While this marks the Utes’ first trip to the Rose Bowl, the Buckeyes are going for the 16th time.

For Utah’s football program, which began playing the sport in 1892, receiving the official invitation Sunday to play in the Rose Bowl marks a monumental milestone.

Not only that, but the No. 11 Utes (10-3), the Pac-12 champion, will square off against a storied program in No. 6 Ohio State of the Big Ten in the New Year’s Day contest in Pasadena, California.

“For us, it’s a great opportunity for our program. It’s the next step in the evolution of our program, getting to the Rose Bowl. Most years, that’s what the Pac-12 champion gets to experience,” said coach Kyle Whittingham, whose team jumped up six spots in the final College Football Playoff rankings released Sunday.

“It was the next step and the next goal for our program. It’s something we’ve been shooting for and had our sights on for a number of years. We’ve finally been able to get over that mountain and we’re very excited to have that opportunity … This bowl game is second-to-none.”