Hello, LSU and Alabama. It's been a while. Are you both ready to play for the BCS National Championship now?
College football fans certainly hope so. Heisman Trophy contenders Tyrann Mathieu and Trent Richardson will be prepared, as will the scores of blue-chip NFL prospects they call teammates.
You can bet Les Miles and Nick Saban are both anxious to get things going, too.
But we've already heard plenty about them. As for everyone else, these three under-the-radar stars figure to play pivotal roles in the battle for the crystal football.
Okay, so maybe Jordan Jefferson isn't exactly an unknown, not after going bare knuckles at a bar fight in Baton Rouge before the season and regaining his gig as the Tigers starting quarterback down the stretch of the season.
But his part will be an incredibly important one to play nonetheless. Nobody's expecting Jefferson to morph into Peyton Manning or Cam Newton against Alabama's professional-caliber secondary.
Rather, the onus will be on Jefferson to simply manage the game with his arm and his feet while avoiding crucial mistakes. So long as Jefferson doesn't give The Hat any reason to play Jarrett Lee, who threw two picks to Crimson Tide defenders in Tuscaloosa, the Tigers should be able to hang tough at the Superdome, at the very least.
Field position always important in games dominated by stout defenses. The BCS title game will be no different.
Luckily for LSU, the secret weapon in Monday's contest, at least on special teams, wears Purple and Gold, and his name is Brad Wing.
You may remember Wing as the guy who ran for the touchdown against Florida that was ultimately called back on a highly questionable taunting call.
Well, it just so happens that the former Aussie rules footballer is a pretty darn good punter, too, averaging better than 44 yards per boot on the season. The Tigers will need every one of those yards to keep 'Bama's kickers (and their wayward feet) well out of field goal range while ultimately giving their own offense solid field position with which to work later on.
Marquis Maze is no Julio Jones, but he hasn't been half-bad for 'Bama this season, either. The 5'10" receiver has been involved in plenty of pivotal moments for the Tide, both good and bad.
That crop, of course, includes the pick Maze threw deep in Tigers territory when these teams met back in November, not that anyone on the 'Bama sideline should've ever asked him complete a pass against the nation's best defensive backfield.
Outside of Trent Richardson, Maze is 'Bama's best playmaker and will have to be impact the game in some capacity if the Tide are to come away with the coveted crystal football.
That doesn't mean Maze will necessarily have to wait for AJ McCarron to find him amidst the fray of the Tigers' defense. Maze also returns kicks and punts for Saban's squad and figures to have plenty of opportunities to inject himself into the action that way.