I like the Rose Bowl and all, but it loses something when the Big 10 and/or Pac 10 champs aren't there, which has happened quite a bit in the last 10 years. Since 2002, the following non-Big Ten/Pac 10 champions have been in the game.
2002: Miami, Nebraska*
2009: Penn State
*These are BCS Championship games. Obviously more prestigious than a Rose Bowl without nat'l championship implications, but not adhering to the tradition, which is my point.
In other words, the only time the game has been between the champs of each conference was 2004 (Michigan/USC), and 2010 (Ohio State/Oregon). Not exactly adhering to the tradition.
Also, what's more prestigious: a championship game played in Ann Arbor or a trip to California?