Joe Knows

We got it. After much consternation and deliberation, it’s finally set in stone — the national championship that everyone should want to see is officially in the cards.

LSU-Alabama II was ultimately the right call, as we will all be treated to an old-school, bone-crushing rumble in the Super Dome on Jan. 9.

However, the national championship makes up only 1-35th of college football’s postseason, which includes several other intriguing games.

Champs Sports Bowl – 5:30 p.m., Dec. 29, ESPN

The most appealing pre-New Year’s game, the Champs Sports Bowl features two high-profile teams in Florida State and Notre Dame that had BCS aspirations coming into the year.

Questions linger at quarterback for the Irish, who will start Tommy Rees, while the 25th-ranked Seminoles will look to their fourth-best scoring defense, which allows an average of just 15.2 points per game.

TicketCity Bowl – Noon, Jan. 2, ESPNU

To say this Houston-Penn State matchup is a clash of styles would be like saying Aaron Rodgers is having a decent season.

Houston, with its four-wide, shotgun offense, threw for as many touchdowns in a game (nine) earlier this season, as Penn State’s ground-it-out attack managed the entire year.

It will also be interesting to see how Penn State’s players continue to block out the distractions and play on a smaller stage without Joe Paterno on the sidelines.

Gator Bowl –  1 p.m., Jan. 2, ESPN2

Already dubbed the “Urban Meyer Bowl,” the Ohio State-Florida game pits the coach’s former and future teams.

The game itself is destined for mediocrity as it features a pair of 6-6 teams, but it will be worth a look for the hype alone.

Rose Bowl – 5 p.m., Jan. 2, ESPN

The game’s last two losers will get another crack at the roses when the toe hits the rubber.

Wisconsin brings with it one of the nation’s best power-running, play-action passing offenses with running back Montee Ball and quarterback Russell Wilson leading the charge, while Oregon’s spread-option attack, led by running back LaMichael James can wear down a defense with its blazing speed.

Fiesta Bowl – 8:30 p.m., Jan. 2, ESPN

This game might as well be called the “bitter bowl,” as Oklahoma State and Stanford are both still angry about being passed over for the National Championship. However, the Fiesta Bowl presents an ideal chance for the Cowboys and Cardinal to make their cases to the public.

The Cowboys come into the dessert riding their 28-year-old gunslinger Brandon Weeden, while the Cardinal will rely on future No. 1 pick Andrew Luck.

Cotton Bowl – 8 p.m., Jan. 6, Fox

Jobbed by the BCS, Arkansas and Kansas State will look to prove their own worth. The eighth-ranked Wildcats completed an under-the-radar 10-2 campaign that included a one-point win over Baylor. No. 6 Arkansas finished with an identical record, while taking the brunt of a brutal SEC schedule that resulted in losses to Alabama and LSU.

JOE CUNEO

[email protected]nnon.edu