LOS ANGELES — Kickoff for the 105thRose Bowl is Tuesday and it will be the first – and last – time Urban Meyer has a chance to coach his Ohio State Buckeyes in the game.
Meyer is stepping down as head coach after the season and is focused on going out with a win.
“I don’t want to devalue the experience, but we’re here to win a football game,” Meyer said. “And the best part of doing a bowl experience is to do your very best to go win and winning it. We’ve been working hard on that, realizing who we’re playing, how good they are.”
He said coaching in the game is a “bucket list” item.
“I can’t imagine a better opportunity, better bowl game to go play,” Meyer said.
Standing in the way of Meyer and his Buckeyes are Chris Petersen and his Washington Huskies.
“I’ve admired his programs to the point that I went and visited him when he was at Boise State,” Meyer said.
Washington is making its first appearance in the Rose Bowl since 2001.
“This has been something our staff and a lot of people in the state of Washington have been longing to come back here,” Petersen said. “After the week of being here, you can see why. It’s a first class operation and we’re playing an elite team.
“Both these programs grew up with this being the pinnacle of the season. And it’s changed a little bit, a little bit with the playoff system now,” Petersen added. “But if you’re not going to be in that, what other bowl is there to be at? This is it. This is the history, the tradition, the respect that – this is what college football is all about.”
Meyer has compiled an 85-9 record in his seven seasons with Ohio State and is handing off the program to Ryan Day, who has served as OSU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the last two seasons.
“I can’t imagine its not every coaches dream to hand it off to someone that you really believe can make it stronger and not have a bunch of people lose their jobs,” Meyer said. “The foundation is so strong at Ohio State, the culture is so strong and it certainly wasn’t me, it was all of us.”
The game kicks off at 5 p.m. EDT on ABC.