We've all experienced at least one crazy, tempestuous relationship, right? It was toxic yet also sometimes thrilling beyond measure. The highs were extraordinary, and the lows miserable. There were raving arguments full of frenzied recriminations, but somehow you stayed together for a surprisingly long time. Alas, eventually, sanity prevailed and you went your separate ways.
On Jan. 6 at midnight, college football will break up with the BCS after a tumultuous 16 seasons. The sport will move on to a new relationship in 2014 with the four-team College Football Playoff. This one promises to be more stable and mature.
So as we move toward this inevitable split, how do we feel? We know this is for the best, but certainly there will be some bittersweetness to the parting.
The BCS, after all, stopped us from ending seasons the way we ended 1997, when twin unbeatens Michigan and Nebraska eyeballed each other from across the country because the old bowl system didn't allow them to settle things on the field. Simply, the BCS tried to find the best way to put the Nos. 1 and 2 teams together for a winner-take-all game, which, at the time of its creation, seemed like a great idea. While it was unquestionably an imperfect system, it gave us Texas' 41-38 win over USC in 2006, which might well be the greatest college football game ever played. It also gave us Ohio State's shocking double-overtime win over a seemingly invincible Miami squad in 2003, which has a spot on the same list.
Further, while some insist the BCS made the postseason all about one championship game, that point can be strongly countered. What about Boise State's overtime win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl? Or Michigan's overtime win -- led by Tom Brady! -- over Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl? Or Texas' one-point victory over Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl? Those were fantastic games with great storylines that can still inspire goose bumps with their recollection.
Of course, most would argue the BCS gave us more ugliness than beauty, starting with the championship game itself. Only five of the previous 15 were decided by single digits. Six have been decided by three or more touchdowns, including the past two.
The BCS inspired congressional hearings. It created new terms: "BCS-buster" and "AQ" and "non-AQ." It tweaked its complicated formula nearly every year, a quasi-comedic exercise of men in suits frantically sticking their fingers into a leaky dike only to see a new stream of water spew forth the following December.
The SEC has won nine BCS titles overall and seven in a row, with a chance to make it 10 and eight when Auburn meets Florida State at the Rose Bowl. That's inspired plenty of justifiable chest-pounding down South and consternation in all other parts, where folks either fret the SEC's dominance or feel the system is merely rigged in its favor.