With Oregon's narrow victory over instate rivals Oregon State -- complete with heart-warming LeGarrette Blount rehab touchdown -- the Ducks have completed the Rose Bowl picture. They'll play Ohio State. Both programs will descend on Pasadena with wide-eyed wonder at a place they haven't seen in forever.
This is weird, right? For the past 10 years, Oregon and Ohio State have been at or near the top of their respective conferences, longer for perennial power/ancient evil OSU. Both teams have found top-10 finishes and BCS bids on the regular of late, but, oddly, both have managed to miss the Rose Bowl. If you live in the Big Ten Network footprint, you know that the Rose Bowl retains much of its traditional cachet around here; amongst the few frustrations Ohio State fans have had of late is their absence from the Granddaddy of Them All. The others are those crushing defeats against SEC teams, but you can't win 'em all.
The last time either of these teams was in Pasadena was a whopping 13years ago, when Ohio State edged Arizona State and Jake 'The Snake' Plummer 20-17. Oregon's last Rose Bowl was in 1995, when Oregon lost to undefeated non-national champions Penn State. This was so long ago that people in high school could remember when Notre Dame was nationally relevant.
Stranger still, to find another appearance from either team you have to go back another 10 years for Ohio State's 1985 appearance. The most successful Big Ten program in the last 30 years and nouveau-riche Oregon have combined for three Rose Bowl berths over that time span, or a measly five percent of the available slots. Over that time span, Michigan alone has gone 11 times.
This has happened due to a combination of several things, most prominently USC's thunderous reign over the Pac-10, Michigan's domination of John Cooper and Ohio State's tendency to get drafted into national title games in the '00s. Three times this decade, Ohio State has won the Big Ten only to get yanked out of the Rose Bowl. (One time this was pretty awesome.The others, not so much.) A fourth time, Ohio State (and Penn State) got bumped in favor of the Texas-USC game of the decade.
There are bright sides to losing to Purdue (as long as you're not Michigan): sun-dappled Southern California and a third-quarter sunset.â†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.