The last time LSU played for a national football title in the Superdome, the BCS Championship and the Sugar Bowl were one and the same. This year, New Orleans will host No. 2-ranked LSU and three other Top 10 teams as the games have doubled " the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 and the BCS Championship on Jan. 7 " making the 2008 bowl season twice as sweet for the local hospitality industry.
The University of Georgia " ranked fourth in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings " will face the 10th-ranked University of Hawaii in the 74th annual Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day. No. 1 Ohio State will take on LSU in the BCS National Championship Game next Monday night.
This will mark the third time the Superdome has hosted the BCS title game, but it's the iconic building's first shot under the new arrangement implemented last season, whereby the national championship is a stand-alone game that rotates among the sites of the Sugar, Rose, Orange and Fiesta Bowls.
This year's games involve three perennial winners with rich bowl traditions and rabid fans " Georgia, LSU and Ohio State " as well as the most compelling story in college football this season: Hawaii.
There's a surfeit of plot lines.
LSU wants to capitalize on playing in its home state to claim its second national championship in four years.
Ohio State seeks redemption after a blowout loss to another Southeastern Conference team in last year's national championship game.
Georgia, spurned by the voters late in the season, hopes a dominant performance will show it deserved to be playing for a national title.
And Hawaii, the only undefeated team in major college football, had to elbow its way into the exclusive BCS club.
The Sugar Bowl, first played in 1935 at Tulane Stadium, is the second-oldest bowl game in the country with a lineage as distinguished and celebrated as any in the nation. This year New Orleans, the site of so many Super Bowls, is home to two super bowls in one week.