No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 8 Penn State: Oklahoma's offense has been unbelievably potent all season. With Heisman finalist Sam Bradford at the helm, the Sooners have scored at least 45 points in every game but one (a 35-10 win over TCU). Blessed with a bevy of athletic gamebreakers around Bradford, Bob Stoops guided the Sooners to an NCAA-record five-straight 60-point games to end the regular season. This offense is a well-oiled machine, to say the least. And so is Penn State's Spread HD ... at times.
The Nittany Lions boast some impressive athletes of their own, including speedy RB Evan Royster and gifted receivers Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood. But this unit's true barometer is QB Daryll Clark. When Clark is on his game, the Spread HD looks like the wave of the future. When he's not ... well ... check the Iowa game film.
It's hard to imagine Penn State beating Oklahoma in a shootout, so the Nittany Lions need a huge effort from the nation's No. 5 defense. Bednarik Award finalist Aaron Maybin must apply pressure off the edge; the longer Sam Bradford can sit in the pocket, the more one-sided this game will become.
No. 2 Florida vs. No. 7 Texas Tech: This contest features two explosive offenses with vastly different approaches. Both sides like to spread the field, but that's where the similarities end.
The Gators have averaged 45.15 points per game by riding a balanced ground attack; Florida has four regulars averaging more than seven yards per carry: Percy Harvin (8.8), Jeff Demps (8.4), Chris Rainey (7.9) and Emmanuel Moody (7.3). And some guy named Tebow leads the team with 12 rushing touchdowns.
The Red Raiders put up 44.58 points per game with a relentless aerial assault. As the driving force behind the nation's No. 1 passing offense (417.3 yards per game), QB Graham Harrell likes to wing it all over the field. But when he really needs a big play, Harrell looks for the nation's best all-around pass-catcher: sophomore Michael Crabtree.
Unfortunately for Texas Tech, Florida also has a defense to complement its scary-good offense. Can Harrell gunsling his team to an upset win?
No. 3 Texas vs. No. 6 Utah: This is undoubtedly the David-vs.-Goliath matchup of the second round. Yes, the Utes finished the regular season a perfect 12-0, but none of their opponents can hold a candle to Mack Brown's Longhorns. If not for a last-second loss at Texas Tech, Texas would be the No. 1 seed in this thing.
But don't go completely discounting Utah just yet. The Utes certainly have a chance -- especially if first-team All-Mountain West QB Brian Johnson brings his "A" game. Texas has struggled against the pass all season, as evidenced by its 109th-ranked pass defense. But Johnson better not get too comfortable in the pocket, as the Longhorns actually lead the nation in sacks (44).
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham will need one heck of a game plan to stop Texas' offense. Colt McCoy has thrown at least two TD passes in 11-of-12 games. But the Utes did completely stifle one-time Heisman candidate Max Hall in their final game of the regular season, intercepting five passes and recovering one Hall fumble.
No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 5 USC: The Trojans lambasted Virginia Tech in the first round of this tournament, but Alabama is obviously a ifferent animal.
This game offers two of the top three defenses in the country, and both are anchored by brute forces up front. Crimson Tide DT Terrence Cody may be the biggest defensive game-changer in the country. The 6-foot-5, 365-pounder -- aptly nicknamed "Mount Cody -- commands double- and triple-teams, allowing his teammates to fly to the ballcarrier. USC DT Fili Moala isn't as massive as Cody at 6-5, 295 pounds, but he's still extremely effective. Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing and Taylor Mays receive most of the credit for USC's No. 1-ranked defense, but it all starts with Moala.
On top of two spectacular defenses, this game also offers two of America's finest coaches in Pete Carroll and Nick Saban. So, which head man do you roll with: California-cool Carroll or blue-collar Saban?
Click here to see which team emerged victorious in the EA Sports playoff simulation.
• No. 8 Penn State defeats No. 9 Boise State: 47,521 (76 percent) to 14,826 (24 percent)
• No. 7 Texas Tech defeats No. 10 Ohio State: 43,420 (72 percent) to 16,632 (28 percent)
• No. 6 Utah defeats No. 11 Cincinnati: 40,858 (73 percent) to 15,389 (27 percent)
• No. 5 USC defeats No. 12 Virginia Tech: 53,884 (95 percent) to 3,049 (5 percent)