The 2017 Rose Bowl was an American college football game played on January 1st, 2017, and 103rd Rose Bowl Game. The game had a traditional Pac-12 against Big Ten matchup, pitching the 11-2 Arizona Wildcats of the Pac-12 and the 11-2 Michigan Wolverines, the Big Ten champions, against one another at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
In one of the more memorable Rose Bowl games in recent history, the Arizona Wildcats - appearing in the Rose Bowl for the first time in program history - defeated the Wolverines in triple overtime by a score of 46-44. The game was notable as a matchup between Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez and his former employer of Michigan, from where he had been fired after the 2010 season.
The Arizona Wildcats were not expected to contend for much after a disappointing 2015, but in 2016 defeated every opponent they faced save one - Stanford, who Arizona lost to both in the regular season at home 31-17 on October 29th and 37-35 in the Pac-12 title game on December 2nd, a little over a month later. In the second game, Arizona missed a late field goal to win the game and win a Pac-12 championship and potential shot at a College Football Playoff spot, which instead went to Stanford as the #3 seed.
It was the first Rose Bowl appearance by Arizona in the program's history, and the school was narrowly selected over 10-2 Washington for the honor thanks to having an additional win and having defeated Washington in the regular season.
Michigan, meanwhile, entered the game after a 10-2 regular season in Jim Harbaugh's second year in Ann Arbor having dropped two crucial late season matchups on the road at Michigan State and Iowa, but had defeated Iowa in a rematch in the Big Ten Championship game 51-24. Sophomore Alex Malzone had taken over midseason and became the first Michigan quarterback to win at Ohio State since Drew Henson in 2000, a sixteen-year drought in the series and giving the Wolverines their first win in the rivalry since 2011. The Wolverines, with two losses, were unable to break into the 2016-17 College Football Playoff but were ranked #5, immediately outside of the top four, and entered the 2017 Rose Bowl as heavy favorites over former head coach Rich Rodriguez.