When the curtain closed on the BCS era, it also closed on one of the most remarkable streaks in sports.
The SEC's streak of seven straight titles came to an end when Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston hit Kelvin Benjamin in the final minute of the 2014 BCS National Championship Game, and Florida State beat Auburn 34-31 to claim the 2013 national title.
The new College Football Playoff era brings new rules, and new hurdles for the SEC—and teams from every other conference—to clear in order to claim college football's ultimate prize.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive told reporters in Destin, Florida for SEC spring meetings that it's going to be hard to replicate the success the SEC enjoyed since the mid-2000's:
Slive: 'I don’t think anybody is ever going to win seven straight national championships again—unless it’s us.'— Chuck Dunlap (@SEC_Chuck) May 27, 2014
One of the coaches in his conference, Arkansas' Bret Bielema, believes that the SEC will have plenty of opportunities:
Bret Bielema why he made move from Wisconsin to Arkansas "SEC will get minimum of 2 teams in 4-team playoff"— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) May 27, 2014
Whoa now. A minimum of two teams?
That's a bit of a stretch, especially considering we don't know how much weight individual committee members will give arbitrary conference titles and other regional factors once the rubber meets the road and they begin the real selection process.
The streak was impressive, but it is a thing of the past that won't be replicated.
Even if the SEC gets multiple teams into the playoff in any given year, it still adds an extra game against a tough opponent that could match up well.
SEC teams benefited tremendously from the layoff between the conference title game and the national title game. It has been recruiting on a different level for more than a decade, led the way in terms of hiring and retaining quality assistant coaches and combined the two to excel on the game's biggest stages.
Look at the teams right now who are considered elite or have jumped into the discussion over the last few years.
Florida State and Ohio State are routinely in the top 10 in the final team recruiting rankings each year, USC navigated through sanctions while maintaining a solid recruiting foundation and there's no shortage of talent at UCLA, Oregon, Notre Dame and programs that litter the top of the college football polls each week.
There is good football played outside of the SEC.
The added game (or games, depending on the year) gives the SEC more of a chance to stumble—especially if a team is on a comparable or better level talent-wise, like Florida State was to Auburn last year.
It was a good run, but all good things come to an end.
In a new era where individuals not only determine participants, but also matchups, it'll be hard to repeat the seven-year streak.
Just getting two teams in the playoff will be considered a monumental feat.
* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report.
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