Record: 9-2, 6-2 Pac-10 (T2nd in league)
Coach: Tyrone Willingham (seventh season)
Key players: QB Randy Fasani (13 TDs, 4 INTs), RB Brian Allen (899 yards, 9 TDs), S Coy Wire (92 tackles, 12 for loss)
Season summary: The Cardinal's highly successful campaign (more wins than in their '99 Rose Bowl season) should really merit a greater reward than Seattle. On consecutive weekends, Stanford knocked off undefeated Pac-10 foes Oregon (49-42) and UCLA (38-28), and later closed the season with four consecutive victories to finish in the top 10 of the BCS standings. Its two setbacks, though, came to the two teams it tied with in the league standings, Washington and Washington State, thus relegating the Cardinal to fourth-place status.
Record: 7-5, 4-4 ACC (T4th in league)
Coach: Mac McWhorter (interim)
Key players: QB George Godsey (3,085 yards, 18 TDs), WR Kelly Campbell (56 catches, 708 yards), DE Greg Gathers (10 sacks, 18 tackles for loss)
Season summary: Jackets fans entered the year with Rose Bowl aspirations, the thinking being this would be the year for Tech to knock rebuilding Florida State off its ACC perch. The Jackets did start 3-0, but after the Sept. 15 FSU game was postponed, the season turned downward with overtime losses at home to Maryland and Clemson. By the time the Jackets -- who clearly missed the creativity of ex-offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen -- got to Tallahassee on Dec. 1, their postseason fate had already been determined ... and FSU won again.