January 1, 1982. It was the day Iowa played in the Rose Bowl for the first time in 23 years. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Despite the mass hysteria that's gripped our state in 2015, the excitement leading up to the game in late 1981 was probably even greater. The proof is in the music that was produced ahead of it. Love it or hate it now, we all loved it in 1981.

Iowa had gone 8-4 during the 1981 season including stunning upsets over #7 Nebraska and #6 UCLA and a road win at #5 Michigan. Iowa won their final three games by a combined score of 86-21 to tie for the Big Ten title. Iowa tied Ohio State for the top spot in the conference but headed to the Rose Bowl because the Buckeyes had been there more recently, in 1979. The Rose Bowl was all ANYONE was talking about leading up to the new year. My hometown of Sigourney had a Pizza Hut at that time and we got a copy of "Bringing Home the Roses" with "Hawkeye Hut Hut" on the reverse side of the 45 rpm record. We pretty much wore the thing out, I think.

Iowa was ranked #13 for the New Year's Day matchup against #12 Washington. The game itself was forgettable. Iowa was shut out for the first time all season, losing 28-0 to the Huskies in front of more than 105,000. Washington's Jacque Robinson became the first freshman to ever be named Player of the Game. He averaged seven yards per carry and scored three touchdowns. It was that kind of day.

Obviously, after a perfect regular season the Hawkeyes are headed back to Pasadena... this time for the first time in 25 years. Hopefully, the outcome will be much different.

[via RoseBowlStadium.com]