only one other time during the season.
Iowa star Chuck Long was sacked four times, and didn't put on much of a show passing, only getting one Touchdown pass. Chuck Long is the only player to have participated in five bowl games because of playing as a Redshirt Freshman.
This is considered quite possibly the most exciting Rose Bowl game ever. Eric Ball came into his own, and along with getting the MVP, was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in '96.
Chuck Long was also inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in '99.
Some believe that Ronnie Harmon actually was trying to throw the game with the fumbles, but after being backed up by his team, and there being no actual proof, the accusations were dropped.
It's clear that this Rose Bowl was indeed exciting, and record breaking. It definetely earns a spot in the Top 10 Most Memorable.
Michigan State (8-2-1)—20
The stage was set. The first game of the season these two met, where USC lost 27—13. The Big 10 has lost 16 times in the last 18 years in the Rose Bowl. Michigan St hasn't been at the top of the Big 10 in 22 years.
Who better to beat then USC?
USC Quarterback Rodney Peete had a lot on his mind. This was a major historical day—the 75th Rose Bowl, 25 of which have had an appearance by USC. He also wanted redemption from the beginning of the year. There was major pressure on USC, and Michigan St both.
Michigan St. was leading at the half, but USC was not done yet. USC has always been stronger in the second half, and came out ready to win.
After a 33 yard Touchdown pass, Rodney Peete had made the score 14 to 10 at the end of the third. Michigan St was slow to respond. They finally managed a lowly field goal, making the score 17—10.
USC, so far being defined by mistakes and missed opportunities, scored another Touchdown tying it up at 17. However, Michigan St responded with a field goal again, making it 20—17 with just under three minutes to play.
Rodney Peete failed to execute. With another fumble, and then an interception, Michigan St locked away the victory.
Linebacker Percy Snow won the MVP, and later the Lombardi Trophy and the Butkus Award, becoming the only player ever win both in one year. However, after one year of play with Kansas City, he suffered a moped accident which ended his career.
This was a legendary Rose Bowl is many aspects, not just for MSU fans. The victory concluded a seven-year drought for the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl, which had previously favored the Pac-10 representative in 12 of the last 13 contests.
Because of the intense gameplay, the match-up, and the paragraph above, the Rose Bowl of '88 gets in the Top 10 Most Memorable Rose Bowls.
Ohio St (10-1)—20
Arizona St (11-0)—17
This was one of the most fast-paced Rose Bowl games to date. While the scoring wasn't extremely high, this was definitely one for the ages. I may only have been four at the time, but I remember my dad talking about this for a while...
Joe Germaine and freshman David Boston stand out as the stars in this Rose Bowl. Joe get's the MVP, and makes the winning drive labeled "The Germaine Miracle".
What's interesting is this was Germaine vs. Plummer. The Jake Plummer who later went on to be an All-Pro Denver Bronco. Germaine lived only a few miles from the ASU campus and was passed up simply because they had Plummer. Oops.
After an action-packed three quarters, the score is Ohio St—14, Arizona St—10.
Ohio St. looked ready to call it a game with a powerful drive near the beginning of the 4th quarter, but settled for a field goal...which was blocked. Arizona St. responded with a Jake Plummer scramble for a Touchdown, putting them up 17—14. There was only 1:40 to play, and Arizona St was already celebrating.
This set up "The Germaine Miracle" winning drive. Dimitrious Stanley caught two 3rd down passes. Then on two pass interference calls on Arizona St, the ball was on the five yard line. There was just over half a minute left.
All-Pro David Boston walked untouched into the endzone after catching a little dunk pass from Germaine.
Announcers were shouting "It's a miracle! It's a miracle! The Buckeye's win! The Buckeye's win!"
Many players of both teams went on to go pro, however Joe was probably the least successful. He won a Super-Bowl ring with St. Louis as a back-up to Kurt Warner, but was cut after one year and now plays in the Arena Football League.
For the legendary "Germaine Miracle" and as ESPN states: "The 1997 Rose Bowl...featured one of the most dramatic endings in Rose Bowl history.", it is indeed one of the most memorable.
Texas has never been to a Rose Bowl game. Texas has never played Michigan (and haven't since). This was the first year there was an offensive player of the game, and defensive—rather then one MVP. Also, notice there's no Pac-10 team...
This Rose Bowl was quite huge, in many ways. As the picture states, that man is Invincible. Vince Young, and LaMarr Woodley (Michigan LB) were the offensive and defensive players of the game.
Vince Young was only a sophomore at the time, but still people called this a one man show. And rightfully so, as Vince scored all five Touchdowns, and had 372 yards of offense. Most notable though, was his rushing. 192 yards on 21 tries.
Chad Henne of Michigan was only the second true freshman to start in a Rose Bowl. He passed for a Rose Bowl record of four Touchdowns in one game.
Braylon Edwards caught three Touchdown passes, a Rose Bowl record. And then there's Steve Breaston who had 315 yards total (also a Rose Bowl record), including a 50 yard Touchdown catch plus 221 on six kickoff returns.
The game itself was rather exciting. The first half ended 14-14, Vince Young scoring both Texas Touchdowns. And he made quite a second half entrance, starting it off with a 60 yard Touchdown scramble.
Michigan responded well though, as Texas' defense could not stop Henne and Edwards—connecting again for 50 yard and 9 yard Touchdowns. On their next drive they scored a field goal, making the end of the third 28—21 Michigan up.
Late in the 4th quarter now, Michigan had the lead 37—35. There was barely enough time to make a final drive, and Michigan was celebrating. They should have known better.
Vince Young drove Texas 47 yards in 10 plays, setting up for a field goal, which they made just as time expired. 38—37 final.
There was plenty of action in the '05 Rose Bowl. With three records being broken, this Rose Bowl was certainly memorable. Vince Young shined before all of America that day, and earned himself a lot of respect.
This is also the only time these two teams have ever played each-other, despite both having a very long history. Obviously, this Rose Bowl is certainly one of the most memorable.
Vince Young and Co. make it to the Rose Bowl yet again. This time, with a feared opponent, and the team with the best record in the Rose Bowl—USC.
Both teams were undefeated coming into the Rose Bowl. But as ESPN states, "the game was heart-pounding action from start to...finish".
This was only the third time the No. 1 and No. 2 teams have matched up in the Rose Bowl. The other two being '63 and '69.
There was a lot of build-up surrounding the game, as Reggie Bush had just won the Heisman Trophy—ahead of second place Vince Young. Matt Leinart also had won the Heisman previously. This was the only game in Rose Bowl history where two Heisman winners would play in the same backfield.
ESPN was nearly unanimous in saying that the '05 Trojans were the second best team in the last 50 years (second to the '01 Hurricanes, or '95 Cornhuskers depending on who you ask). But Texas was gonna take 'em down hard.
Young broke the Rose Bowl record set in '05 with 467 yards of total offense. He averaged 10.5 yards per carry as he rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns.
It was 7—0 to USC at the end of the 1st. While Reggie Bush tried to pull off a lateral into the Endzone, Texas recovered it leading to a field goal. The next USC drive ended in a pick, which Young turned into a Touchdown.
A few turnovers and Vince Young Touchdowns later, and viola...16—10 at the half with the Longhorns up. As we know, USC always plays better in the second half, and that they did.
Forcing a punt, then scoring, USC went ahead 17—16. On a 4th down play, USC's Running Back LenDale White muscled his way in for a score. At the end of the third it was 24—23 USC.
The 4th was by far the most exciting, breathtaking, and contraversal quarter of the Rose Bowl, and possibly any Rose Bowl.
There was 2:09 left on the clock. The ball was on the Texas 44-yard line. After making some amazing passes, the ball was then on the USC 13-yard line—with only 19 seconds left to play.
Vince Young being In-Vince-ible, he rushed for a Touchdown (and got the 2 point conversion) making the score 42—38 which stood till time ran out.
Read the whole summery here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Rose_Bowl
Vince Young's Scramble is listed as the 5th biggest play in NCAA College Football history. The 2006 Rose Bowl was the best according to ESPN since the '86 Rose Bowl, also in our list.
Four players in this game were Top 10 picks in the 2006 NFL draft, including Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Michael Huff, and Matt Leinart.
For many reasons, this Rose Bowl is most definitely memorable now, and will be for a long long time.