It's Michigan - USC in the Rose Bowl

No matter how hard the BCS tried, it just couldn't shake the fate of tradition. Once again the Granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl, will be a Big Ten/Pac 10 battle as USC accepted an invitation to play Michigan in the 90th edition of the New Year's Day Classic.

In a season of "What could have been's", Michigan is off to its 18th Rose Bowl to face an old nemesis. After pounding Oregon State 52-28 Saturday it was assumed by many that No. 1 USC would be taking the long trip to New Orleans to play in the BCS title game against Oklahoma. Instead they will stay close to home and face No. 4 Michigan for the first time since 1990.

The last time the two teams met in the Rose Bowl the Trojans prevailed 17-10 in Bo Schembecler's last game as Wolverine head coach.

Even though the Sooners were destroyed Saturday 35-7 by Kansas State they managed to stay atop the BCS rankings as a result of their schedule strength. Because of a weak SOS, USC, even as the No. 1 team in both major polls, fell to No. 3 and will play in Pasadena. LSU, after a convincing 34-13 win over Georgia, will face Oklahoma in New Orleans.

Wolverine fans will remember this as a season of 'what if'. What if the special teams had done their job against Oregon and Iowa. It will also be a season of comebacks. Michigan rallied from a 28-7 fourth quarter deficit to win at Minnesota in the biggest comeback in Michigan history, 38-35. After the Minnesota game the Wolverines were a different team. It will be remembered as the year of the 100th game when Michigan dashed the Buckeyes hopes of a return to the champioship with a dominating 35-21 victory at the Big House. It will also be remembered for an absolute crushing of Notre Dame 38-0. It will be remembered as the first outright Big Ten Championship since the 1997 National Championship season.

Kick-off is January 1st at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

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