UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Nittany Lions are smelling the roses and, frankly, the players couldn’t more excited about a trip to play in this year’s Rose Bowl.

“I’ve been watching the Rose Bowl since I was like a kid,” said Kalen King, a sophomore corner back. “And like growing up, my favorite player was Charles Woodson, and he went to the Rose Bowl and he had to like the Rose in his mouth and took a picture that was like one of my favorite college football moments. So to be in a Rose Bowl is just like it means a lot.”

On the 100th anniversary of Penn State first trip to Pasadena. Penn State makes its fifth run back. It is a moment most of the team will enjoy as Penn State appears to have avoided mass opt-outs.

“I have intentions on playing in the Rose Bowl,” said Ji’Ayir Brown, a senior safety.

So far, only two players have decided not to make the trip. Brown said it was a 50/50 decision to play, but many players cite the magnitude of “The Granddaddy of Them All” for why it was a no-brainer.

“I’m not trying to knock the ball that we were in last year, but it is the Rose Bowl,” said Sean Clifford, a redshirt-senior quarterback. “It’s it’s it’s historic. It’s very, very important.”

“I remember watching them games,” said PJ Mustipher, a senior defensive tackle. “So I love the Rose Bowl. Man, I’m telling you this, I’m not going to take this for granted because I know it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The Rose Bowl is one of the most iconic football games, but its traditional format is coming to an end. Since 2014, it has been apart of the College Football Playoffs ever other year. But, with expansion on the horizon, this year’s game will be the final one guaranteed to feature a team from the Pac-12 and Big Ten.

No. 11 Penn State will play no. 8 Utah on January 2 at 5:00 PM.

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