For the first time since the 2005 football season, an SEC team wasn't in college football's biggest game. The King is dead.
For the first time since 2002, a team from the B1G won the national championship of college football. Long live the King.
We'll go round and round every season about what conferences are the greatest, and what teams are the best within those conferences. For almost the past decade, the SEC has been on top as the King of College Football. The narrative was that the B1G is slipping into obscurity.
I could argue that Urban Meyer turned Ohio State into an SEC team, but honestly that's a dumb argument, to me. The "[Insert Conference Name] Brand of Football" argument is pointless, because every conference features teams with different styles.
We don't want to hear that, though. We want to have something clearly defined so that we can talk about it and argue about it and make ourselves feel superior about our particular brand.
The SEC has been the flavor of the day for years, and now the media will be jumping on the chance to say that the SEC is slipping. That now the B1G and PAC12 are rising.
The King is dead. Long live the King.
The first College Football Playoff gave us exactly what everyone outside of the SEC wanted: a chance to knock the SEC off its pedestal in a big way. Not only did the SEC not win the first College Football Playoff, an SEC team didn't even make the final game!
The PAC12 was hailed as the primary conference stacked with powerful teams to challenge the SEC at season's beginning. Urban Meyer, Ohio State, and the B1G were written off back in the second week when Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech. Then they came roaring back like a juggernaut who barreled through everyone in their path no matter who the quarterback was. In the end, it was Urban Meyer and his Buckeyes who got the last laugh on all of college football.
With the old system, last night's game never would have happened. The BCS National Championship Game would have set Alabama against Florida State. Both teams failed to make it out of the semi-finals of the College Football Playoff.
The King is dead. Long live the King.
The new system wasn't without controversy, though. Many argued that Ohio State - 2014 National Champion Ohio State - didn't even belong in the playoff. That TCU or Baylor belonged, instead. So, one season into the new system, there are already calls for changes. Even Auburn's own Gus Malzahn has said he would not be against an eight team playoff.
I suspect we will see an expansion of the playoffs at some point. There are five power conferences and four playoff spots. If two teams from one conference get in to the exclusion of two conferences rather than just one, or if a particularly strong Group of Five or Independent gets left out, then there will be enough of an outcry to drive a change.
The 2004 Auburn team may be one of the best teams Auburn has ever fielded. It did not get a chance to play for college football's ultimate prize due to the BCS system in place at the time. The system was altered following that game, and eventually that combined with other factors (such as the 2011 SEC re-match) provided enough of an outcry that the first "playoff" in the top level of college football was instituted.
The BCS is dead. Long Live the College Football Playoff.
With the first season of the College Football Playoffs in the books, we turn our eyes to the 2015 season. Pre-season rankings are already showing up everywhere, and Ohio State - who returns most everyone - is, of course, at the top of most all of them. Auburn is ranked highly in quite a few of them, as well. We turn our eyes to a likely Jeremy Johnson led offense and a Will Muschamp defense on the Plains in 2015.
It has been over four months since the blistering hot August 30th day where Auburn opened against Arkansas. With the death of the 2014 season, we look back to its beginning as we look forward to the next season. We look back to look forward. Jeremy Johnson to Duke Williams will likely be something college football world hears a lot of, next season.
2014 did not go the way Auburn fans hoped after 2013's amazing run to the BCS Championship Game. Auburn played one of the nation's toughest schedules, and a defense that floundered down the stretch led to Auburn dropping four of its final five games.
The football season is over, but in the college football world the news never stops. Everyone will now turn their eyes to recruiting as National Signing Day is less than a month away. Spring Practices will begin starting shortly after that in many places. Auburn will host A-Day on April 18th.
In Auburn, on Valentine's Day, we will have cause to celebrate as a part of our heart is returned to us. 2015 will be the interim season for us, as we wait for the new Oaks to take root, but with each victory we will be able to look to those new Oaks and smile at the future to come.
We close the books on 2014, now. There will still be looks back and position grading, etc, but there will be no more real, live football for us to talk about in any form. It wasn't always fun, but it provided us with a lot to look forward to.
College Football 2014 is dead. Long live College Football 2015.