Stanford and Georgia Tech have a lot at stake in today's Jeep Eagle Aloha Bowl.
For the 17th-ranked Cardinal (8-3), it's a chance to show college football that Stanford is becoming a national power.
Georgia Tech (7-5) is trying to forget a season of unfilled expectations.
"A win will make it a really good season," said Yellow Jackets coach Bobby Ross, said to be the top candidate for the vacant San Diego Chargers job. "A loss will make it just a good season."
The game will match the speedy Yellow Jackets defense against the multiple attack of Stanford. Coach Dennis Green, a former 49ers assistant, has patterned his offense after San Francisco's.
"The key will be how we deal with their speed on defense," Green said. "They have explosive speed, and on an artificial surface they'll be even faster."
Green said the key is to stop Yellow Jackets quarterback Shawn Jones.
"We'll have to control their quarterback and shut down their inside game," Green said. "They are one of the few teams that change formations. At any given time they can be in any formation. It will really force our whole defensive concept of being able to adjust."
Ross said Georgia Tech needs a fast start to restore confidence lost after an 18-15 loss to Georgia.
"We're struggling a little bit with our confidence now," Ross said.
* BLOCKBUSTER BOWL: Alabama coach Gene Stallings said redshirt freshman Jay Barker will start at quarterback against Colorado and that former starter Danny Woodson will be his backup.
Barker started the final three games of the regular season for the No. 8 Crimson Tide (10-1) after Woodson was kicked off the team for unspecified violations of team rules.
Woodson recently was reinstated and will be in uniform for Saturday's game against No. 13 Colorado in Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium.
"I hate to disappoint people, but we don't have a controversy," Stallings said. "It is not an issue on our squad."
Woodson, a senior who started the first eight games of the season, agreed.
"I was out too long for me to come back and pick up where I left off," he said. "Coach Stallings is doing the right thing. I may not like his decision, but he's doing what's right for the team."
If Barker struggles against Colorado, Woodson wants his chance.
"I can't believe the coaches would bring me back, reinstate me and not let me play in my last game," he said. "I'll be disappointed if I don't get a chance to play."