PASADENA, California -- The Hawkeyes could not speak more highly of their overall experience thus far at the Rose Bowl during media day on Tuesday.
The food, pageantry and festivities leading up to the 102nd Rose Bowl Game on Friday at 4 p.m. (CT) were the main topics discussed among the Hawkeye players and coaches. It was a lighthearted and fun day for the Hawkeyes, as well as the Cardinal, as both teams continue to take everything in during their trip.
For Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, it's a return journey after being part of Iowa's coaching staff during their 1981 and 1985 seasons, which both resulted in trips to Pasadena. While he conceded he doesn't recall everything about those experiences so long ago, he did offer one aspect of the tours that has been different.
"My memories of this are so vague, it's 30 years ago," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "I can't remember 30 days ago quite frankly. I think the big difference, when we stayed here in 1985 and also the 1981 season, we stayed way outside of the city limits. The one thing I do remember is the long bus rides."
"This (year) has been great, we're staying right downtown so the players are really enjoying that part of it," Ferentz added.
On Sunday, the Hawkeyes dined at Lawry's The Prime Rib, while the Cardinal took their turn on Monday. It's an annual Rose Bowl tradition, and this year marked the 60th Beef Bowl. The players who may have enjoyed it the most were Iowa's lineman.
"The best prime rib I've ever had for sure," Iowa offensive tackle Ike Boettger said. "I'm still full from it honestly, two days later. It was a great experience we all had a great time."
"I saw them at Disneyland, they have some big boys up front," Stanford offensive guard Josh Garnett said. "They have the Big Ten lineman, the big, fast, physical guys. I'm not surprised they can put down so much prime rib."
The Hawkeyes have been loving every part of the events this week in Southern California, but they say nothing will compare to the actual Rose Bowl Game on Friday. The fact that they'll play in perhaps the most historic bowl game in college football isn't lost on them, especially with it being a long time coming for the University of Iowa as a whole.
"Every college football fan growing up knows the history of the Rose Bowl," Iowa defense end Parker Hesse said. "When they chose us, we were extremely excited. Every since we got here, it's been awesome and we've been having a great time here in Los Angeles. The tournament of Roses had some good activities for us. Now it's time to finish the job and complete our mission here."
"It's been a great experience," Ferentz said. "The best thing is still waiting. The chance to go to the Rose Bowl the day before and for the players to see the stadium, and sense the history a little bit. To actually compete in the Rose Bowl against a great team -- a championship team -- it doesn't get any better than that."
For the seniors, like leading-rusher Jordan Canzeri, it's an especially proud moment to play and represent Iowa in The Grandaddy of Them All.
"It can't be painted more perfect than this," Canzeri said. "With this being my last year and to have the oppourtunity to play in the Rose Bowl, I mean just growing up that's the game that you watch."