The final act of the BCS is set.
After a wild Championship Saturday that featured titans such as Ohio State faltering, we now know the matchups featured in the early-January spectacle to crown bowl champions.
The group is rounded out with the elite defense of Michigan State, explosive offenses from Baylor and Clemson and a surprise UCF team with an under-the-radar star at quarterback.
The main attraction features an Auburn Tigers squad that went 3-9 and winless in the SEC last year fueled by a creative offense from head coach Gus Malzahn. The Tigers will do battle with freshman quarterback and Heisman favorite Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles.
While a playoff next year is enticing, this year's slate of BCS action ensures it goes out with a bang.
Note: All bowl info courtesy of ESPN.
When: Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ET
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
BCS bowl season starts with a bang in a physical matchup between two gritty, traditional teams.
There will not be any sexy passing displays from Pasadena when the 12-1 Michigan State Spartans take on the 11-2 Stanford Cardinal.
David Shaw's team relies on a top-10 defense that allows an average of 18.6 points per game. The unit is smoothly complemented by an offense that features senior tailback Tyler Gaffney. He has rushed for 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns with a 5.3 average to round out Stanford's physical approach.
Mark Dantonio and the Spartans follow an identical formula. The Spartans rank No. 4 in the nation at an average of just 12.7 points allowed. Junior running back Jeremy Langford has Gaffney's role and produced 1,338 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year.
Both teams rely on a complementary passing attack to occasionally make plays. Michigan State's Connor Cook has 2,423 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions this year. Stanford's Kevin Hogan is eerily similar with 2,487 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
It is hard to find two teams more perfectly suited for each other in the BCS bowl picture this year.
Prediction: Spartans 23, Cardinal 20
When: Jan. 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: U. of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
The 11-1 UCF Knights bring an elite defense to the desert for a date with the potent offense of the Baylor Bears, a team that boasts an identical record.
UCF ranks No. 13 in the nation with an average of 19.6 points allowed per game but has seen nothing like Baylor. The Bears tout the nation's top offense, which scores an average of 53.3 points behind the arm of Heisman candidate Bryce Petty.
The Bears' junior signal-caller has thrown for 3,844 yards, 30 touchdowns and just two interceptions this year. He is flanked by running back Lache Seastrunk, who has a 7.5 yards-per-carry average to go with 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year despite missing two games.
Don't be fooled—UCF can put up points in bunches, too. Junior quarterback Blake Bortles is quietly a star and may make some noise if he declares for the NFL. This year, Bortles completed 68.1 percent of his passes on the way to 3,280 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Bortles also has help in the form of a stud running back. Junior Storm Johnson has 1,015 yards and 11 touchdowns to his name this season.
UCF has held eight opponents to 20 or fewer points this season. Baylor has scored 60 or more six times and 70 or more in four contests.
Something has to give in Glendale.
Prediction: Baylor 55, UCF 30
When: Jan. 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, La.
Were it not for a fateful missed field goal in the last second of Alabama's last game of the year, this BCS picture would be entirely different.
Alas, Nick Saban's 11-1 Crimson Tide are headed to New Orleans for a date with the 10-2 Oklahoma Sooners.
Oklahoma has two ugly losses to its name this year (36-20 against Texas, 41-12 against Baylor) but is capable of playing with any team in the country. The Sooners are strong defensively and allow an average of 21.3 points per game.
Quarterback Blake Bell is the leader under center and has completed 60.1 percent of his passes this year for 1,648 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He leads an offense that ranks just inside the top 50 with an average of 31.8 points per contest.
Oklahoma may find it difficult to move the ball on Alabama's defense, which ranks second in the nation at just 11.3 points allowed on average. The offense is led by Heisman contender A.J. McCarron. He has completed 67.6 percent of his passes this year, good for 2,676 yards, 26 touchdowns and five interceptions.
While far from the highlight of the BCS slate, the Crimson Tide and Sooners will surely put together a quality four quarters worth the price of admission.
Prediction: Alabama 45, Oklahoma 24
When: Jan. 3, TBD
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Fla.
It is safe to say the Orange Bowl between 12-1 Ohio State Buckeyes and 10-2 Clemson Tigers will not lack for entertainment for offensive-minded fans.
The Tigers are led by senior quarterback Tajh Boyd, who has 3,473 passing yards and 29 touchdowns to nine interceptions this year. He is the main cog in an offense that ranks No. 12 in the nation at an average of 40.2 points per game.
Urban Meyer's Buckeyes have two stars who would easily be fighting each other for the Heisman had they not missed multiple games this season. Running back Carlos Hyde gained 1,408 yards and 14 touchdowns on a 7.7 average despite missing the first three games of the year.
Braxton Miller was just as impressive as a dual-threat quarterback with 2,893 total yards and 32 total touchdowns despite missing two games and attempting two passes in another.
None of this is to suggest the teams lack defense. Both rank in the top 25. Ohio State allows an average of 21.3 per game; Clemson allows 21.1 points per game.
Not a bad way to end the opening sets before the BCS' final act.
Prediction: Buckeyes 38, Tigers 20
When: Jan. 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
It is a classic strength vs. strength matchup in the title game. The 13-0 Florida State Seminoles allow an average of 117.3 yards on the ground and tout the nation's top scoring defense with an average of 10.7 points allowed.
But the 12-1 Auburn Tigers have won nine straight on the heels of the nation's top rushing attack that averages 335.7 yards per game. Quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Tre Mason have combined for 2,644 yards and 33 touchdowns on the ground this year.
While impressive, it is not as if Florida State cannot counter with firepower of its own. The Seminoles average 53 points behind the arm of quarterback Jameis Winston, who has 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns to 10 interceptions on the year.
Both Gus Malzahn and Jimbo Fisher's teams must now overcome a lengthy layoff with plenty of media scrutiny to prepare for the final act of the collegiate season.
The BCS seemingly got it right. These two are the top of the line and most battled-tested squads college football has to offer.
Prediction: Seminoles 49, Tigers 34