Ohio State lost to Michigan 0-28 in their annual rivalry game. Wisconsin and Ohio State ended the season with identical 9-1-1 records with 6-1-1 conference records, and tied the only time they met during the season in a game at Camp Randall (college football did not adopt "overtime" to resolve ties in regulation until the 1996 season). Wisconsin and Ohio State were co-champions of the Big Ten. Wisconsin won the Rose Bowl invitation tiebreaker due to Big Ten rules which resolved first-place ties by eliminating the most recent invitee: Wisconsin had last been to the Rose Bowl in 1963, while Ohio State was in the 1985 Rose Bowl.
UCLA opened the season with two close losses: 25-27 against California, and 13-14 against Nebraska. The Bruins then won seven in a row, including a win over #7 Arizona. They lost 3-9 against Arizona State. The 1993 UCLA-USC rivalry game had the Pac-10 championship and the Rose Bowl berth on the line for both the Bruins and the Trojans. UCLA won 27-21 at the Coliseum. Arizona was tied for first, but did not receive the Rose Bowl invitation because of the head-to-head loss at UCLA. This was coach Terry Donahue's last Rose Bowl appearance.