WASHINGTON -- For a few tantalizing moments, college football's two unbeaten teams stood only a few feet apart in the East Room of the White House.
"For the entire season, especially the last month, everyone wanted Michigan and Nebraska to meet," President Clinton said. "I'm the only person to pull it off.
"Since the sun's shining outside, we ought to go out and settle the whole thing. We'll call it the Rose Garden Bowl."
Players from both teams roared in agreement. However, they had to settle for a tour and pictures during Thursday's visit to the White House.
Michigan (12-0) was the overwhelming No. 1 in The Associated Press writers' poll after defeating Washington State 21-16 in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. Nebraska (13-0) was the narrow winner in the coaches' poll after routing Tennessee 42-17 in the Orange Bowl.
The coaches, Michigan's Lloyd Carr and Nebraska's since-retired Tom Osborne, weren't as game for a scrimmage on the lawn, and instead praised each other's teams. The respective team captains presented gifts to the president, including the traditional jerseys in school colors.
"This makes you an honorary Michigan man," Wolverines co-captain Eric Mayes said, "with all the privileges it invokes."
Replied Clinton: "As long as I can be on injured reserve."