The season is underway, and although we're only three weeks in, the predictions are beginning to mount.
Who will win the Pac-12 this year? Will Florida State be able to hang on in the ACC? Is Oklahoma a shoe-in for the Big 12 title?
The answers to these questions have broader implications in college football, as they not only determine who will hoist the conference trophy in December, but they also determine who gets a trip to Pasadena, Glendale, Miami and New Orleans this January.
It's probably too early to accurately predict the participants in each game, but one guarantee can be made right now—most of us will be tuning in to watch the BCS Bowls in January.
Here at B/R, we aim to please. So we're putting all of the vital information about each BCS game in one spot.
No need to go searching your TV Guide or scouring the internet for information. You can mark your calendars, set your DVR and get all of the pertinent information right here.
Let's take a look at a complete breakdown for all five BCS games this January.
When: January 2, 2012; 5:00 pm (Eastern)
Where: The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Last year: TCU beat Wisconsin, 21-19
The Rose Bowl is the “Grandaddy of Them All,” and for good reason. Long considered (and still considered by most) to be the most prestigious of all college football bowl games, the Rose Bowl got its start in 1902 as the Tournament of Roses East-West Football Game in order to help fund the parade. Michigan walloped Stanford 49-0 in the inaugural game that was so lopsided, Stanford actually quit the game and walked off the field in the third quarter. Michigan finished the year 11-0, while Stanford finished 3-2-2.
The game wasn't very entertaining for the mostly Californian crowd that for the next 15 years, the Tournament of Roses replaced the football game with ostrich races.
The first Rose Bowl with the actual name “Rose Bowl Game” took place in 1916 when Washington State beat Brown, 14-0.
The game started the tradition of New Year's Day bowl games. The game also served as the BCS Championship Game in 2002 and 2006. An interesting historical footnote is the fact that the 1942 Rose Bowl—just three weeks after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor—was initially canceled due to fears of a possible Japanese attack on the west coast of the United State. Duke University offered to host the game, and Rose Bowl officials agreed. Oregon State beat Duke, 20-16, in the only Rose Bowl game not held in Pasadena and the only game not held at the Rose Bowl since its construction for the 1923 game.
The game typically is played between the champions of the Big Ten and now Pac-12. The arrangement began shortly after World War II when the Big Nine and Pacific Coast Conference rejected the segregationist and semi-professional atmosphere of the southern football colleges. In order to protect the amateurism and anti-segregation supported by the two conferences, they entered into an agreement with the Rose Bowl to send their champions to meet in the game at the end of each season.
USC holds the record for most appearances with 33. Michigan leads the Big Ten with 20. The only members of the Pac-12 to have never appeared in the Rose Bowl are Arizona, Colorado and Utah. All 12 members—including Nebraska—of the Big Ten have appeared in the game at least once. Alabama holds the record for Rose Bowl appearances of non-Big Ten/Pac-12 programs, with six.
When: January 2, 2012; 8:30 pm (Eastern)
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Last year: Oklahoma beat Connecticut, 48-20
The Fiesta Bowl is the annual bowl matchup that typically pits the Big 12 champion against a BCS at-large team.
By far the youngest of the bowls that are now part of the BCS, the Fiesta Bowl began in 1971. As part of the BCS, the Fiesta Bowl also served the dual role as BCS Championship Game in 1999 and 2003.
The Fiesta Bowl has also hosted more teams from BCS non-AQ conferences than any other BCS bowl. Utah took part in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl (and won), Boise State took part in 2007 and 2010 (both wins), and TCU took part in 2010 (and lost).
Penn State is the all-time Fiesta Bowl leader, with six appearances (no team has more, although Arizona State, Ohio State, and Nebraska all have six appearances), and the Nittany Lions are an unrivaled 6-0 in the game.
The worst record at the Fiesta Bowl is owned by the University of Miami. The Hurricanes have traveled to Arizona four times for the Fiesta Bowl, and each time they have returned home to Florida as a loser.
When: January 3, 2012; 8:30 pm (Eastern)
Where: The Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Last year: Ohio State has vacated its 31-26 victory over Arkansas due to NCAA infractions
The Sugar Bowl began in 1935 when Tulane beat Temple, 20-14. The Sugar Bowl is the second-oldest bowl game behind the Rose Bowl. It typically pits the champion of the SEC against a BCS at-large team.
Alabama and LSU have been to the Sugar Bowl 13 times each—more than any other team—and Alabama holds the best record in the Sugar Bowl, at 8-5. Georgia Tech has been to the Sugar Bowl four times, and is a perfect 4-0—the most wins for an undefeated team in the bowl.
The Sugar Bowl served as the BCS Championship in 2000 and 2004. The bowl has been played at the Louisiana Superdome every year since 1976, except for 2006 when the game was moved to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta due to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The Sugar Bowl is home to perhaps the most lopsided upset of the BCS era, when non-AQ Utah demolished the Alabama Crimson Tide 31-17 in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. Utah jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead over the stunned Tide before Alabama scored 10 points in the second quarter. Alabama pulled to within four points in the third quarter, but Utah scored the final ten points of the game.
When: January 4, 2012, 8:00 pm (Eastern)
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida
Last year: Stanford beat Virginia Tech, 40-12
The first Orange Bowl took place in 1935, when Bucknell topped Miami, 26-0. Since that first game, Miami has appeared in eight more Orange Bowls, ranking them third all-time with nine appearances. Only Oklahoma with 18 and Nebraska with 17 have more trips to the Orange Bowl.
Miami actually played in the precursor of the Orange Bowl game, the Palm Festival Game, in 1933 and 1934. Those two games are not counted, however, as bowl games as Miami was guaranteed to be a participant, regardless of the result of the regular season.
Today, the game is branded as the “Home of the ACC Champion,” as the ACC has an exclusive tie-in with the Orange Bowl to send its champion to the game in Miami (unless, of course, the ACC champion is invited to the BCS Championship Game).
The Orange Bowl served as the BCS Championship in 2001 and 2005, although the 2005 game now holds the dubious distinction of being the BCS Championship Game that was forcibly vacated by USC after Reggie Bush was later declared ineligible.
BCS National Championship
When: January 9, 2012; 8:30 pm (Eastern)
Where: Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Last year: Auburn beat Oregon, 22-19
The BCS National Championship Game got its start in 1999, when it was embodied in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl following the 1998 football season. Over the next eight years, the BCS would determine its champion by installing the top two teams in the nation into one of the four BCS Bowl Games. Beginning with the 2006 season, the BCS National Championship Game was created as a standalone game, and has been played five times with the site rotating between the four BCS sites.
All told, the BCS Championship Game has been won by seven SEC teams, two Big 12 teams, and once by the ACC, Big East and Big Ten.
Oklahoma has appeared more than any other team (four times), while Florida and LSU have won more than any other team (twice each).
The BCS National Championship Game also rotates title sponsors. The company that sponsors the BCS Bowl at the championship location each season also is awarded the title sponsorship of the BCS National Championship Game.
While non-AQ teams are technically eligible to participate in the BCS National Championship Game, no non-AQ program has been awarded a bid to play in the championship.
Every year, whichever team wins the BCS National Championship Game is awarded the Coaches Trophy, symbolic of the top team in the final American Football Coaches Association poll. While the final AFCA poll has yet to be released, the coaches who vote in the poll are contractually obliged to vote the winner of the game as the No. 1 team in the nation.