1999 Rose Bowl

1999 Rose Bowl
presented by AT&T
85th Rose Bowl Game
1234 Total
Wisconsin 71777 38
UCLA 71473 31
Date January 1, 1999
Season 1998
Stadium Rose Bowl Stadium
Location Pasadena, California
MVP Ron Dayne (Wisconsin RB)
National anthem University of Wisconsin Marching Band
Referee John Laurie (Big 12)
Halftime show University of Wisconsin Marching Band, UCLA Band
Attendance 93,872
United States TV coverage
Network ABC
Announcers Keith Jackson, Bob Griese

The 1999 Rose Bowl was the 85th Rose Bowl game and was played on Friday January 1, 1999 at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California. It was a college football bowl game at the end of the 1998 NCAA Division I-A football season. Wisconsin defeated UCLA by a score of 38-31. Ron Dayne of Wisconsin was named the Rose Bowl Player of the Game.[1] He tied a modern Rose Bowl record with four touchdowns. This was the first year that the Rose Bowl became part of the Bowl Championship Series, ending a long-standing agreement between the Big Ten and the "West Representative" (PCC/AAWU) and the first year that the game was branded with corporate sponsorship. Unlike the other bowl games, the sponsor was not added to the title of the game, but instead as a presenter, so it became known as The Rose Bowl Game presented by AT&T.[2]

Bowl Championship Series

The Bowl Coalition was restructured into the Bowl Alliance for the 1995 season, involving five conferences (reduced to four for the 1996 season) and three bowls. The championship game rotated among the three bowls. However, it still didn't include the Pac-10 or Big Ten champs.

Michigan and Nebraska split the National Championship during the 1997 season after never having met on the field. After a protracted round of negotiations, the Bowl Alliance was reconfigured into the Bowl Championship Series for the 1998 season. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses, which operates the Rose Bowl Game, agreed to release the Big Ten or Pac-10 champions if necessary to facilitate a national championship game. In return, the Rose Bowl was added to the yearly national championship game rotation.


UCLA Bruins

Beginning in November, the Bruins were ranked number 2 behind Tennessee. It appeared that they would face the Volunteers in the BCS championship. The UCLA Bruins went undefeated through the 1998 football season until their final game. In late September, Miami was forced to postpone their game with UCLA due to Hurricane Georges. The game was rescheduled for December 5 and for the #2-ranked Bruins, a trip to the National Championship game was at stake. The Hurricanes put up over 600 yards of total offense and the result was a stunning 49-45 victory. Instead of advancing to the first Bowl Championship series game (the 1999 Fiesta Bowl) as a contender for the national championship, the Bruins "settled" for the Rose Bowl, something that previously had been the ultimate goal of the Pacific-10 conference champion.

Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin ended up in a three way tie for first place in the Big Ten with Michigan and Ohio State. All three teams had 7-1 conference records and were conference co-champions. Michigan had defeated Wisconsin 27-10 in "The Big House". Wisconsin and Ohio State did not meet. At the time, the Big Ten awarded the Rose Bowl invitation to the tied team which had gone the longest period of time without an invitation: Michigan had been in the 1998 Rose Bowl, Ohio State had been in the 1997 Rose Bowl, while Wisconsin had last been in the 1994 Rose Bowl.

The circumstances of this selection and the fact that UCLA had so recently fallen from the lofty #2 in the nation status led many to deride and seriously underestimate the Badgers; most notably, ESPN analyst Craig James with his infamous declaration that Wisconsin was "the worst team to ever play in the Rose Bowl".

Game summary

The weather was sunny and 74 degrees. Several Rose Bowl records were equaled or broken. The UCLA Bruins set the single team Rose Bowl record for total yards. In his final college game, Cade McNown, the UCLA quarterback, passed for 340 yards, the fourth-highest total in bowl history, and UCLA finished with 538 yards, 418 in the air.

Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne tied the modern Rose Bowl record of four touchdowns along with Eric Ball from the 1986 Rose Bowl and Sam Cunningham from the 1973 Rose Bowl. The teams would break an older record of 931 combined yards of offense, combining for 1,035 total yards.

In the second quarter, UCLA took its only lead of the game (21-14) with back-to-back touchdowns.


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter


Team Stats Wisconsin UCLA
First Downs 22 25
Net Yards Rushing 343 120
Net Yards Passing 154 418
Total Yards 497 538
PC–PA–Int. 9–17–0 21–36–1
Punts–Avg. 5–41.2 3–47.0
Fumbles–Lost 2–1 1–1
Penalties–Yards 7–45 9–94

Game notes


Rose Bowl records

Eight Rose Bowl records were set or tied in the game.

With his four touchdowns, Ron Dayne tied three modern Rose Bowl touchdown records: most touchdowns, most rushing touchdowns and most career rushing touchdowns. With 24 points, he also tied most points in game and career. These records are shared along with Eric Ball from the 1986 Rose Bowl and Sam Cunningham from the 1973 Rose Bowl. Vince Young would also join this group following the 2006 Rose Bowl, and the records still stand as of the 2015 Rose Bowl. Dayne was named the Rose Bowl MVP for 1999 and would repeat this feat in the 2000 Rose Bowl, becoming one of only three (now, four) players to ever repeat as a Rose Bowl MVP (and the only player from the Big Ten Conference).

For the teams, the following records were broken, but no longer stand.

Wisconsin travel budget audit

The University paid for a traveling party of 832 people. This included the football team, marching band, university officials, their spouses, cheerleaders, and three Bucky mascots. A large number stayed at the Beverly Hills Hotel.[3] In a review by the Wisconsin State Joint Legislative Audit Committee in 1999, the committee found that the University of Wisconsin spent $2,093,500 on the trip, versus a post season revenue share of $1,806,800.[4] Subsequent reviews found a number of areas where expenses could have been reduced substantially.


  1. 2008 Rose Bowl Program, 2008 Rose Bowl. Accessed January 26, 2008.
  2. RICHARD SANDOMIR - TV SPORTS; A Private Line for the Rose Bowl. New York Times, January 1, 1999
  3. Sperber, Murray (2001). Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports Is Crippling Undergraduate Education. pp. 222–223. ISBN 0-8050-6811-2.
  4. A REVIEW Division of Intercollegiate Athletics University of Wisconsin–Madison 99-18 October 1999 State Auditor - Janice Mueller
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