Tonight the most anticipated college football game of the past 50 years will finally be played. Two undefeated conference champions match up in what's slated as a game for the ages. At the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the two-time defending national champs USC Trojans will be going for an unprecedented third straight title. Led by a backfield that possess two Heisman winners (and perhaps next year's winner as well) USC is an offensive juggernaut the likes of which hasn't been seen in decades.

On the other side of the ball is a Texas team lead by a dynamic and breathtaking QB with a golden arm and enough running ability to leave Michael Vick awestruck.

USC's suspect defense is seemingly healthy again and Texas' choker reputation seems to be left in the dust of last year's Rose Bowl victory leading this blogger to believe that tonight will be a game that our grandchildren will ask us about.

So let's hear your picks. USC or UT? Will the game itself live up to the hype? (Is it possible that any game can?) Which of USC's plethora of stars will prove most valuable? Will Vince Young handle the defensive schemes of a coach who can be considered nothing short of genius? What does the Ohio State/Notre Dame game tell us about tonight? And if USC wins, where do they rank against the all-time teams?
Why did some parts of the world achieve so much more than others? Huge disparities in wealth, scientific knowledge, and military might have been evident throughout the globe throughout time. These gaps have created conflict and opportunity, but genesis of these gaps have long been debated.

Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" recently waded into this long-waging ideological battle. In it he states that the dominance of some people over others is largely the result of geographic happenstance. A popular new book however has fired a volley over Diamond's bow. "The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success" by Rodney Stark argues that Christian thought, as much as anything, has lead to Western dominance in the modern world.

Why did Europeans excel at metallurgy, shipbuilding, or farming? The most convincing answer to these questions attributes Western dominance to the rise of capitalism, which also took place only in Europe." He traces the origins of capitalism to the belief in reason, which he in turn locates uniquely in Christian theology: "While the other world religions emphasized mystery and intuition, Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guide to religious truth."

While seemingly an ancient dynamic, Stark argues that Christianity's reach isn't nearing an apex. Conversely:

"[t]he fact is that Christianity is becoming globalized far more rapidly than is democracy, capitalism, or modernity." He locates this spectacular growth in part to Christianity's "appeal to reason and the fact that it is so inseparably linked to the rise of Western Civilization. For many non-Europeans, becoming a Christian is intrinsic to becoming modern. Thus," he concludes, "it is quite plausible that Christianity remains an essential element in the globalization of modernity."