After three months of games, debates, polls and speculation, the BCS picture has finally emerged with a clean slate of five games that will determine who the best of the best in college football are in 2012.
More than any other year in recent memory, all five games are big marquee matchups that networks can market around. There are always great stories with these games, but some teams just don't have that punch to get casual viewers to tune in.
In honor of college football's version of Selection Sunday, here are the games that football fans everywhere want to see.
BCS Championship Game: No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0) vs. No. 2 Alabama (12-1)
As great as the SEC Championship Game was, and as deserving as Georgia would have been if it had defeated Alabama, the BCS Championship Game was always supposed to be a battle between the Crimson Tide and Fighting Irish.
On top of the allure of having the most dominant team in college football over the last handful of years against the best and most consistent team in the country this season, Alabama and Notre Dame are, arguably, the two most storied programs in the history of the sport.
Notre Dame, even when it wasn't playing well and making low-level bowl games, still attracts a huge audience just because of its name. Everyone has an opinion about the Irish, be it positive or negative.
In news that won't be much of a shock to anyone, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that Las Vegas has already installed Alabama as a 10-point favorite in this game.
Given the strength of these two defenses, these two teams might not combine to score 10 points. Alabama probably does deserve to be the favorite, because if you break these teams down position-by-position, there is likely more depth and top-end talent for the Crimson Tide than Notre Dame.
But given the way Notre Dame's defense has stepped up every single game, not to mention the progress of quarterback Everett Golson, the Fighting Irish deserve more respect than that 10-point spread suggests.
Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State Wildcats (11-1) vs. Oregon Ducks (11-1)
It is amazing to look at the contrast between the BCS Championship Game, which is built around two of the strongest defenses in the country, and the Fiesta Bowl, which will feature two teams that can light up a scoreboard as well as anyone.
Kansas State had looked vulnerable for all of November, resulting in that Nov. 17 blowout loss at Baylor, but the Wildcats bounced back nicely with a huge win against a good Texas squad to clinch the Big 12 BCS berth.
Collin Klein hasn't been himself since suffering that mysterious injury against Oklahoma State; even against Texas he wasn't asked to do much throwing the ball, airing it out just 14 times. But the long layoff for the Wildcats could be just what the doctor ordered for the senior quarterback.
Oregon will feel a little disappointed to be missing out on the BCS Championship Game, but the Ducks should be able to get their frustrations out against a Wildcats defense that has allowed at least 24 points in four of their last five games.
This game is going to be a fast, explosive offensive showdown, which is the kind of game that fans love to watch. We know that defense matters, but it tends to make for an ugly game. We won't have to worry about that in what should be a track meet in pads.
Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (11-1) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (10-2)
Despite some last-minute maneuvering that could have led Northern Illinois into this spot, the best possible matchup for the Sugar Bowl was always going to be Florida and Oklahoma.
The Gators had an outside shot at the BCS Championship Game two weeks ago, but the breaks didn't go their way, so they have to "settle" for a trip to New Orleans and the hefty payday the university will get.
This was a resurgent season for Florida, which had been trying to find itself since Urban Meyer left two years ago. Head coach Will Muschamp finally put it all together; after two years of hearing how much talent he was bringing in, the Gators had their best season since winning 13 games in 2009.
Oklahoma lost only two games this season against Kansas State and Notre Dame, teams that combined for a 23-1 record. Cynics might say the Sooners couldn't get by the best teams they played, but they did put up 63 points against a good Texas defense.
Ultimately, this game comes down to strengths. The Gators can run the ball, but they aren't going to put up a ton of points. They want to control the clock and hit you in the mouth with a stout defense that just keeps coming at you.
The Sooners are at their best when they can attack the secondary and Landry Jones can air it out. They struggled with that in their two losses, so pay attention to how they are moving the ball early against the Gators defense.
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