The final BCS standings are out and bowl game pairings are set. The most exciting games of the 2012 college football season are just ahead, and fans have plenty to look forward to, with several ideal matchups set for December and January.
After a season full of surprising results, everything boils down to one more game for the top teams around the nation.
Whether a program has played consistently all year like Notre Dame or has just recently stepped up and is lucky to be in its current position like Wisconsin, the next 60 minutes of football will define each team’s season.
Here are the Week 15 BCS rankings and all the bowl game matchups for the 2012 season.
National Championship Game: No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama
For the second year in a row, the national championship game will feature two teams that have staked their reputations on their defenses. Also for the second consecutive season, one of those teams is Alabama.
Notre Dame ranks first in the nation in points per game allowed, and the Crimson Tide place second. There will not be many touchdowns in this contest, and whichever team avoids mistakes and comes through with a big play at the right time will win.
BCS Bowl Games
Fiesta Bowl: No. 5 Kansas State vs. No. 4 Oregon
There is an incredible amount of offensive talent on the field in this matchup, and fans looking for a fast-paced thriller would be wise not to miss the Fiesta Bowl. Kansas State and Oregon both have elite playmakers and defenses capable of surrendering enough points to make the veins on their coach’s foreheads visible.
Collin Klein will account for multiple touchdowns, and Oregon will pile up rushing yards. This shootout will likely come down to which team has the ball last.
Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Florida vs. No. 21 Louisville
After Northern Illinois’ surprising inclusion in the BCS bowl picture, Louisville ends up in the Sugar Bowl this year. It has been a rocky year for the Big East, and the conference likely will not be smiling after this contest.
Florida is a heavy favorite in this matchup, and the stark difference between the SEC and the Big East will likely be on display in this game.
Orange Bowl: No. 12 Florida State vs. No. 15 Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois is a school no one expected to see in a BCS bowl this year, and their inclusion shows just how strange this season has been. Now that the Huskies are on a massive stage, they must perform up to par or risk being embarrassed.
Florida State has explosive athletes on both sides of the ball, and the ACC champions will be looking to run up the score. But the Seminoles have been less than impressive in several games this season, and Northern Illinois has already proved that it can beat the odds.
Rose Bowl: No. 6 Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Stanford was able to beat UCLA in Pasadena to earn a spot in the Pac-12 championship game. It then hosted the Bruins at The Farm, and after winning one more time, the Cardinal are heading right back down to the Rose Bowl to play Wisconsin.
The Badgers were given the opportunity to play for the Big Ten title because Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible, and Nebraska was a clear favorite to head west after the contest. But the Badgers routed the Cornhuskers and will carry loads of confidence with them to their third straight Rose Bowl appearance.
All Bowl Games
|Bowl||Team 1||Team 2||Stadium: Location||Date: Time||TV|
|New Mexico||Nevada||Arizona||University Stadium: Albuquerque, NM||12/15: 1:00||ESPN|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Toledo||Utah State||Bronco Stadium: Boise, ID||12/15: 4:30||ESPN|
|Poinsettia||BYU||San Diego State||Qualcomm Stadium: San Diego, CA||12/20: 8:00||ESPN|
|Beef 'O' Brady's||Ball State||UCF||Tropicana Field: St.Petersburg, FL||12/21: 7:30||ESPN|
|New Orleans||East Carolina||Louisiana-Lafayette||Superdome: New Orleans, LA||12/22: Noon||ESPN|
|Las Vegas||Boise State||Washington||Sam Boyd Stadium: LasVegas, NV||12/22: 3:30||ESPN|
|Hawaii||SMU||Fresno State||Aloha Stadium: Honolulu, HI||12/24: 8:00||ESPN|
|Little Caesars||Central Michigan||Western Kentucky||Ford Field: Detroit, MI||12/26: 7:30||ESPN|
|Military||Bowling Green||San Jose State||RFK Stadium: Washington, DC||12/27: 3:00||ESPN|
|Belk||Duke||Cincinnati||Bank of America Stadium: Charlotte, NC||12/27: 6:30||ESPN|
|Holiday||Baylor||UCLA||Qualcomm Stadium: San Diego, CA||12/27: 9:45||ESPN|
|Independence||Louisiana-Monroe||Ohio||Independence Stadium: Shreveport, LA||12/28: 2:00||ESPN|
|Russell Athletic||Virginia Tech||Rutgers||Florida Citrus Bowl: Orlando, FL||12/28: 5:30||ESPN|
|Meineke Car Care||Minnesota||Texas Tech||Reliant Stadium: Houston, TX||12/28: 9:00||ESPN|
|Armed Forces||Rice||Air Force||Amon G. Carter Stadium: Fort Worth, TX||12/29: 11:45 a.m.||ESPN|
|Pinstripe||Syracuse||West Virginia||Yankee Stadium: Bronx, NY||12/29: 3:15||ESPN|
|Kraft||Navy||Arizona State||AT&T Park: San Francisco, CA||12/29: 4:00||ESPN2|
|Alamo||Texas||Oregon State||Alamodome: San Antonio, TX||12/29: 6:45||ESPN|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||TCU||Michigan State||Sun Devil Stadium: Tempe, AZ||12/29: 10:15||ESPN|
|Music City||NC State||Vanderbilt||LP Field: Nashville, TN||12/31: Noon||ESPN|
|Sun||Georgia Tech||USC||Sun Bowl: El Paso, TX||12/31: 2:00||CBS|
|Liberty||Tulsa||Iowa State||Liberty Bowl: Memphis, TN||12/31: 3:30||ESPN|
|Chick-fil-A||Clemson||LSU||Georgia Dome: Atlanta, GA||12/31: 7:30||ESPN|
|Gator||Northwestern||Mississippi State||Everbank Field: Jacksonville, FL||1/1: Noon||ESPN2|
|Heart of Dallas||Oklahoma State||Purdue||Cotton Bowl: Dallas, TX||1/1: Noon||ESPNU|
|Outback||Michigan||South Carolina||Raymond James Stadium: Tampa, FL||1/1: 1:00||ESPN|
|Nebraska||Georgia||Florida Citrus Bowl: Orlando, FL||1/1: 1:00||ABC|
|Cotton||Oklahoma||Texas A&M||Cowboys Stadium: Arlington, TX||1/4: 8:00||FOX|
|Compass||Pittsburgh||Ole Miss||Legion Field: Birmingham, AL||1/5: 1:00||ESPN|
|GoDaddy.com||Kent State||Arkansas State||Ladd-Peebles Stadium: Mobile, AL||1/6: 9:00||ESPN|
Week 15 BCS Standings
|24||San Jose State|