UPDATE: The top-rated Spartan D dug deep when it counted and stopped Stanford to seal a 24-20 victory in the 100th Rose Bowl and #3 or better ranking! View a photo gallery from the game via the Lansing State Journal’s Green & White section.
This afternoon at 5 PM the #4 Michigan State University Spartans will take the field against the #5 Stanford Cardinals to represent the Big Ten for the 100th Rose Bowl.
Wikipedia’s page on the Rose Bowl where you can see a pic from the very first Rose Bowl says (in part) that the game is usually played on New Year’s Day at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. It was first played in 1902, and has been played annually since 1916. As the oldest bowl game, it has earned the nickname “The Granddaddy of Them All”.
MSU has been to the Rose Bowl four times and has won three: the 1954 game pictured above, 1956 and their last appearance in 1988. MSU’s article on the Spartans and the 2014 Rose Bowl says (in part):
Big Ten Champion Michigan State (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten) will make its first-ever Bowl Championship Series appearance on Jan. 1, 2014, when the Spartans play Pac-12 Champion Stanford (11-2, 7-2 Pac-12). Winners of nine straight, Michigan State recorded its school-record 12th win of the 2013 season by defeating second-ranked Ohio State, 34-24, in the Big Ten Championship Game.
MSU ranked No. 4 in the final BCS Standings – its highest ranking ever. The Spartans are ranked No. 4 in the latest Associated Press and USA TODAY Polls. It marks MSU’s highest ranking in the AP Poll since Sept. 18, 1967.
The Spartans finished their Big Ten regular-season schedule with a perfect 8-0 record for the first time in school history and claimed their second Legends Division title in three seasons. Michigan State became the 14th Big Ten team to post an 8-0 mark in league play. The Spartans are the first Big Ten team to win all eight of its conference games by double-digit points since the league went to an eight-game schedule in 1971. In addition, MSU is the first undefeated Big Ten team to win all of its league games by double-figure points since Michigan in 1943 (6-0 record).
The 100th Rose Bowl Game marks the first time since the “Game of the Century” in 1966 (No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Michigan State) in which MSU will play a top-five AP team while also being ranked in the top five. No. 5 Stanford is also the highest ranked opponent MSU has played in a bowl game since the 1966 Rose Bowl (UCLA finished the 1965 regular season ranked No. 4 in the final AP Poll).
Mike Downey put together 100 facts about the Rose Bowl. Most surprising to me was that 1925’s coaching matchup was Knute Rockne vs. Pop Warner.
The Michigan State University Archives says that the photograph above captures the action of the 1954 Rose Bowl game of Michigan State College versus UCLA in which the Spartans defeated the Bruins 28-20. View it bigger and check out some cool memorabilia in their Rose Bowl slideshow.
And oh yeah, Happy New Year & GO GREEN!