What Going to the Rose Bowl Meant to U Students


Jack Gambassi

Utah quarterback Cameron Rising (#7) awaits the snap from center Paul Maile (#54) during the Rose Bowl Game versus Penn State on Jan. 2, 2023 in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Max Lepore, Sports Writer


After making their first-ever appearance in the Rose Bowl following the 2021 season, the Utah Utes followed up with an even more remarkable feat. They pulled off the miraculous and somehow took down No. 4 ranked USC for the second time in the season in the Pac-12 Championship Game, punching their ticket to the Rose Bowl for the second straight year.

Despite falling short in the Rose Bowl both years, Utah certainly gained benefits from their presence in the game. This brought attention to university athletics, but it also meant a lot to its students, who love and root for the team more than anyone.

Sophomore Eli Rehmer has had a unique opportunity regarding the two games. He was able to attend the first one as a fan, rooting for his school from the stands.

“I chose to go to the Rose Bowl because I couldn’t pass up the experience,” Rehmer said. “Growing up a Utah fan my whole life, it had been my dream to see them play.”

This past year, Rehmer became a student photographer for Utah Athletics and had the chance to travel and work this game.

“When I got the opportunity to take pictures at the game, I was super excited to see them on that stage,” he said.

Rehmer was thrilled to have both of these experiences. Seeing his favorite team play in such a big game was “huge” for him, and it meant a lot as it “definitely changed [his] college career for the better.”

However, Rehmer recognized that it is not just sports fans like him that benefit from the Utes playing in the Rose Bowl.

“Students can all benefit from the U playing in the Rose Bowl because it grows the university’s name in general,” Rehmer said. “People start to recognize the U more and it can really help all students.”

Rehmer pointed out how the Rose Bowl benefited all students because it put the U on the map. For a school that provides a lot to its students, it’s important for U to have that national recognition, and playing in the Rose Bowl is an incredibly effective way of that happening.

Miles Gage, a junior who works with the practice squad for the women’s basketball and an intern with Utah Athletics marketing department, also attended the Rose Bowl this year.

Gage shared how the game was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not only to go to but also watch your school compete in ‘the granddaddy of them all.'”

Gage elaborated that football is not just a big deal at the university, but also for the Mighty Utah Student Section, or the MUSS, who root for the Utes more than anyone.

“That experience is enhanced by playing in a New Year’s Six game,” Gage said. “It’s a college memory that will last a lifetime for me.”

As a student who is heavily involved in University Athletics, Gage especially saw the unique impact of the Rose Bowl on students.

“It puts the University of Utah on a national stage where the students get recognized for all we do when it comes to athletics, academics, campus life and more,” Gage said. “I think the Rose [Bowl] now really boosted the prestige of the U.”

Gage has a diverse experience as he is a student ambassador for the university and an incoming director within the Union Programming Council. If anyone was able to see the Rose Bowl’s unique impact on various aspects of the student experience, it would be him.

Jack Agopian, a sophomore who grew up in Southern California, also shared his experience with attending the Rose Bowl.

“I was never big on football until going to college,” Agopian said. “Following the team up to the Rose Bowl really enhanced my college experience.”

Growing up close to Pasadena, Agopian had a special connection to the area that truly enhanced his experience at the big game.

Agopian shared another reason the Rose Bowl can impact the university. He discussed how the game gives the U “a lot of notoriety.” He even knew a few people who learned about the university because of the Rose Bowl and had an interest in attending here.

At the end of the day, many people will remember the Utes’ loss in the Rose Bowl. They were unable to finish the deal, and that was disappointing. However, this does not mean that their participation in the game was not valuable. Many students recognize how their experience has been impacted by the U’s presence on such a national stage. As the Utes look ahead to the upcoming 2023 football season, students are certainly eager for their team to return to such a prominent position.


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