The Pac-12 can complete a successful bowl season in the Rose Bowl.
Resounding wins by Arizona and UCLA on New Year's Eve helped the conference collectively redeem itself after Arizona State's loss. The Pac-12 stands 6-2 in the postseason, going into Stanford vs. Michigan State on Wednesday afternoon in Pasadena, Calif.
The 100th Rose Bowl is intriguing, because the teams seem so evenly matched and so similar in style. It's being labeled a throwback game, with both programs having been built by tough defenses and a determination to run the football. Of course, that was pretty much the story line last January, when Stanford edged Wisconsin.
The Rose Bowl means a lot to the Pac-12, and this game has its own distinction. Next year, the Rose Bowl will serve as a semifinal contest in the College Football Playoff. In the interest of avoiding a geographical advantage, the selection committee may not send a Pac-12 team to Pasadena - and that's assuming the conference champion receives a playoff bid.
In any case, the circumstances have conspired to give the 2014 Rose Bowl all kinds of historical significance, and the game just might match its buildup. And Utah fans will be able to say their team beat the Rose Bowl's winner. Stanford 21, Michigan State 17.
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