PASADENA, Calif. — Ron Dayne isn't sure what he did to get inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
Here is a hint: two Rose Bowl most valuable player awards.
Here is another one: 446 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
"It's probably up there with, I'd have to say, winning the Heisman," Dayne, the former University of Wisconsin running back, said prior to his induction ceremony on Saturday afternoon. "It's a great honor. I'm just happy I'm here. I don't know what you had to do to get into it.
"I kind of thought you had to be a little older to get in Hall of Fames."
It was only a matter of time for Dayne and, with the Badgers facing Oregon on Monday in the 98th Rose Bowl, the timing was perfect.
The only thing that mattered to Dayne, now 33, was winning — and he would love it if his success here rubbed off on the current team. Dayne will attend the game, as he did last season for UW's 21-19 loss to TCU here.
"It's just great to be here, to support the team," Dayne said. "Coming back to a place I'm familiar with — we came here twice and won; just trying to get the guys to, not (give) a pep talk, just let them know it's rare when you make it here. Take advantage of it."
Dayne was introduced by his former coach, Barry Alvarez, the UW athletic director who told some of the familiar stories. NBC announcer Dick Enberg and Washington running back, kicker and defensive back George Fleming were also in the class with Dayne.
Alvarez saw the potential in Dayne as a running back, while other schools wanted him to be a fullback or linebacker. During their first meeting, Alvarez recalled Dayne saying, "Coach, I like to carry the ball."
"He didn't know what he was getting into," Alvarez said. "I liked to give him the ball."
Dayne is the all-time leading rusher in Football Bowl Subdivision history with 6,397 yards. Counting bowl games, the total is 7,125.
There may never be another back quite like Dayne, who weighed 270 pounds or more during various points in his career, while carrying the ball 1,220 times.
"He left a great legacy, pretty much epitomizes what Wisconsin football is all about," said former Badgers right tackle Mark Tauscher, who helped pave the way when Dayne won the Heisman Trophy in 1999.
With most elite running backs leaving for the NFL after three seasons, Dayne's rushing record might never be broken.
"I'm happy I still have it," Dayne said. "I just brag to my kids about it. My boys said they're going to break it."
Dayne is a divorced father of four who lives in Madison. He makes promotional appearances for UW and Miller Brewing Co., and owns a gym.
"Yeah, I'm OK," he said, when asked if he is content with his life. "I can't complain. I'm doing good, having fun, getting to be around my kids."
He said he is training for the upcoming U.S. Olympic trials, with the hopes of qualifying for the 2012 Games in the discus.
Dayne had a throw of 216 feet, 10 inches at the Golden West Invitational as a senior, the third-longest by a prep in history at the time. He provisionally qualified for the Olympic trials in 1996.
"I never stopped training. I think I have a shot to do it," he said of making the U.S. team.
Dayne is the fifth person with UW ties to go into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, joining Alvarez (2009), Alan Ameche (2004), Pat Richter (1994) and Ron VanderKelen (1991).
UW's matchup with Oregon reminds Dayne of the 1999 Rose Bowl when the Badgers faced another vaunted offense in UCLA, getting a stop in the final minute to win 38-31.
"Back when we played UCLA, they had a good offense, too," Dayne said. "We went back and forth, until we got a stop. We were able to pull it out. I kind of think Monday it'll be the same kind of thing."
Dayne was asked if he would have liked playing in Oregon's spread offense.
"We had a good offense," he said. "I was right where I wanted to be."
Change of practice plans
UW coach Bret Bielema didn't have his players go to the practice facility on Friday. Instead, they went through a light walk-through elsewhere.
"I felt it was time to back off and let them get their legs underneath them," Bielema said. "We'll let them go out and have a great practice (Saturday). That was a decision that rested solely in my hands."
Normally, the Badgers would have anywhere from 20 to 24 bowl practices. This year, with a shorter break after playing in the Big Ten Conference title game, the total is 14.
The focus in the final 48 hours before kickoff is to make sure the players are as mentally sharp as possible. Bielema met with his senior leaders on Friday to address that topic.
"A year ago, we didn't play well in the first quarter — or in the first half," he said. "I'm putting a huge emphasis on coming out of the gates with the intention of being sharp from the first snap.
"I think the fact that we have such great senior leadership is going to come up huge."
Low-key New Year's Eve
Bielema said Saturday night was the most important night of sleep for the players before the game. It was also New Year's Eve, although that didn't seem to be a concern.
"A lot of guys will probably go watch a movie, watch the bowl games that are on TV," Bielema said of the evening plans. "No bars, no clubs, no anything. Our guys knocked off alcohol after the second night here, the guys that are over 21. So they've really been a focused group.
"They asked for a tighter curfew window after the third day, so I like where they're at. Hopefully, they bought in. They have a lot this year and it has paid off for them."