It shouldn't be hard to get viewers to tune in for a tilt between Nos. 3 and 4 in the rankings, regardless of the other factors. And even though BCS bowls pit conference champions and top-level teams against one another in early January, a meeting of such highly ranked squads is a rarity outside of the national championship game.
Since the BCS was instituted following the 1998 regular season, teams ranked in the top five have only squared off on eight occasions. That number is counting the OSU/Stanford matchup on Jan. 2. It is only the third occasion No. 3 will play No. 4.
Here is a quick glance at the other seven games that fall into the elite category:
2000 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl— No. 3 Nebraska 31, No. 5 Tennessee 21
2002 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl — No. 4 Oregon 38, No. 3 Colorado 16
2003 FedEx Orange Bowl — No. 4 Southern Cal 38, No. 5 Iowa 17
2004 Rose Bowl — No. 3 Southern Cal 28, No. 4 Michigan 14
2007 Rose Bowl — No. 5 Southern Cal 32, No. 3 Michigan 18
2010 Allstate Sugar Bowl — No. 5 Florida 51, No. 3 Cincinnati 24
2011 Rose Bowl — No. 3 TCU 21, No. 5 Wisconsin 19
2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl — No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 4 Stanford
The higher-ranked team has won four of the seven meetings and six of the seven have been decided by double digits despite the close pairings in the polls. Last year's TCU victory against Wisconsin was easily the best and most memorable of the matchups. Let's hope the OSU/Stanford pairing continues the trend.