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Rose Bowl foes must settle for each other

There was no celebrating a traditional matchup in the Rose Bowl - at least by the participants.

Southern California of the Pac-10 and Michigan of the Big Ten will meet New Year's Day, with each playing in the game for the third time in four years.

Both had hoped to be in Glendale, Ariz., a week later, playing for the national title. Instead, it will be Ohio State and Florida - ranked 1-2 in the BCS standings.

USC and Michigan had their chances. The Trojans (10-2) had the inside track toward facing the unbeaten Buckeyes, but a 13-9 loss to UCLA on Saturday knocked them out.

"The Rose Bowl is still a big-time game we are glad to be in, and we're going to play our hearts out in that as well," USC quarterback John David Booty said. "But it is tough when you know what could have been."

No. 3 Michigan (11-1) didn't get its hoped-for rematch with the Buckeyes, who beat them 42-39 on Nov. 18.

So USC will oppose Michigan in the Rose Bowl for the eighth time. The Trojans have a 5-2 record against the Wolverines in the game, including a 28-14 triumph three years ago.

SUGAR: The local favorite is in. No. 4 LSU (10-2), which had yearned for a chance to head west for its first Rose Bowl, will instead stay much closer to Baton Rouge - a short trip to New Orleans to face 11th-ranked Notre Dame (10-2). Notre Dame will be playing in its first Sugar Bowl since 1992, when a Lou Holtz-coached team knocked off Florida 39-29.

ORANGE: Picked to finish last in the ACC, Wake Forest (11-2) pulled off a championship season that stunned many onlookers. The Demon Deacons' reward is a date with one of the nation's highest-powered offenses, No. 5 Louisville (11-1), which won the Big East title. It's the first Orange Bowl appearance for both schools, the first time either has been part of a BCS game.

FIESTA: For No. 9 Boise State (12-0), beating No. 7 Oklahoma (10-2) would make a powerful statement in the first meeting between the schools. Boise State, which averages 222.8 yards per game on the ground, will face its toughest test of the season against the Sooners, who allow only 97.85 yards per game.