ALBUQUERQUE, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The college football bowl season begins Saturday with the first two of 34 contests that will conclude with Alabama meeting Notre Dame for the national title.
Action gets underway with Arizona facing Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl at Albuquerque and Utah State will take on Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Boise.
In addition to putting Alabama in the national championship game, the Southeastern will be the busiest of the conferences during the 24-day bowl season.
The SEC will have 10 teams in action, although the first one will not take the field until Vanderbilt meets North Carolina State in Nashville's Music City Bowl on New Year's Eve.
That conference will also be trying to extend what is currently a six-year streak of national crowns that began when Florida defeated Ohio State at the end of the 2006 season.
Since then the national championship has been won by LSU, Florida, Alabama, Auburn and Alabama.
In the four other Bowl Championship Series games, Florida will play Louisville in the Sugar Bowl, Oregon will take on Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl, Stanford will face Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and surprising Northern Illinois will try for the upset against Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
Northern Illinois has won 12 games in a row and is led by quarterback Jordan Lynch, who has accounted for 4,739 yards and 43 touchdowns this season.
The most attractive of the non-BCS bowls will send Texas A&M against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy. He threw for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns this season and ran for 1,181 yards and 19 more scores.
Manziel jumped into the Heisman Trophy picture when he led the Aggies to a shocking road win over Alabama.
The national championship game will be played Jan. 7 in Miami.