Despite its 120 schools, its corporate sponsors, its rabid fans and monster TV contracts worth billions of dollars, one thing that major college football does not have is a clean way of crowning a champion.
For No. 1 LSU, it's just a short drive south. For No. 2 Alabama, a quick flight. Yet the Southeastern Conference rivals wouldn't think of trading places with other teams.
New Orleans has been the goal all year long.
The Tigers and the Crimson Tide both arrived on Wednesday to prepare for the BCS title game at the Superdome, greeted by brass bands and some fans already in place for Monday's first-ever championship featuring teams from the same conference.
Alabama coach Nick Saban says, when it comes to competition, "this is about as good as it gets." Saban called New Orleans, "a special place. A special city, a special opportunity for our team."