A giant duck held aloft a bouquet of roses as a group of overjoyed college students lifted it high off the ground in celebration. Beginner sports fans might wonder just what's going on here. Those well versed in the traditions of college football will recognize this as one of the sport's most exciting moments.
With its 37-33 victory over arch-rival Oregon State on Thursday night, the University of Oregon Ducks clinched a spot in the Rose Bowl, the most storied game in college football history. The victory launched Oregon fans - and their mascot - into an ecstatic party, celebrating Oregon's first trip to the big game since 1994.
The Rose Bowl: Even though there is not a national championship on the line, the Rose Bowl is one of the most important games of the college football season. It usually features the Pac-10 Conference Champion against the Big Ten Conference Champion and has been played continuously since 1916. The first ever Rose Bowl game was actually played in 1902 between Michigan and Stanford. Typically, the game is played on New Years Day, as it will this year. What makes the Rose Bowl so important is the pageantry and history behind it. The city of Pasadena hosts a parade to celebrate the game. Some of the biggest names in college football history have participated in the Rose Bowl, such as Knute Rockne, who coached Notre Dame to a victory over Stanford in 1925. For college players, the Rose Bowl represents a chance to take part in one of the greatest traditions in sports.
Oregon: The Ducks couldn't be happier to be going to the Rose Bowl. The champions of the Pac-10, Oregon was able to knock off the USC Trojans, who enjoyed at least a share of the conference title for the last seven years. Oregon worked hard all season to accomplish its goal of winning the conference title. A Rose Bowl victory would be icing on a well-earned cake.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have strong ties to the Rose Bowl, appearing in the game 14 times and winning six of them. The last time they were Rose Bowl champs was in 1997. Ohio State has been a major force in the Big 10 conference, winning at least a share of the title the last five years. Winning this year's Rose Bowl would add to the Buckeye's long tradition of gridiron greatness.
No matter who wins this year's Rose Bowl, it promises to be a great event. No college football fan's season is complete without "The Granddaddy of Them All."
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