The college football bowl season comes to a close Tuesday night. The University of Southern California and Oklahoma, two undefeated (12-0) teams, battle for the Bowl Championship Series national title in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.
Southern California and Oklahoma have been ranked first and second respectively for the entire season. They have won a combined 17 national championships, with USC recording 10 and Oklahoma seven.
The winner of the Orange Bowl is assured of being voted number one the in coaches' poll. But the Associated Press rankings aren't tied to the Bowl Championship Series, meaning there could be a controversy over which team really deserves the title of national champion.
After 13-0 Auburn completed a perfect season with a 16-13 win over ninth-ranked Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl Monday night, Tigers coach Tommy Tuberville thinks his team should be number one.
"We are 13-0, we won the SEC [title], we are one of the best teams in the country, somebody is going to pick us as national champions,” he said. “That's all we want. We want to be recognized as a good football team. They are playing a game tomorrow night [the Orange Bowl] that is probably going to be a good game. Neither team is better than us. We will play them anytime, anywhere."
But junior quarterback Matt Leinart also guided the USC Trojans to a perfect record, passing for almost 3000 yards and 28 touchdowns with just six interceptions en route to winning the Heisman Trophy.
However, his fellow-Heisman finalist Reggie Bush was voted the team's most valuable player. The sophomore tailback gained 2181 all-purpose yards and was a threat rushing, receiving and returning punts.
Oklahoma boasts a pair of Heisman finalists in sixth-year senior quarterback Jason White, last year's Heisman winner, and freshman running back Adrian Peterson. White passed for 2900 and 61 yards and 33 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Peterson ran for 1800 and 43 yards and set an NCAA freshman record with 11 100-yard rushing games.
USC leads the overall series with Oklahoma, 5-2-1, with victories in the last four meetings. They have not met since 1992, when the Trojans posted a 20-10 road win.