Saturday, he saw that dream come true. The third-ranked Hawkeyes earned their second Rose Bowl trip in five years by beating Minnesota, 31-9, as Long threw for one touchdown, set up another and became the first Big Ten player to pass for more than 10,000 yards.
In his final game at Kinnick Stadium, Long raised his career passing mark to 10,052 yards, breaking the Big Ten record of 9,946 by Purdue's Mark Herrmann.
Long holds the Big Ten record for career total offense and touchdown passes, and his 26 touchdown passes this season also are a conference mark. For the game, Long completed 21 of 31 passes for 268 yards, figures that gave him school season records for completions, attempts and yardage.
Iowa Coach Hayden Fry said the performance should boost Long's Heisman Trophy stock and maintain the Hawkeyes' outside shot at a national championship.
"There have been a lot of great quarterbacks in the Big Ten through the years, and when Chuck breaks all those records, it's got to be meaningful," Fry said.
"This year's success all started last year when Chuck decided to pass up a few dollars from the NFL because he loves college football and he wanted to go to the Rose Bowl."
He said the team's climb to national prominence "goes back to the signing of Chuck."
Iowa had posted a NCAA-record 19 consecutive non-winning seasons before Long's appearance on the Iowa City campus in 1981. The Hawkeyes went to the Rose Bowl at the end of that season and followed it with berths in the Peach, Gator and Freedom bowls.
"This guy is one of the few people in the world ever to go to five straight bowl games," Fry said.
The victory gave Iowa its first outright Big Ten championship in 27 years and put the Hawkeyes in the Rose Bowl for the fourth time. Iowa is 10-1 overall, a school record for victories, and finished 7-1 in the Big Ten.
Minnesota also is headed for postseason play, accepting an invitation to play in the Dec. 21 Independence Bowl at Shreveport, La. The Gophers went 4-4 in the conference and are 6-5 overall.