The Stanford Cardinal repeated as back-to-back champions. The Cardinal got back to Pasadena by taking care of their marquee opponents. They beat up Oregon, swept Arizona State in the regular season and the conference title game, and whipped UCLA. However, Stanford came up just short of the BCS National Championship Game with two losses. The Cardinal were upset by Utah and USC on the road, and those two losses relegated them to the Rose Bowl. I'm sure they're plenty happy with that sentence though.
The Michigan State Spartans simply flew under the radar all season. An early season loss to Notre Dame seemed to sideline their title hopes. But Michigan State didn't lose a single Big Ten game this year, holding five teams to single digits and no touchdowns. And they upset Ohio State in the BCS National Championship, derailing another Buckeye national title bid and propelling Sparty to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1988.