A quarter-century is a long time to wait.
The last time Iowa played in the Rose Bowl, Kirk Ferentz had just finished his first year of three as head coach at Maine after spending nine seasons on Hayden Fry’s staff with the Hawkeyes.
Two years later, Ferentz would go to work for Bill Belichick and the Cleveland Browns. Also on that Browns staff was Nick Saban, who, 25 years ago, got his start as a head coach for the Toledo Rockets.
Yes, the game has changed plenty since Iowa last played in the Granddaddy of Them All. Its New Year’s Day meeting with Stanford in the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual is a historic event for the Hawkeyes, who lost to quarterback Mark Brunell and Washington in the 1991 Rose Bowl -- and have not returned to the site since.
In that 1990 season, Dabo Swinney was a freshman receiver at Alabama. Mark Dantonio spent the last of five years as defensive coordinator at Youngstown State under Jim Tressel. David Shaw was a senior in high school, set to sign soon with Stanford, where his father, Willie Shaw, coached, and David would play for Bill Walsh.
Ferentz’s old running mate at Iowa, Bob Stoops had moved on to hapless Kansas State to coach defensive backs.
Colorado, which owns the nation’s longest Power 5 bowl drought, finished No. 1 in the AP rankings after its Orange Bowl win against Notre Dame. The Buffaloes won 11 games behind dynamic quarterback Darian Hagan, who completed 46 percent of his passes.
Outside of college football, the year that began with Iowa’s most recent visit to the Rose Bowl was full of intrigue. How much do you remember about 1991?
"Seinfield" debuted on NBC, and Johnny Carson announced his retirement from the "Tonight Show."
A gallon of gas cost $1.53. (Not much different, huh?)
President George H.W. Bush launched Operation Desert Storm as Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, months later, began his run for the Oval Office.
Computers with commercial access to the Internet numbered 1 million. The first website was created. Microsoft released MS Dos 5.0. Apple unveiled the PowerBook.
The Bulls beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals for the first of six titles in eight years as 27-year-old Michael Jordan averaged 31.2 points and 11.4 assists in the five-game series. The Twins won the World Series behind the brilliance of Jack Morris.
"Dances With Wolves" won the Academy Award for best picture. Whoopi Goldberg, for "Ghost," and Joe Pesci, for "Goodfellas," were named best supporting actress and actor.
Nirvana released its second album, "Nevermind," which sparked the grunge movement. Madonna’s "Justify My Love" topped the Billboard charts in January.
Popular movies included "Silence of the Lambs," "Backdraft," "Thelma and Louise," and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," starring 43-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Another 43-year-old, Mike Krzyzewski, won his first of five -- and counting -- NCAA basketball titles for Duke with a victory against Kansas. Christian Laettner was the Most Outstanding Player.
LeBron James turned six two days before the 1991 Rose Bowl. Stephen Curry was two. Tom Brady was 13. Bryce Harper had not been born. Jason Heyward, the Cubs’ new $184 million man, was one. The average Major League Baseball salary, by the way, jumped 43 percent in 1991 to $845,000. It topped $4 million in 2015.
Whitney Houston sang the "Star Spangled Banner" before Super Bowl XXV, a win by the Giants against the Bills as Scott Norwood missed wide right.
Let’s hope the 2016 Rose Bowl kicks off an equally interesting year.