"Purple to Pasadena" is a Rose Bowl refrain that traditionally should have everything to do with Northwestern and nothing to do with Texas Christian.
Gary Barnett once made good on a vow to lead Evanston to the Land of Milk and Sunny (except for most of this month), but no one 15 years ago could have imagined a "Gary" Patterson leading Forth Worth forth.
"Horns to Hollywood" should be a battle cry connected to Arizona's brass section, not to frog legs.
Texas Christian vs. Wisconsin is a terrific Rose Bowl matchup, unless you're from 1978 and think Stanford vs. Wisconsin was the obvious answer.
"I am seriously irritated by this thing," Chuck Evans, who played linebacker at Stanford in the 1970s, said this week. "Tradition goes out the window again, like it has with most other things."
Those weaned on the traditional Pacific Coast/Big Ten offering are conditioned enough to understand how the Rose Bowl lost Pac-10 champion Oregon to this season's national title game. However, many are fuzzy as to why top-five Stanford did not replace Oregon as the Rose Bowl representative.
"There isn't an answer that is going to please everybody," Rose Bowl CEO Scott McKibben said this week. "We understand it. We accept it."
It's not just outsiders, though, who feel the Rose Bowl has lost touch with its inner self.
"We probably have people in our own organization who feel that way," McKibben said.
The mandate to take TCU over Stanford was the latest unintended consequence of the Rose Bowl joining the Bowl Championship Series, a decision many rue but no one can rewind.
It didn't seem that complicated in 1998, when the Rose Bowl, in conjunction with the Pac-10 and Big Ten, agreed to join the BCS and give away its anchors to a national title game any year one of its champions finished No. 1 or No. 2 in the BCS standings.
The odds of the Rose Bowl keeping its traditional pairing every year seemed pretty good.
Before the BCS, the Rose Bowl game, according to this year's historical record book, featured a No. 1 team only four times — 1998 (Michigan), 1980 ( Ohio State), 1969 (Ohio State) and 1963 ( USC). Yet, this will be the fifth time since 1998 the Rose Bowl has not featured a Pac-10/Big Ten matchup.
Two games were anomalies because the Rose Bowl, after the 2001 and 2005 seasons, hosted only the national title game. Starting in the 2006 season, the BCS went to a "double host" format in which each major bowl hosted its own game and the national championship.
That addendum last year gifted Pasadena with four of the top 10 teams in the final BCS standings — a traditional Rose Bowl featuring No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 8 Ohio State on Jan. 1 followed a week later by No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Texas.
The Rose Bowl also enjoyed a serendipitous moment in the 2004 game when USC, No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, was snubbed by the BCS title game but claimed the AP title with a Rose Bowl win over Michigan.
But it hasn't all been cupcakes.
UCLA's surprising run to national title contention in 1998, the first BCS season, produced the most awkward moment in Rose Bowl history. A season-ending loss at Miami knocked teary-eyed UCLA out of the national title game and into the Rose Bowl.
"Imagine that," Nick Aliotti, Oregon's defensive coordinator, who was UCLA's coordinator that season, recently mused. "Getting knocked into the Rose Bowl."
The experience following the 2001 regular season was — how to put this — a nightmare. It was the first time Pasadena gave away its baby to host No. 1 vs. No. 2. A Rose Bowl representative handed out roses to Miami in, of all places, Blacksburg, Va., after the Hurricanes clinched the bid with a win over Virginia Tech.
"Bet you never thought you'd be standing here," a reporter quipped to the Rose Bowl rep on the sideline.
The title game was played on a Thursday night, two days after the parade, and featured powerhouse Miami blowing out a Nebraska team that was coming off a 62-36 loss at Colorado.
It didn't help that Oregon was left out despite being No. 2 in the AP and coaches polls and had to be farmed out to the Fiesta Bowl.
The 2002 season, though, may have been worse, with the Rose Bowl staging Oklahoma-Washington State while the Orange Bowl got USC vs. Iowa.
The Rose Bowl was officially bloodstained after Texas earned an automatic bid to Pasadena over California for the 2005 game in a vicious BCS standings battle that led to charges of vote tampering.
The Rose Bowl, in 1998, could not have foreseen many of these unintended consequences.
It could not have envisioned the politics and quirks and BCS bowl infighting.
No one foresaw the rise of "non-AQ" powers such as Utah, Boise State and TCU, which have broken down BCS access thresholds no one expected them to meet.
Although it was once thought that no "non-AQ" would rise above, TCU is the seventh to qualify for a BCS game since Utah broke the ice in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.