The much-maligned and graying BCS system gave the college football nation a sly wink and grin Monday night, gathered its fedora and overcoat and quietly exited the building while we were all going nuts over the thrilling ending of the final BCS National Championship, Florida State's epic comeback win over Auburn.
Talk about knowing how to leave on top. All five BCS bowl games were undecided in the fourth quarter. The title game, Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl were decided by five points or fewer. Suffice it to say, it was an exciting final week for the BCS system, which will be replaced by a four-team College Football Playoff in 2014.
Exciting and odd: The dominant SEC went 0-2 in BCS bowl games and didn't win a national title for the first time in eight years. The so-called soft ACC went 2-0 in BCS bowl games and captured its first national title since 1999, also won by the Seminoles.
But enough of the past. It's time to do what college football fans always do when the season is just recently concluded: look ahead to the next campaign.
There will be plenty of storylines and intrigue to anticipate as college football undertakes a substantial change to how it conducts the postseason.
The four teams playing in the two semifinal matchups will be selected by a 13-person committee chaired by Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long. The committee will meet several times during the season and publish its own Top 25, not unlike how the BCS rankings were published on Sundays, starting in Week 9. The committee also will be responsible for placing teams in the unaffiliated bowls -- Chick-fil-A, Cotton and Fiesta -- that are part of the College Football Playoff contract. Three of the bowls in the new system will be contract bowls with traditional tie-ins: Rose (Pac-12, Big Ten), Sugar (SEC, Big 12) and Orange (ACC).
So there will be six bowls plus the national title game, played at a site that will be selected annually through a bidding process. The 2014 semifinals, which will be played Jan. 1, are the Rose and Sugar bowls. The final game will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Jan. 12.
The champions of the five major conferences -- SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 -- are guaranteed spots in one of the CFP bowls. A sixth spot will be guaranteed to the highest-ranked champion from the other five conferences: American, Mountain West, MAC, Sun Belt and Conference USA.
And again, this new process will make sure that everybody is happy with how things stack up at season's end. Promise.