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On one side, a blossoming dynasty from the college football capital of the Deep South. On the other, the sport's most famous team, trying to reclaim its place among the elite.
Notre Dame and Alabama bring star power and power football to the BCS championship.
The matchup became official Sunday night when the final standings were released and, to no one's surprise, the Fighting Irish were first and the Crimson Tide was second.
The one bit of drama on college football's selection Sunday was whether Northern Illinois could be this year's BCS buster. The Huskies got in, getting a spot in the Orange Bowl against Florida State, taking a bid away from Oklahoma and sparking heated debate about a system that never fails to tick off fans in some way.
The other BCS matchups:
• Oregon and Kansas State will play in the Fiesta Bowl.
• Wisconsin and Stanford will meet in the Rose Bowl.
• Florida and Louisville are set for the Sugar Bowl.
As for the main event in the penultimate Bowl Championship Series, there was little controversy about No. 1 Notre Dame against No. 2 Alabama in Miami.
The Irish clinched their spot a week ago in Los Angeles by completing a perfect season.
- Associated Press