Top Five BCS Meeting A Rarity

There is a lot of buzz surrounding the upcoming Fiesta Bowl meeting between No. 3 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Stanford because there exists a plethora of intriguing matchups and storylines.

There is the matchup of elite quarterbacks, the intrigue of how both schools will use their overlooked but potent run games, two underrated defenses looking to be the difference and a who's who of elite NFL talent. The list could go on and on but one factor already puts this game in an elite category in Bowl Championship Series history — the little numbers next to the team's names.

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.

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