Fear and Loathing in Pasadena

Pasadena Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
He wore the same outfit at the game a year later. Matter of fact, I'm not sure he changed clothes for a year.
Ouch, this one still hurts. Some losses stick with you forever, and this is one of them. I thought maybe writing a travel blog for a bunch of travbuddies from Netherlands and Singapore would help the healing process. Good thinking Tom. What hurts the most isn't that my beloved Michigan lost on a last second field goal, though that does hurt. It isn't that I was working in Austin, Texas at the time and they lost to UT-Austin, though that hurts too. What hurts the most is that very few people remember that this game ever happened. That's because Texas made it back to the Rose Bowl in 2006 and played USC for all the marbles, in what was one of the greatest championship games every played, maybe THE greatest. But make no mistake, The Rose Bowl 2005 was a fantastic college football game.
Michigan huddling up before the game
Maybe even, dare I say, better than the 2006 version?

Brief history lesson for those of you that have no idea what I'm talking about. The Rose Bowl is a college football game played in Pasadena, California, usually on New Year's Day. It is the main event of the Tournament of Roses which includes the famous Rose Bowl Parade along with other activities. It's normally played between the winner of the Big-10 conference (midwestern USA) and Pac-10 conference (West Coast USA), though not always. For Big-10 fans, it's particularly special because it's a reward for not only the team, but the fans. Because they get to leave the freezing cold midwest and go out to California in January.
nice lines
This game has been around since 1902, giving it the nickname "The Grand Daddy of them all". I came to support my beloved Michigan Wolverines against the Texas Longhorns. Go blue!

This was not my first time to the Rose Bowl so I knew the drill when I arrived. Pasadena is a beautiful setting for a football game, stadium nestled into a valley with mountains on three sides. It is however, somewhat of a nightmare to get in and out of. Because the parade occurs the morning of the game, the place is a zoo no matter what time you show up. I was staying in Santa Monica so I drove in early to beat traffic. That gave me a great opportunity to scope out the tailgating scene. Texas fans outnumbered Michigan fans.
Michigan's band on the field
It was UT's first Rose Bowl and Texas has a huge following. Self-proclaimed biggest Texas fan Matthew McConaughey was there soaking up attention. I find that guy to be about as uninteresting as anyone in Hollywood, and that says something.

The grilling and boozing was impressive, something Texas fans do well. What they don't do particularly well is modesty. They were 100% convinced they would win this game, and by a lot. I was not so sure. Michigan had a young, but good team. What I did know was that Texas had a player named Vince Young that could exploit Michigan's biggest weakness, which was their inability to defend quarterbacks that run well. The previous game Michigan had lost to Ohio State when another fast quarterback named Troy Smith carved up their defense.
Michigan getting ready to score
So I was worried, but I absolutely did believe Michigan had a chance.

The Rose Bowl stadium itself is outdated at best. The bathroom facilities are ridiculously inadequate and you actually have to walk outside the stadium and near the concession stands to find one. The stadium is built like Michigan Stadium, one continuous bowl vs. a multi-tiered structure, and it hold upwards of 90,000 spectators. I was in the end zone mixed in with a bunch of annoying Longhorn fans (though there really aren't any other kind). The pre-game festivities were the usual marching bands, singers, and military jets flying overhead. By the time the game started, I had the usual lump in my throat. If you've ever read Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, he describes watching Arsenal games as torturous experiences.
Touchdown Braylon Edwards
Ditto for me watching Michigan games. It's only fun if you win, and then it's only fun at the end. The 60 minutes of the game is pure torture, not fun at all. Yet I watch every one.

This game was LOADED will future NFL players. Just off the top of my head, Texas had : Vince Young, Cedric Benson, Bo Scaife, Aaron Ross, David Thomas, and Derrick Johnson. Michigan had: Braylon Edwards, Lamar Woodley, David Harris, Alan Branch, Chad Henne, Mike Hart, Jake Long, Marlon Jackson, etc. But the list goes on and on. The game went back and forth. Michigan had a freshman QB and running back but the best receiver in college football that year, Braylon Edwards. They ran most of the offense through him and managed to put some points on the board. Steve Breaston also had the best game of his career, setting an all-time record for yardage in the Rose Bowl (again, nobody remembers this game).
the field goal that broke my heart
But Michigan could not stop Vince Young when he started running, essentially confirming my worst fears about the game. He ran all over the field, as if playing a different sport from the rest of the players. Despite that, they matched the Longhorns blow for blow going into the fourth quarter. People don't remember this, but Chad Henne was a true freshman QB, only 18 years old at the time, and he was absolutely matching Vince Young's legs with his arm. Michigan actually took the lead in the fourth quarter. But Vince had one more drive in him. He ran (naturally) down the field and put Texas into field goal position with 3 seconds left. Michigan nearly blocked the thing, but it went up and through the uprights as time expired and my heart completely sank.

I looked at the field and saw the entire Michigan defense laying on the ground in agony.
Let's get the f' out of here
They had absolutely nothing left. Seriously, none of them could even stand. Texas won and the legend of Vince Young was born. He played in the same game the next year and ran all over USC's defense to win a national title. I screamed at the TV the entire game because USC was so oblivious to his talent when all they had to do was watch the tape of the game the year before. I can't stand USC, yet I'm actually more angry about that game than most of their fans. Painful. I walked in silence out of the stadium and got out of the parking lot at about 100 mph. We were that close. It was a classic football game, probably the best I've ever attended. But it still hurts to be on the losing side. I'm always reminded of the final words in Apocalypse Now when I think of it: "the horror.......the horror".
sybil says:
sorry about your loss tom. i kid my michigan buddies that the last 3 times they have been to the rose bowl, they have not fared well (including the one against ucla in 2000 or was it 2001?). but, i do understand what you mean....

and i know there is a reason we get along, i can't stand u$c either!!! :D
Posted on: Apr 06, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
He wore the same outfit at the gam…
He wore the same outfit at the ga…
Michigan huddling up before the ga…
Michigan huddling up before the g…
nice lines
nice lines
Michigans band on the field
Michigan's band on the field
Michigan getting ready to score
Michigan getting ready to score
Touchdown Braylon Edwards
Touchdown Braylon Edwards
the field goal that broke my heart
the field goal that broke my heart
Lets get the f out of here
Let's get the f' out of here
From the Rose Parade
From the Rose Parade
The Michigan float
The Michigan float
Go blue
Go blue
Me at the alumni tailgate
Me at the alumni tailgate
Michigans band stopped by
Michigan's band stopped by
Michigans drum major
Michigan's drum major
Hail to the Victors Valiant!
Hail to the Victors Valiant!
Me outside the stadium
Me outside the stadium
View from my seats
View from my seats
touchdown Braylon
touchdown Braylon
Michigan runs onto the field
Michigan runs onto the field
pre-game drills
pre-game drills
Texas band lining up
Texas band lining up
in formation
in formation
Sponsored Links
Pasadena
photo by: Andy99