Michigan developed a kind of Rose Bowl curse in the Schembechler years, but team 110 got over the hump. Michigan hadn't won a Rose Bowl since 1980, Schembechler's first. Prior to that, every time they made it since his hiring, they lost. Some good fortune came Michigan's way for the 1988 game though, because USC, still a terror in the college football world, happened to be between the two coaching stints of John Robinson, the man who had Michigan's number.
In a year where John Kolesar caught the winning touchdown against Ohio State for the second time in his career, a Rose Bowl victory against USC seems an appropriate finale.