For the past 12 months college football fans have booed, wept, bellowed, and seen their dreams of a national title crushed--unless, of course, they're of the Longhorn or Crimson Tide persuasion. For fans of Texas and Alabama, the journey to the national championship ends tonight when the two teams face off in Pasadena with hopes to bring home the cup. As always, questions swirl around the title game: Who will win? Are Texas and Alabama really the best? Why doesn't college football have playoffs? Here, five takes on tonight's national championship game.

  • Texas Will Win, says Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples. Laying out five reasons why his choice is viable, he says, "Save your e-mails, Alabama fans. Like you, I think Alabama is the better team in the BCS title game. But since this is only one game and not a seven-game series, that doesn't mean the Crimson Tide are guaranteed a victory. ..the winner will depend on which version of each team shows up in Pasadena."
  • Alabama Will Win, says Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandell. Laying out his own five reasons for Crimson Tide domination, he says, "They were the most complete team in the country this season, and Thursday night's game will serve as one final reminder."
  • The BCS Works Not surprisingly, this sentiment comes from Bill Hancock, director of the Bowl Championship Series. He makes a case for the effectiveness of his organization over a playoff system by saying that the entire season of college football is essentially a playoff. He continues, "As a result of this emphasis on the regular season, college football is more exciting, more popular, and more successful than ever before."
  • 'Bama and Texas Deserve to Be There, says Matt Hinton at Yahoo's Rivals.com. Despite the criticism of the BCS and whether tonight's game is indicative of the best in the nation, he says, "These are elite programs with the highest-paid coaches, the most coveted recruits, the most lavish facilities, the largest and most devoted fan bases and the weight of decades of championship tradition behind them, squaring off in the sport's own mythologized version of Mount Olympus.
  • Why Can't Boise State Be a National Champion Too? asks Joe Posnanski at Sports Illustrated. While noting the exceptional performances of Alabama, Texas and the BCS, he begs of Boise, also undefeated, to use a little imagination and declare themselves a national champion too. He says, "College football is a big game. And America is a big country. It's a country big enough for Limbaugh and Moore, for Beyonce and Taylor Swift, for Clooney and Pitt.... Nobody will ever be able to prove that the Texas-Alabama winner is better than Boise State or vice versa."