SAN DIEGO – Even though he’s won a Super Bowl, it still irks Aaron Rodgers that he and the California Golden Bears were bumped from the Rose Bowl seven years ago by Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns.
The Longhorns went on to beat Michigan in Pasadena. Relegated to the Holiday Bowl, Cal played like a jilted team and was overrun by Texas Tech in Rodgers’ final game.
The Golden Bears can get a measure of revenge when they play the Longhorns in a matchup of 7-5 teams in the Holiday Bowl tonight.
Rodgers, who led the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl win last year as the NFC’s No. 6 seed, let out a deep sigh when asked earlier this month if he’s still upset about what happened seven years ago.
“Yes. Well, we got them now in the Holiday Bowl, so, seven years later, yes, I’m still upset about it,” he told San Francisco Bay Area reporters in a conference call before the Packers played host to the Oakland Raiders. “That was something that I would’ve really loved to have been a part of. The last Rose Bowl for Cal, I want to say, was in the ’50s. Got to get back there soon.”
Cal hasn’t been to the Rose Bowl since Jan. 1, 1959.
In 2004, Texas overtook Cal in the final BCS standings and went to the Rose Bowl. Rodgers said then that Brown “was a little classless” in begging for poll votes.
“There’s a lot better way to do it, and it’s called a playoff system,” Rodgers said this year. “It’s ridiculous.”
Cal coach Jeff Tedford said most people have let ’04 go, but understands how Rodgers feels.
“I think it was hard for that team, for that group of guys who had earned the right to, what we felt was to be in the Rose Bowl,” Tedford said Tuesday. “While the fans probably still have some bitterness about it now, the guys on our team right now, they were 10 years old when that happened.”
While Cal won three of its final four games, the Longhorns have lost three of four coming in.
The Longhorns have had shaky quarterback play all season. Brown said he hasn’t decided whether Case McCoy or David Ash will start, but said both will probably play.