NO. 1 OHIO STATE (11-1) VS. NO. 4 OKLAHOMA (11-2)
Ohio State was ranked No. 1 when it lost at home, 28-21, to Illinois in early November. The Buckeyes dropped to No. 7, but as teams above them kept losing, Ohio State crept back up to the top spot in the final standings. OU lost at Colorado and at Texas Tech (with an injured Sam Bradford hardly playing), but manhandled No. 1 Missouri in the Big 12 Championship game.
NO. 2 LSU (11-2) VS. NO. 3 VIRGINIA TECH (11-2)
LSU lost twice in three overtimes (at Kentucky 43-37 and at home to Arkansas 50-48). After topping Tennessee in the SEC title game and watching several teams above it fall, LSU finished No. 2 in the final BCS standings. One team LSU easily handled, though, was Virginia Tech. The Tigers beat the Hokies 48-7 in Week 2. Tech also lost 14-10 to Boston College, but avenged the loss 30-16 in the ACC title game.
How it actually went down: West Virginia, which was No. 2 until a shocking loss to Pittsburgh in the final game of the regular season, beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Virginia Tech lost to Kansas in the Orange Bowl, and LSU beat Ohio State 38-24 to win the title and become the only BCS-era team to be champion with two losses.
NO. 1 OKLAHOMA (12-1) VS. NO. 4 ALABAMA (12-1)
Oklahoma's lone loss — 45-35 to Texas — was overlooked by voters after the Sooners annihilated No. 2 Texas Tech at home shortly after the Red Raiders beat the Longhorns, causing a three-way tie atop the Big 12 South standings. Alabama was unbeaten until falling to Florida in the SEC title game.
NO. 2 FLORIDA (12-1) VS. NO. 3 TEXAS (11-1)
Tim Tebow-led Florida lost by one point to Ole Miss, but ran through the rest of its schedule, beating No. 1 Alabama 31-20 in the SEC title game. Texas' lone loss came to Texas Tech, and with the three-way tie, the Longhorns were left out of the Big 12 Championship game despite beating participant Oklahoma.
How it actually went down: Florida beat OU 24-14 in the national championship game, and unbeaten mid-major Utah took a three-touchdown lead on its way to beating Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl. Texas held on for a 24-21 win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
NO. 1 LSU (13-0) VS. NO. 4 STANFORD (11-1)
LSU sneaked by with a 9-6 overtime win at Alabama and otherwise rolled through its schedule, including a 42-10 win over Georgia in the SEC title game. Andrew Luck and Stanford's one loss was to Oregon, which was the Pac-12 champion but ranked lower than Stanford because of an early season, nonconference loss to LSU.
NO. 2 ALABAMA (11-1) VS. NO. 3 OKLAHOMA STATE (11-1)
Alabama, with its loss to LSU, didn't play in the SEC Championship game but still was ranked second in the final BCS standings above Big 12 champion Oklahoma State, which lost its one game in two overtimes at unranked Iowa State. The Cowboys routed rival Oklahoma 44-10 to win the conference championship.
How it actually went down: Alabama shut LSU down in the national championship game rematch, winning 21-0 and becoming the first BCS champion that did not win its conference. Oklahoma State beat Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, 41-38 in overtime.