Florida was an up-and-coming power and Oklahoma was a declining one when Bob Stoops made his move. He left his post as Gators defensive coordinator to take his first head coaching job with the Sooners.
Ten years later, both programs are on top. Last night, they earned formal invitations to play for the Bowl Championship Series' national championship Jan. 8 in Miami.
As expected, the final BCS standings had Oklahoma at No. 1 and Florida at No. 2 - the reverse order of their rankings in the Associated Press poll - setting up the first meeting between the programs.
Florida (12-1) has averaged 49 points per game in the nine games since its only loss. Oklahoma (12-1) became the first team since 1919 to score 60-plus in five straight games. The Sooners lost, 45-35, to Texas in October, but still finished with an NCAA-record 702 points this season.
"We beat five ranked teams - and three ranked teams as the last three games of the year," Stoops said. "That decided it."
No. 6 Penn State (11-1) will play on New Year's Day in its first Rose Bowl since 1995, facing No. 5 Southern Cal. The Trojans (11-1) will be making their fourth straight appearance and record 34th overall in college football's oldest bowl game.
Texas (11-1) finished third in the BCS and AP rankings and will play No. 10 Ohio State (10-2) in the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State's inclusion in the BCS left Boise State (12-0) in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Alabama, 12-1 and ranked No. 4, was atop the rankings until a 31-20 loss to Florida in the Southeastern Conference title game Saturday. As a consolation prize, the Crimson Tide will meet No. 7 Utah (12-0) in the Sugar Bowl.
The Orange Bowl will match Big East champion Cincinnati (11-2 and No. 12) against Atlantic Coast Conference champ and 21st-ranked Virginia Tech (9-4) on Jan. 1.
Oklahoma will aim at its first national title since a 13-2 win over Florida State to end the 2000 season. Florida beat Ohio State, 41-14, in the title game to end the 2006 season. The winner will join Louisiana State as the second team with two BCS championships this decade.
All told, 68 teams are going to bowls - including a record 10 from the ACC.
Notre Dame (6-6) will meet Hawaii (7-5) in Honolulu's Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.