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The 91st Rose Bowl
We're not bitter that the Texas Longhorns marched into Pasadena yesterday and walked away with a thrilling Rose Bowl victory at the end of a great game. We're not bitter that it was so cold in the arena that we were more obsessed with wind chill and frozen toes in the stands than we were with Vince Young's Michael Vick impersonation on the field or Lloyd Carr's decision to save his timeouts to ice the kicker rather use them to keep time on the clock and give his offense a chance to get on the field.
No, we're bitter at the BCS and their screwing with tradition. The 91 year old Rose Bowl is supposed to be a Big 10/Pac 10 affair. Michigan fans understood and sensed this. For the most part, they showed team pride through solid renditions of Hail To the Victors and It's Great to Be a Michigan Wolverine and foam hands with mock claws on end. The sea of orange from Texas, in what appeared to be a much larger contingency than the maize and blue faithful, delighted in cheers of "Hail to you big cocksuckers" and other witty remarks. Popular among tailgaters were the brilliant t-shirts reading "Muck Fichigan".
The Wolverines took it all in stride, even after pulling ahead at the end of the third quarter, most cheered proudly but didn't taunt much. Maybe it was because they didn't trust Coach Carr's ability to play call at the end of the game or the realization that they had no answer for Vince Young but we'd like to think it was simple deference to tradition. No need to mock and puff up. They'd been here before.
As they walked slowly out of the stands while the Longhorns celebrated , a Michigan alum turned to an older Texas fan and said, "Great game but you won't be back again." The Texas fan replied, "You're probably right." With the national championship game at the Rose Bowl next year, it's not likely either team will be here then but with any luck and any sense of tradition, the Wolverines will be back soon to play a Pac-10 power. And maybe, just maybe, the sun will shine on Pasadena once more.