But like in many of the previous 15 seasons of the BCS, weeks of angst and controversy over who were the two most deserving teams to play for a national championship became moot. On the last Saturday of the regular season, everything fell into place again and the BCS delivered us a national title game almost everyone can agree about, just as BCS chairman Bill Hancock promised it would.
A month ago, few would have predicted Auburn would be one of the last two teams standing. But the Tigers beat Georgia 43-38 on a 73-yard Hail Mary pass with 25 seconds left (off the hands of a UGA defensive back, no less) on Nov. 16, and then two weeks later defeated archrival and two-time defending BCS national champion Alabama 34-28 on the mother of all miracles -- a 109-yard return of a missed field goal on the final play of the Iron Bowl.
While the result is terrible for us Bama fans, there's no denying the correctness of this matchup given the on-field results. That brings the BCS' final record to 14 and 1 on getting the title game right. Good luck to the Playoff system on achieving a 93% success rate over the next decade and a half.
Interesting note, if the playoff were this year, we'd see an Iron Bowl rematch in the first round. I could go for that right about now, because this feels terrible. Was it terribly painful for our most hated rival cost us immortality? Yes. But now we have to watch as they try to win a national championship in the process?
Of all of the bad ways we could have predicted this season could play out, this particular scenario would never have come up. Ever. You truly are a cruel mistress, football gods.
For the SEC, a streak perpetuated.
The SEC was hopped up on Mountain Dew all week, flashing its one-loss credentials to anyone who'd listen, questioning the patriotism of anyone keeping the SEC out. Maybe Auburn is doing Ohio State a favor, because it appears it wasn't ready for FSU anyway.
The first time in two years, I pull for you, and this is how you repay me, Urban?
Florida State's defense was dominant, holding Duke (10-3) to 239 yards and forcing three turnovers to help the Seminoles win their second straight ACC title. The Blue Devils had eight possessions in the first half and failed to pick up a first down on seven of them.
"Offensively we were out of sync early," Fisher said. "Our defense was the key tonight and they were absolutely outstanding." It was Florida State's 12th win by at least 27 points. The Seminoles entered as 29-point favorites after outscoring its opponents by an average of 43 points.
Florida State outgained Duke 569-239.
Florida State, meanwhile, proved Duke to be as hopelessly outmatched as all the experts predicted. #prayersforBammer as he is going to have a pretty eventful next month, I imagine.
Alabama needed two upsets. It got one.
So, after Michigan State's 34-24 win over Ohio State will certainly push Auburn to the BCS National Championship Game, the Crimson Tide will end up in the Sugar Bowl.
Alabama (11-1) appears to be headed to the Superdome to face Oklahoma, winners over Oklahoma State in a wild rivalry game Saturday. Oregon and Ohio State are also possible opponents.
The only silver lining from yesterday's results is that Bama will now play in the Sugar Bowl, where we belong, rather than in the Orange Bowl against a mediocre Clemson team. Oklahoma should be fun to play. Oregon would be my second choice, with Ohio State a distant third.
Alabama came up just short of picking up its first road victory of the season Saturday, as it fell, 66-64, at South Florida.
Guard Retin Obashohan led the Crimson Tide (4-4) with 20 points in a game that ended with three Alabama misses.
Freshman Shannon Hale hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds to play, cutting the Bulls' deficit to a point. After USF's Anthony Collins made one of two free throws to extend the lead with 10 seconds to play, Levi Randolph missed a layup, Hale missed a 3-pointer and Randolph missed a jumper to seal the Crimson Tide's fourth loss in as many tries away from Coleman Coliseum.