USC and Nebraska settled two conference titles and four bowl matchups Saturday, while Notre Dame moved one step closer to a possible national title and a Fiesta Bowl showdown with West Virginia.
The Cornhuskers of Nebraska defeated Oklahoma 7-3 to capture the Big Eight Conference crown and clinch a berth in the Orange Bowl against Miami of Florida, the defending national champion. Despite the loss, Oklahoma heads to the Citrus Bowl for a Jan. 2 meeting against Clemson.Notre Dame, hoping to play for the national championship when it faces West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 2, ran its record to 10-0 by crushing Penn State 21-3. The Mountaineers ran their record to 11-0 with a 31-9 triumph over Syracuse.
The Irish will wind up the regular season next Saturday when they take on Southern California, which clinched a Rose Bowl berth against Michigan by defeating UCLA 31-22 for the Pac-10 title.
Despite the loss, UCLA will go to the Cotton Bowl against Southwest Conference champion Arkansas. The Southern Cal victory also means that Florida State will go to the Sugar Bowl against the Southeastern Conference host, either LSU or Auburn.
Nebraska and Oklahoma lead four Big Eight teams playing in bowl games this season. Colorado, a 56-14 winner over Kansas State, will go to the Freedom Bowl Dec. 29 to meet BYU. Oklahoma State, who defeated Iowa State 49-28, will face Wyoming in the Holiday Bowl Dec. 30.
The bowl season begins Dec. 10 when Western Michigan plays Fresno State in the California Bowl. On Dec. 23, Southern Mississippi and Texas-El Paso will battle in the Independence Bowl.
Army will take its 8-2 record to the Sun Bowl Dec. 24 to meet Alabama.
On Christmas Day, Washington State will play Houston in the Aloha Bowl. The Cougars, 8-2, defeated Texas Tech 30-29 on Saturday.
Indiana, which swamped Purdue 52-7 Saturday to run its record to 7-3-1, will face South Carolina, a 29-10 loser to Clemson, in the Liberty Bowl Dec. 28.
Illinois, 6-4-1 after defeating Northwestern 14-9, will take on Florida in the All American Bowl at Birmingham, Ala., on Dec. 29.
New Year's night's Gator Bowl will feature Georgia and Michigan State, which swamped Wisconsin 36-0 Saturday to increase its record to 6-4-1.