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2012 Rose Bowl: 50 Years Ago Today UCLA Was Pac-12 Rep

On January 1st, 1962, the UCLA Bruins and Minnesota Gophers met in the Rose Bowl after winning Big 10 and what was then known as the AAWU, as had been done since 1923 and will be done again tomorrow when the Oregon Ducks and Wisconsin Badgers meet at the Rose Bowl. The game survived the dissolving of the Pacific Coast Conference, and reforming into the Pacific 8 conference when the Washington State Cougars were let back in (1962) and then the Oregon Ducks and Oregon St. Beavers (1964). UCLA went 7-4 in 1961, including a win over USC in the crosstown rivalry.

With only four conference members, UCLA had to fill their schedule with a number of out of conference games. This meant trips to Denver (to take on the Air Force Falcons), Ann Arbor (Michigan Wolverines), and Columbus (Ohio St. Buckeyes). UCLA also hosted the Vanderbilt Commodores, Pitt Panthers, and Texas Christian Horned Frogs at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. UCLA's only conference loss came at the hands of the Washington Huskies.

Minnesota was a powerhouse team in those days, winning the National Championship in 1960. They were co-Big 10 champions with the Iowa Hawkeyes that year, each team with one conference loss, but it was the Gophers who went to the Rose Bowl setting them up to be voted Champion. Minnesota went 7-2 in the 1961 regular season, with one conference loss.

The winner of the Big 10 in 1961 was the Ohio St. Buckeyes who went undefeated in conference play. However, the Pacific Coast Conference dissolving ended the formal agreement the Rose Bowl had with the Big 10 and PCC, so the Buckeyes chose to decline the invitation extended to them. A formal agreement was reached between the two conferences in time for the 1963 Rose Bowl.

It'd didn't make much of a difference to UCLA, who were beaten soundly by the Big 10 runner up 21-3. The Bruins would appear in the Rose Bowl again in 1966, that time defeating Michigan St. 14-12. UCLA has made 12 appearances in the Rose Bowl, with just five wins.

That 1966 victory was UCLA's first win in a Rose Bowl game. That loss in 1962 was UCLA's fifth loss in fifth tries, leading some to believe the Bruins were cursed. It could be argued that Rose Bowl was a bit of a turning point, as UCLA went 5-2 in Rose Bowls after that day.