The appetizer of games leading up to New Years Day and beyond are just about done.
The Pac-10 is 1-3 so far. The SEC lost its first game. And Rutgers was dominant in a game it shouldn't have been in -- it's a shame the Scarlet Knights great season was rewarded with a Dec. 28 trip to Houston for the Texas Bowl.
Finally, however, the games we've been waiting for are just about ready for kickoff.
For college football junkies like me, what is now B(C)S week, Jan. 1 through Jan. 8, is the perfect way to jump start the new year.
Outback Bowl (11 a.m.)
Penn State vs. Tennessee
This is a matchup of two teams who played extremely challenging schedules and won the games they were supposed to win and lost to teams ahead of them.
Penn State's only losses came against teams ranked ahead of the Nittany Lions -- Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State. Two of Tennessee's three losses were to Florida and LSU by a combined five points. The Volunteers also lost to SEC runner-up Arkansas.
Penn State is led by its defense. Linebackers Paul Posluszny and Dan Connor are two of the best at what they do. But they will be without the services of suspended defensive tackle Ed Johnson. With or without Johnson, the Nittany Lions were going to have their hands full with Tennessee's offense, which is led by quarterback Erik Ainge and wide receiver Robert Meachem (67 catches, 1,265 yards, 11 touchdowns).
Penn State must get Tony Hunt and the ground game going early in order to take the pressure off of quarterback Anthony Morelli.
Line: Tennessee -4 1/2
Prediction: Tennessee 21, Penn State 13
Cotton Bowl (11:30 a.m.)
Nebraska vs. Auburn
What a matchup this would have been in the 1980s. Nebraska is in the middle of a rebuilding process, Auburn is just reloading.
Line: Auburn -3
Prediction: Auburn 17, Nebraska 7
Gator Bowl (1 p.m.)
Georgia Tech vs. West Virginia
Is losing quarterback Reggie Ball a good thing for Georgia Tech? His inconsistent play has been the Yellow Jackets downfall all season. It's easy to tell Georgia Tech what to do -- get the ball to stud receiver Calvin Johnson as much as possible -- but it is another thing to execute.
West Virginia, on the other hand, is fast. Pat White and Steve Slaton may be the best quarterback-running back running duo in the nation. Did I mention the Mountaineers are fast?
Line: West Virginia -7
Prediction: West Virginia 28, Georgia Tech 14
Citrus Bowl (1 p.m.)
Wisconsin vs. Arkansas
This is the Badgers first chance since their Big 10 opening loss at Michigan to prove they are for real.
This game features two great young running backs -- Wisconsin's P.J. Hill and Arkansas' Darren McFadden.
The bigger, better defense wins this grinder of a game.
Line: Arkansas -2
Prediction: Wisconsin 21, Arkansas 17
Rose Bowl (5 p.m.)
Michigan vs. USC
This is the snubbed vs. the disappointed.
Michigan is the second-best team in the nation and should be playing in Glendale on Jan. 8 for the national championship. The Trojans would be in the title game if not for their season-ending loss at arch rival UCLA.
Don't let the 42 points surrendered to the Buckeyes fool you. The Michigan defense is for real, especially against prototypical pocket passers, which is exactly what USC's John David Booty is.
Yes, Booty has great talent around him, especially at the wide receiver position, but Michigan's veteran, balanced attack, led by workhorse running back Mike Hart, will be too much for USC's talented defense to handle.
Line: USC -1
Prediction: Michigan 27, USC 13
Fiesta Bowl (8 p.m.)
Boise State vs. Oklahoma
Too bad for the Broncos that Adrian Peterson is back and ready to run one final time as a Sooner. He is the best running back in the country, and if he had remained healthy, might have been the only true challenger to Troy Smith for the Heisman Trophy.
As for Boise State, they are the ultimate mystery.
Both teams have a lot of pressure to win. An Oklahoma win, especially a blowout, would help the BCS schools tell the "little guys" that they don't belong on the big stage. A Boise State win does the opposite. Don't underestimate the little guy with the flashy offense.
Line: Oklahoma - 7 1/2
Prediction: Oklahoma 21, Boise State 20
Orange Bowl (8 p.m., Jan. 2)
Louisville vs. Wake Forest
Does the dream season end with a win for Jim Grobe and the Demon Deacons? Probably not. Wake Forest hasn't face a team with as much offense as Louisville. A win for the Cardinals can legitimize their claim as a college football power.
Line: Louisville -10
Prediction: Louisville 24, Wake Forest 13
Sugar Bowl (8 p.m., Jan. 3)
LSU vs. Notre Dame
Did the Irish find a defense during their month of bowl preparation? Probably not. But has LSU found enough consistency on offense to outscore Brady Quinn and Notre Dame? Maybe.
Line: LSU -9 1/2
Prediction: LSU 35, Notre Dame 31
BCS Championship Game (8 p.m., Jan. 8)
Ohio State (-8) vs. Florida
I'll preview this next week. In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Enjoy the bowls.