With Miami (12-0) and Ohio State (13-0) already set to meet for the national championship on Jan. 3 in the Fiesta Bowl, the remainder of the Bowl Championship Series pairings were determined Sunday.
Miami secured its date in the title game Saturday with a 56-45 win over Virginia Tech that extended the Hurricanes winning streak to 34 games.
"We're just excited to be one of those two teams and to be part of the title game," Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel said. "Our kids have done the things that champions do. Miami is a great team and I think it will be a great game."
Third-ranked Iowa (11-1) had anticipated playing in the Rose Bowl, but the Hawkeyes will instead head to Miami and face fifth-ranked Southern California (10-2) in the Orange Bowl.
"We have a Big Ten and Pac-10 meeting," said Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz. "I think everybody knows that with the BCS, some traditions have been broken, but it's still a Big 10 vs. Pac-10 matchup."
USC made its case with a 44-13 dismantling of Notre Dame on Nov. 30. The Trojans finished fourth in the final BCS standings, guaranteeing them an at-large berth.
No. 12 Notre Dame (10-2), due to its national appeal and ability to sell tickets, had been mentioned as a candidate for a berth in the BCS. But the Fighting Irish landed in the Gator Bowl for a game against North Carolina State.
Each BCS team receives about $13 million, which is split among conference members. As an independent, Notre Dame would have kept all its money. The Gator Bowl, by contrast, has a payout of $1.6 million.
No. 7 Washington State (10-2) clinched the Pac-10 Conference title and a berth in the Rose Bowl with a 48-27 victory over UCLA. With Iowa out of the mix, the Rose Bowl settled on eighth-ranked Oklahoma (11-2), which defeated Colorado, 29-7, in the Big 12 Conference championship game.
The champions of the Pac 10 and Big Ten have met in the Rose Bowl through the years, but that tradition ended last season when Miami and Nebraska met in Pasadena to determine the national champion.
Rose Bowl officials tried to be diplomatic, but clearly were miffed with not getting Iowa.
"We entered the year hoping to return to a traditional matchup," Rose Bowl CEO Mitch Dorger said. "The system did not provide that to us. We are happy with our matchup and will go forward with enthusiasm."
Fourth-ranked Georgia (12-1) is headed for the Sugar Bowl after it defeated Arkansas, 30-3, in the Southeastern Conference championship game on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs captured their first SEC title since 1982 and will face No. 16 Florida State (9-4), the Atlantic Coast Conference champion. That meeting will pit Seminoles Coach Bobby Bowden against long-time assistant and current Georgia Coach Mark Richt.
"I am going to try to enjoy the experience," Richt said. "I have a lot of friends there."
The Orange Bowl was able to select Iowa first because its anchor team, Big East champion Miami, already was in the Fiesta Bowl. The Rose Bowl went for Oklahoma and the Sugar had its anchor team in Georgia.
Both the Orange and Sugar Bowls wanted USC as its second team. According to BCS rules, the bowl that has the higher payoff gets first preference, which in this case was the Orange.
The slotting for all the remaining berths fell into place on Sunday.
The highest-ranked team not in the BCS is No. 6 Kansas State (10-2), which will settle for the Holiday Bowl against Arizona State (8-5) on Dec. 27.
The Cotton Bowl, at one time a major player in the bowl landscape, invited No. 9 Texas (10-2) against No. 25 Louisiana State (8-4) on New Year's Day. It will be the first meeting between the schools in exactly 40 years, also at the Cotton Bowl.
Nebraska (7-6), which lost the title game in the Rose Bowl to Miami last year, was invited to the Independence Bowl along with Mississippi (6-6). The game is scheduled for Dec. 27 in Louisiana.
No. 14 Colorado (10-3) would have been in a BCS bowl with a win in the Big 12 title game, but fell all the way to the Alamo Bowl against Wisconsin (7-6).
UCLA (7-5) accepted a berth in the Las Vegas Bowl against New Mexico on Christmas Day and Oklahoma State (7-5) agreed to be the opponent for Southern Mississippi in the Houston Bowl on Dec. 27.
No. 22 Auburn (8-4) will go the Capital One Bowl, formerly the Citrus Bowl, and will meet Penn State on New Year's Day. Auburn played in the Citrus Bowl in 2000, losing to Michigan, 31-28.
The inaugural Continental Tire Bowl will have No. 13 West Virginia (9-3) opposing Virginia (8-4) on Dec. 28. No. 19 Virginia Tech (9-4) will play in the first San Francisco Bowl against Air Force (8-4) on Dec. 31.
Washington (7-5) accepted a bid to the Sun Bowl, where it will face Purdue on Dec. 31. Georgia Tech (7-5) was invited to the Silicon Valley Classic and will play Fresno State, also on Dec. 31.
The Motor City Bowl on Dec. 26 extended an invitation to Boston College (8-4) to serve as the opponent for Toledo, which lost to Marshall in the Mid-American Conference championship game Saturday.
Among the teams left out of the bowl mix was Texas A&M (6-6), which fired coach R.C. Slocum last week and replaced him with former Alabama coach Dennis Franchione.