CARSON, Calif. — The fight songs, the helmets, the school colors, the national titles: Texas and Michigan are two of the proudest programs in the history of college football.

Throw it all together for one game, and Saturday's Rose Bowl matchup between No. 6 Texas (10-1) and No. 13 Michigan (9-2) will be the epicenter of the proud traditions of college football, even if just by being there Texas has upset some of the purists.

The 91st Rose Bowl will be the first meeting between two of college football's elite programs.

"It's a game that everybody in the country is going to want to see," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "I think the tradition of college football is about to write a new story."

Both schools have been playing football since the 1800s with smashing success, just not against each other.

Michigan (842) and Texas (786) rank Nos. 1 and 3, respectively, for the most wins in Division I football. Michigan has won two Associated Press national championships (1948 and '97), and Texas has also won two (1963, '69).

They have five Heisman Trophy winners between them. Michigan's Desmond Howard famously struck a Heisman pose after a touchdown against Ohio State in 1991.

And they have a pair of old-timer former coaches — Texas' Darrell Royal and Michigan's Bo Schembechler — who are good friends and the patriarchs of proud programs.

Both coaches said Thursday their teams never met while they were coaching because they had tough enough non-conference schedules.

"We had a loaded boat," said Royal, who at 80 rarely travels with Texas anymore but made sure to make the trip to California. "We weren't looking to put any more weight on it."

"Texas had to play Oklahoma, that's a decent team," said the 75-year-old Schembechler. "And we always played Notre Dame. We didn't want any more tough games."

Schembechler and Royal have been friends for more than 40 years and while they never played, Schembechler had a hand in Texas' 1969 national title.

After Michigan beat then-No. 1 Ohio State, Texas took over the top spot and finished undefeated. It was Texas' last undisputed national championship.

"That was my first year at Michigan. Woody (Hayes) always claimed I would never win a bigger game than that," Schembechler said.

"I agree with Woody," Royal said.

Michigan and Texas are two of the most recognizable programs in college football for many reasons, on and off the field.

Texas's unique burnt-orange and white uniform, the simple Longhorns logo on the white helmet, and the forefinger-and-pinky "Hook'em Horns!" salute are well-known throughout the Southwest.

Michigan's winged helmet design is undoubtedly THE most famous in college football, if not the strangest.

Although simply a design introduced by coach Herbert O. "Fritz" Crisler in 1938 when most teams wore black or brown helmets, fans outside of Michigan often wonder what it is.

"I thought it was a Wolverine claw or something," Texas safety Michael Huff said. Michigan's "Hail to the Victors" and the Longhorns "Texas Fight" are two of the most played fight songs.

Written by a fan after Michigan's 12-11 win over Chicago in 1898, "Victors" was first performed by John Philip Sousa and his band in 1899. The tune to "Texas Fight" is a sped-up version of "Taps."

Texas coach Mack Brown said he first learned "Hail to the Victors" in his middle school band class growing up in Cookeville, Tenn.

"I'm a fight song freak," Brown said. Brown had been practically giddy over the Rose Bowl matchup since it was announced on Dec. 5, even as he's faced a steady stream of questions over whether his team should even be here.

Texas leapfrogged California in the final Bowl Championship Series standings, creating a wave of criticism against Brown and the Longhorns for breaking up the traditional Pac-10 vs. Big Ten matchup.

"I know there's a tremendous amount of pressure on us coming from outside," Brown said. "But the Rose Bowl will never have a group more excited to come to Pasadena than the Texas Longhorns."

Michigan has played in 18 Rose Bowls, including the first in 1902. Saturday will be Texas' first.

Schembechler, who said he would normally have wanted to see the Wolverines play a Pac-10 team, is OK with a Texas-Michigan matchup. "The thing that makes this more palatable is the fact that how else could we match up Texas and Michigan?" Schembechler said. "That makes for a great Rose Bowl game."