The BCS bowl selections are in (for better or worse).
The Longhorns survived, the Tide rolled as expected, and the BCS got double-busted (kind of).
It's been a long year and an uphill climb for at least a few of these teams. Cincinnati began the year unranked! Iowa was supposed to be DOA without Jewel Hampton.
Others...just needed to not lose.
Any way you slice it, we made it. Here are your BCS selections with a preview of each game to get you enticed, if you aren't already.
I can't imagine this is a sexy matchup for a lot of fans, but I'm looking forward to seeing if the Hawkeye defense can slow down Paul Johnson's triple option system, and whether ACC Defensive Player of the Year Derrick Morgan can break through an outstanding Hawkeye offensive line and get pressure on Ricky Stanzi.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off of a close win over Clemson in the ACC championship, while the Hawkeyes' last game was a 12-0 win over Minnesota after losing to Ohio State 27-24 in overtime for the Big Ten Championship.
The Hawkeyes will look to shore up the reputation of the Big Ten in bowl games, while Georgia Tech will try to show why the triple option is not only a legitimate offense, but one of the most difficult to defend in college football.
Though it turns my stomach to report it, the word is in that TCU and Boise State will play each other in the Fiesta Bowl.
So, no chance at a BCS bust, no challenge to the BCS system, no opportunity to find out whether these two teams are legit.
The Broncos will look to avenge their 17-16 loss to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl last year, which put an end to their undefeated season, while that vaunted TCU defense hopes to stifle the nation's highest-rated passer, Kellen Moore.
To the eternal doubters, the winner of this game won't even be able to say they "beat somebody" without risking circular logic.
Gosh, let's just hope that rumor about the Mountain West expanding and receiving a BCS autobid turns out true.
The lack of intrigue surrounding this game should not be mistaken for a lack of promise. These two teams are both looking to prove themselves for different reasons.
The Buckeyes will look to put a stop to their losing streak in big games by leaning on their defense and the resurrection of Terrelle Pryor, while the Ducks hope to stake a claim as perennial Pac-10 challengers under first year head coach Chip Kelly.
Count on the Buckeyes to rely on their outstanding defensive line to contain running plays in the backfield and disrupt the reads with instantaneous pressure.
Jeremiah Masoli will have to conjour more of his outstanding ball-fake wizardry and make a few plays with his arm to move the Bucks D away from the line of scrimmage.
Even though Cincinnati is undefeated and Florida has one loss, we all know who's David and who's Goliath in this game.
The Gators look like they could jump all over an under-sized Cincinnati team that has more survived than thrived its past three games, but Alabama provided the blueprint to beat Florida—score early, don't turn the ball over, and pressure Tebow.
The Gators will have to avoid the letdown feeling that overtook Alabama in their Sugar Bowl loss to Utah last year. Cincinnati better not fall behind early and must create turnovers through pressure.
The Gators will be pissed, the Bearcats hungry to prove themselves and their conference legit.
Oh, boy. Well, you should know how I feel about this one—despite shaky performances against their better opponents, the Longhorns have taken their no. 2 ranking wire-to-wire and will challenge Alabama for SEC supremacy.
Alabama must think of Texas what Julius Caesar said of Brutus in Shakespeare's play: "We are two lions litter'd in one day,/ And I the elder and more terrible."
The Tide will need to suppress all notions of arrogance or pre-determined victory and remember that the Longhorns bring in an old-school SEC defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp, who will look to take away the run and put the game on Greg McElroy's shoulders, daring him to win two in a row.
Colt McCoy will have to be outstanding against the best defensive secondary in the country. Though Alabama doesn't have a defensive line like Nebraska's, their defensive backs aren't any more forgiving than the 'Huskers were in picking off Colt three times in the championship.
Look for the more prepared defense to triumph, whichever that may be.