The 2008 Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi, the 94th Rose Bowl Game, played on January 1, 2008 at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, was a college football bowl game. The contest was televised on ABC, the 20th straight year the network aired the Rose Bowl, starting at 4:30pm EST. The game’s main sponsor was Citi.
The 2008 Rose Bowl featured the 7th-ranked USC Trojans hosting the 13th-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini. As with the previous year’s game, the contest was a semi-traditional Rose Bowl in that while it was a Big Ten versus Pac-10 matchup, the Big Ten representative was an at-large team because the conference champion, Ohio State, which lost to Illinois earlier in the season, was selected to play in the BCS National Championship Game.
USC was making its third straight appearance in the Rose Bowl, while Illinois had not played in the game since 1984. Though Illinois won the Big Ten Conference title in 2001, the then-rotating BCS title game moved them to the Sugar Bowl.