HOUSTON – Talk about a dream game. After four years of controversial matchups for the Bowl Championship Series title game, Rose Bowl officials went to bed Saturday night assured of a game that might surpass anything in the bowl’s storied history. In USC, the Rose Bowl welcomes a two-time defending national champion, a team on a 34-game winning streak and its most frequent visitor. In Texas, it has the defending Rose Bowl champion, a team on a 19-game winning streak and with the most prolific offense in the sport. No. 1 USC and No. 2 Texas will have to wait until this afternoon before their berths become official, but the result is a foregone conclusion. The teams will meet in Pasadena on Jan. 4 to play for the championship of college football. “I’m just living the moment,” Texas defensive lineman Larry Dibbles said Saturday. “It hasn’t settled on me yet. Right now I’m just enjoying the moment. I’m all smiles and things are great. I have a smile on my face and a song in my heart right now. I’m just looking forward to whatever the next move is because I know it’s on the way to the top.” This season’s Rose Bowl will host the BCS national title game, hosting teams determined through a complicated formula designed to pit the top two teams in its standings against one another in one of college football’s four big-money bowls. USC (12-0) and Texas (12-0), Nos. 1 and 2 the entire season, entered Saturday needing only to win to guarantee themselves a berth in the game. Texas opened the day with a 70-3 rout of Colorado in the Big 12 Conference championship game at Reliant Stadium in Houston. USC followed the Longhorns with a 66-19 rout of crosstown rival UCLA at the Coliseum in the afternoon. “We both put an exclamation mark at the end of our season,” USC linebacker Oscar Lua said. “Now we face off, 1 and 2. Hopefully, it will be a good game.” Saturday’s games were both decided early, and it didn’t take long for the celebration at either stadium to begin. In Houston, fans in burnt orange held up yellow roses, the state flower of Texas, and chanted “Rose Bowl” as the final seconds ticked off the game clock. Texas Coach Mack Brown and quarterback Vince Young, with one rose behind his ear and another in his hand, accepted a basket of roses and an unoffical invitation from three Rose Bowl officials on the field after the game. In Los Angeles, fans attired in cardinal and gold hollered “Beat the Longhorns” in time with the song “Conquest” throughout the second half. “You know, I watched some of the \ game just now when I left the locker room,” Texas tight end David Thomas said while the “Battle for L.A.” was still going on. “We’re excited to go to California and play in the Rose Bowl, this time for all the marbles.” The game will mark the fourth time in five seasons that the Rose Bowl is without its traditional Pac-10/Big Ten matchup. It will also be the fourth time in five seasons that a Big 12 team plays in the game. In January 2002, when the Rose Bowl hosted its first BCS championship game, No. 1 Miami routed BCS No. 2 Nebraska to claim the national title. Nebraska’s place in the game was not without controversy. The Cornhuskers lost their final game of the regular season to Colorado and were ranked only fourth in the Associated Press poll. The Rose Bowl expected to get Big Ten co-champion Iowa for the 2003 team after co-champion Ohio State finished No. 2 in the BCS to gain a Fiesta Bowl berth, but a controversial series of moves sent the Hawkeyes to the Orange Bowl and left the Rose Bowl with Big 12 champion Oklahoma instead. USC finished the 2003 season ranked first in the Associated Press poll and expected to play for the BCS title at the 2004 Sugar Bowl. But it finished third in the BCS and shared the national title with LSU instead. The fact this game will lack the controversial edge of past seasons didn’t seem to bother the players one bit. “Everyone’s happy,” USC offensive lineman Fred Matua said. “The South’s happy. The West’s happy. Now let’s get it on.” Staff Writer Keven Chavez contributed to this story. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2239 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!