The final outcome of the Rose Bowl was not what Iowa fans wanted, but for a program that entered the season on such rocky footing, the experience of Pasadena is what should be remembered.
It was once Stanford kicked a field goal to go up 38-0 that I decided the outcome of the game wasn’t going to ruin the Rose Bowl for me. That was the best decision I made during the course of the Stanford rout of Iowa. It allowed me to celebrate like crazy once Iowa finally got on the board and laugh off the missed Marshall Koehn extra point, because at some point one of his missed PATs should have bitten Iowa during the perfect regular season and never did.
None of this is to say I was happy to see Iowa get dismantled by Heisman runner-up, Christian McCaffrey, (368 all-purpose yards) or give those who doubted in the national media the justification they needed to believe Iowa was never for real. Rather, it is my understanding I can do noting to control the outcome of a football game.
For the first time in program history, Iowa went 12-0 in the regular season. It was one of the greatest drives in college football history away from winning the Big Ten and breaking into the College Football Playoff. For the first time since 1991, Iowa earned a trip to Pasadena and Kirk Ferentz had the chance to accomplish what Hayden Fry couldn’t.
More from Dear Old Gold
- Bet $1, Win $365 GUARANTEED Backing Hawkeyes with Bet365 Iowa Promo!
- How Fans Can Get an Official Jersey from Fanatics This Week!
- Bet365 Iowa Promo: Bet $1 on Hawkeyes vs. Cyclones, Win $200 Bonus GUARANTEED!
- Caesars + BetMGM Iowa Promos: Win $250 GUARANTEED + Back Hawkeyes With $1,500 No-Sweat Bet!
- DraftKings + FanDuel Iowa Promos: $400 Bonus for Iowa vs Utah State Week 1
This is for the fans sitting behind me who left the game early and stated what a bust the whole experience was. I won’t get into the decision of fans to leave the game early, but rather the fact they think a chance to experience all the history and pageantry of the Rose Bowl was a waste.
It was 12 short months ago that the Hawkeyes were in Jacksonville, Florida being humiliated by the Tennessee Volunteers in the TaxSlayer Bowl as a quarterback carousel made everyone question the state of the program and put Ferentz’s seat on the hottest level possible. A Rose Bowl berth less than a year later seemed unfathomable.
Should Hawkeye fans be satisfied with the outcome of the Rose Bowl? Absolutely not, but it sets the tone for the 2016 Hawkeyes to head back to Pasadena and finish the journey or even dream bigger and crash the playoff party.
This Rose Bowl berth essentially gave two generations of Iowa fans the chance to make the most special pilgrimage for Big Ten fans. It turned New Year’s Day into what felt like a home game in Southern California. The most iconic site in all of college football was striped in black and gold by a fan base that traveled across the country to outnumber the opponent by what seemed 3-to-1.
For those who are still angry about the outcome, I don’t blame you. It is hard for me to completely reconcile a season that started 12-0 ending without a Big Ten title or a bowl trophy. By that same token, I got to experience one of the greatest seasons in Iowa history, make a trip to Pasadena, and even witness one of, if not the most, impressive performances by a single player in the long and storied history of the Rose Bowl (even if it will take years, maybe decades, to appreciate that fact).
Next year, I expect a win, but the loss will not ruin the incredible experience of ringing in 2016 with upwards of 60,000 of my closest friends for what is hopefully not a once in a lifetime opportunity.