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Sports 101

Nokia, Fedex, and Tostitos have all grabbed a piece of the college bowl action as sponsors of games. So have Builder's Square, Jeep, and Toyota. Even the Internet is logging on with the bowl in Tucson, Ariz., and the Micron PC Bowl in Miami. The Las Vegas Bowl (San Diego State vs. North Carolina) kicks off the games at 6 p.m. tomorrow on ESPN. The Big Four bowls (Fiesta, Rose, Sugar, Orange), however, don't begin until Jan. 1.

Q: Who are the two teams playing for the national championship?

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A: Tennessee (12-0) will play Florida State (11-1) in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 4 (ABC, 8 p.m. ET). The winner of this game will be the national champion.

Q: How are the teams chosen for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS)?

A: It's a complicated process, but the new system relies heavily on computer analysis. The four components are (1) the media and coaches polls; (2) the computer rankings of the Seattle Times, The New York Times, and rankings wizard Jeff Sagarin; (3) a team's strength-of-schedule; and (4) its win-loss record. The team with the lowest points ranks first in the BCS standings. In the past, bowl choices were based largely on just the Associated Press media poll and the USA Today-ESPN coaches poll.

Q: Which conferences receive automatic bids?

A: The champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific 10, and SEC conferences all receive automatic bids to one of the four BCS games - the Fiesta, Rose, Orange, and Sugar. Here's this year's lineup (all times are eastern; all the games are on ABC):

Fiesta: Florida St. (ACC) vs. Tennessee (SEC), Jan. 4, 8 p.m.

Orange: Syracuse (Big East) vs. Florida (SEC, at large), Jan. 2, 8 p.m.

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Rose: Wisconsin (Big Ten cochamp) vs. UCLA (Pacific 10), Jan. 1, 5 p.m.

Sugar: Ohio State (Big Ten cochamp) vs. Texas A&M (Big 12), Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m.

Q: Besides the new poll rankings, how is this bowl season different from the past?

A: Unlike the old Bowl Alliance, the BCS guarantees, for the first time, a matchup between the top two teams in a national championship game.

* For a complete bowl schedule, check out

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