It's an esteemed clash. It's a coveted crown. It's also a manifestation of a mess and a culmination of kooky.
Unlike title bouts in other sports, college football's Bowl Championship Series title game is both myth and magic, filled with as much mirth as meaning.
First, it's not a true championship, because it is not the result of a true playoff.
Second, it's not a true test of champions, seeing as it's played between teams that have not competed in a real game in more than a month.
But the BCS marches on, and, because it creates the nuttiest and neatest regular season in sports, I will march with it, traveling down the street this afternoon to watch Alabama and Texas muck it up for all the marbles in the Rose Bowl.
Although, I already know what is going to happen.
Or at least, what should happen.
The national anthem is crooned by surprise attendee Tim Tebow, his firm jaw jutting in the breeze, his voice pouring out like an angel, and everyone weeps.
The coin toss is conducted by surprise honorary captain Mike Leach, the fired Texas Tech coach telling the correct-calling team, "OK, fellas, you can take the storage shed or defend the electrical closet."
The game begins and Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy is greeted by a mixture of cheers and boos by a bunch of folks wearing blue.
The cheers are from Dodgers fans impressed that, in a Times story earlier this week, McElroy correctly recited the Dodgers' starting lineup.
The boos from those same fans who were stunned and confused that he referred to their shortstop as "the great Rafael Furcal."
Mack Brown, Texas coach, calls timeout and huddles his team under the television cameras, loudly lecturing them about being kids, and having fun, and being kids, and having a lifetime experience, and being kids, and gosh, gosh, gosh, you wonderful kids.
As his befuddled players run back on the field, Brown turns to an assistant and whispers, "That's worth $5 million, right?"
Nick Saban, Alabama coach, responds with his own timeout to announce to his team that he'll never, ever, ever leave to return to the NFL.
At which point his senior captains sigh and surround his pants with fire extinguishers.
Charlie Weis, former Notre Dame coach, is shown sitting in the stands dishing and dallying with 10 rich high school chicks, apparently preparing for his new role on "Gossip Girl."
With Alabama leading 10-0, Texas ends the first half with a unique 11-play, 68-yard drive that results in a field goal.
Unique, in that the drive takes all of 17 seconds.
Unique, in that the entire state of Nebraska implodes while watching it.
"It's really cool how throwing the ball out of bounds actually adds time to the clock," quarterback Colt McCoy says as he walks off the field with a grin.
In what was supposed to be a display of college football's strength, the halftime show consists of dozens of players running sprints until they vomit and lifting weights until they collapse.
Upon close examination, the players appear to be from the University of Michigan.
When contacted back in Ann Arbor, Coach Rich Rodriguez says he can't confirm anything because he lost his roster and forgot their names.
As a second halftime feature, a fan kicks a 40-yard field goal and is immediately awarded a 2006 black Land Rover.
When the fan politely declines the prize for tax reasons, he is accosted by an official wearing a cardinal and gold jacket, name rhymes with Tike Smarrett.
"Take the car, man" says the official. "Seriously, just take the car."
For a final halftime feature, Tim Tebow returns to the field on the end of a parachute, falling from the sky with trumpets blaring, a white-robed choir singing, and everyone weeps.
The third quarter begins and so does the pounding, Alabama overwhelming Texas' defensive line, Mark Ingram living up to the Heisman Hype, the Tide rolling.
Just in time for cameras to catch a contingent of Boise State fans holding up one finger and chanting . . .
Oh, shut up.
By the end of the third quarter, with Alabama firmly in control, there is a disturbance in the stands.
Apparently a tour director with a huge group of fans from the Midwest is leaving his group early, saying he can't stick around for the end of the game, he has to leave them on their own, the guy is being a huge jerk, and his group is furious with him.
"Sorry, folks, gotta run," says Brian Kelly, sprinting into the arms of a priest.
Between the third and fourth quarter, the Rose Bowl scoreboard plays a Tim Tebrow retrospective, the man, the legend, the career, his dashing runs, his gutsy throws, look at that eye black, look at that hair, the perfect man, and everyone weeps.
Midway through the fourth quarter, there is another disturbance in the stands, lower level, midfield, canes stomping, gray flying.
It is a group of senior citizens who have proudly and graciously attended every game in the Rose Bowl in the last 100 years.
But, having somehow slipped into ushers' jackets, officials from the Florida State athletic department are inexplicably trying to throw them out.
With Texas trailing by three touchdowns with three seconds left, honorary Texas mascot Rick Neuheisel calls a timeout.
Honorary Alabama mascot Pete Carroll runs across the field to pound him.
The USC administration is so angry and embarrassed, it puts the basketball team on another year of probation.
The game ends, Alabama wins 28-7, and, even though he didn't play, Tim Tebow is named MVP, Player of the Decade, Sideline Reporter's Crush of the Century, The Only Player To Ever Play The Game.
Tebow promptly announces his intentions to attempt to compete at the next level.
And the NFL weeps.