As the conference championship weekend produced a slew of upsets, Penn State Football found themselves in the unexpected position to garner a bid to the Rose Bowl.
This is as surprising as the championship mayhem, as before the season the Las Vegas oddsmakers had set Penn State’s total wins at 8.5. Just a short 5 games ago, PSU was sitting at 6-2 after a heartbreaking loss to Ohio State and with virtually conceivable shot at a New Year’s 6 bowl.
Not only did they secure themselves for a solid bowl game and all that goes with it, but their game is the bowl game with the longest history, with the first Rose Bowl game being played in 1902. Since 1945, the Rose Bowl has topped every other bowl game in attendance, as the venue is the illustrious Rose Bowl stadium and seats 90,888. The iconic Rose Bowl parade is a New Year’s Day viewing experience for many families.
Their opponent, the Utah Utes, present an interesting situation, as Penn State Football has never played them, which is pretty remarkable considering PSU has faced 119 different opponents over their storied history. This will mark the second year in a row that Penn State has faced an opponent they have never played before. What I’ll discuss for the rest of this article is Penn State’s history in “The Granddaddy of them all”.
The very first Rose Bowl featured Michigan vs. Stanford and the Wolverines 49-0. For the next 14 years, it was an all-star contest and reverted back to the more traditional 2 different team format in 1916. Penn State made their very first Rose Bowl appearance in 1923, which ironically was Sean Clifford’s freshman year. Clearly the selection process was much different than as Penn State’s record was 6-3-1 going into the bowl. They lost to the University of Southern California 14-3. There are some very interesting facts about that game.