For better or for worse, the waiting and speculation ends tonight. The final BCS standings and BCS bowl matchups will be announced at 9pm (EST), and the other bowls will follow with their selections shortly thereafter.
Briefly: MSU's is again ranked 7th in both the AP and Coaches polls this week, one spot behind Ohio State and three spots behind Wisconsin. Three teams ranked behind MSU have already secured BCS bids: Oklahoma (whose two losses are comparably respectable: Mizzou and Texas A&M), Virginia Tech (who lost to Boise State and James Madison, No Seriously James Madison), and Connecticut (whose 4 (yes, 4) losses included a blowout to Michigan, a thorough beating by Temple, an overtime loss to Rutgers, which ended up 4-8, and a 26-0 thumping at the hands of a 6-6 Louisville team). By any reasonable metric, MSU deserves a BCS bid far more than any of those teams do. But this is the BCS, where words like "deserve," "fairness," and "equity" come to die. This is, of course, notwithstanding the substantial arguments why MSU merits a BCS bid over both/either of Wisconsin and Ohio State, but both of those teams probably deserve to go too, so I'm saving my vitriol for less familiar foes.
In any event, intrepid RCMB poster Giant Moose discovered that the Sugar Bowl has already created Ohio State vs. Arkansas merchandise, which presumably will go on sale later this evening. It's possible that MSU vs. Arkansas images exist somewhere on the site and just haven't been discovered yet, but that seems unlikely.
So, this means that MSU is heading to the Capital One Bowl for the second time in three years, and heading to Orlando for the third time in four years. Most bowl projections have MSU matched up against Alabama, which like ugh. Alabama is a young but extraordinarily talented team which will no doubt be ready to kill, kill, kill after blowing their big rivalry game against Auburn. And considering the benefits naturally accrued by an inexperienced team handed an extra month and a half of practice time, MSU will certainly have its hands full. Prepare to hear plenty about Nick Saban and Mark Ingram. Hooray. At least one contrarian (Mark Schlabach) thinks MSU will face LSU, which seems, at least to me, to be a more manageable matchup. Sadly, any chance for a very winnable matchup against South Carolina probably disappeared after their faceplant in the SEC championship game yesterday.
Some disappointment seems inevitable, but hey: State still has the most important trophy of all, as displayed by Greg Jones above. We'll be back later this evening to talk about it all.