In its final year, the BCS did exactly what it was designed to do once again. With the final BCS Standings revealed, No. 1, Florida State will be taking on No. 2 Auburn in Pasadena to grab hold of the crystal football and be crowned as champions. The biggest "bad guy" in college football's history again serves its purpose.
Prior to the last weekend of the regular season, the arguments about who would be left out and who was deserving were raging quite loudly. Ohio State fans fought against Auburn fans as the SEC and Big Ten battled to decide who was truly more deserving.
People readied themselves to spend Saturday night into Sunday evening making their case for their team. Yet as Michigan State took down the Buckeyes, 34-24, in Indianapolis, the echo chamber really never got fired up for action. There would be no stump speeches needed on the part of a one-loss SEC champ.
College football in the BCS era has a knack for sorting itself out. 2013 is not unique; it is the norm for the Bowl Championship Series. Folks spend October and November gearing themselves up, fighting battles that, come December, tend to not matter much.
This season alone, the college football world has dealt with Baylor's lack of respect and Ohio State's schedule controversy. Oregon and Alabama went undefeated and left a flawless Florida State out in the cold. At the end of October, there were five BCS conference undefeated teams, and on December 8, there is only one.
Baylor eliminated itself when its receivers failed to get off press coverage against Oklahoma State and handed the Cowboys a big win. Oregon shrank away in the face of Stanford's power and then stayed on the mat as Arizona trounced it. Alabama's inability to commit to stopping the run sank its chances in the final week of its regular season.
And, of course, Ohio State dropped to the Spartans in the Big Ten Championship Game.
That left the undefeated Seminoles and the Auburn Tigers, the nation's strongest finishing team, set to meet for the Coaches' Trophy. This self-sorting ability is the norm on the collegiate landscape.
Back in 2006 the nation seemed poised to get an Ohio State-Michigan rematch for a BCS Championship. Yet America's strongest finisher, the Florida Gators, would find its way into the game on the strength of an SEC Championship win. Of course, people often forget, it was not just the Gators' win, but the USC loss to UCLA which gave No. 4 Florida a push to the second spot.
2006 was a sloppy ending, but one that ultimately worked itself out.
Other years, such as Virginia Tech and Florida State in 1999, USC and Texas in 2005 and 2002 Ohio State and Miami make things far easier. Two undefeated teams at the top create an easy remedy and the BCS has supplied the desired matchup.
It is not always as cut and dry as two undefeated teams battling it out, or a hot finishing squad rising above a slower start, but the BCS still finds a way to work more often than not.
In 2009, a season where five teams finished undefeated and in the Top Six, the system did the heavy lifting, putting Alabama and Texas ahead of the pack.
The same goes for the messy 2007 season where the only two-loss BCS Champion was crowned, LSU. Eight two-loss teams were eligible for the BCS, and the system found a way to make sure that the most qualified team, Les Miles' Bayou Bengals, got to play for the hardware.
To start November, there were seven undefeated teams, Florida State was ahead of Oregon and both Ducks and Seminoles fans were gearing up to argue about the right to play Alabama. Ohio State was set to tout its win streak as a reason it should move up and both Fresno State and Northern Illinois were fighting for a BCS spot.
What a difference a month makes. November is when title shots are earned and lost. Going undefeated in college football is easier than in other sports, but it is by no means a task many accomplish. Ask Alabama, Ohio State, Baylor, Fresno State and the rest of the nation that's not Florida State.
The BCS got it right again. From the first season to its finale, the often despised structure has done its job. The BCS is what people hate in September, October and November. Then, December comes around, and more often than not, the college football world gets what it has been looking for all season: some clarity.