Season's end as it was meant to be

Imagine for a terrifying moment a world in which the first College Football Playoff didn't exist. In other words, imagine refrigerators with ice cube trays, Roger Moore as Bond and cigarettes on planes.

There are the good ol' days, and then there are the Bowl Championship Series days. If the BCS already seems as antiquated as Beliebers, that's because it is. The BCS is so 2013. I couldn't wait to unfollow it.

If not for the four-team playoff -- and all the wonderful noise it created, like beer cans strung to the bride and groom's getaway car -- we would be counting down the minutes to an Alabama vs. Florida State BCS championship game. Yes, the two teams that lost in the semifinals.

Bama-FSU would have been fine, maybe even compelling. But why settle for vinyl seats when you can get leather, right?

Oregon and Ohio State are the leather seats. It is the matchup hardly anybody saw coming, especially after Buckeyes quarterbacks set a season record for most time in surgery. After QB1 (Braxton Miller) went down with a shoulder injury in August, Vegas had OSU at 50-1 odds to win it all. And when Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech at home with QB2 (J.T. Barrett), the odds surely swelled again.

Now look at the 13-1 Buckeyes, confident and unflinching. By the way, can someone explain why Urban Meyer's name isn't being mentioned for an NFL coaching job? Not that I want him to leave the college game, but have you seen his record since arriving in Columbus? Have you watched how he's restocked the OSU roster as if it were a trout farm?

Most of all, have you noticed how the Buckeyes are now on QB3 (Cardale Jones), and they've still won their past two games (vs. Wisconsin and Bama) by a combined 101-35 score? This from a team whose championship run was supposed to commence next season, not this season.

Meanwhile, Oregon always had a chance to reach the final game. Even after the Ducks lost at home to Arizona, there was no way they were going to phone it in. Not with Marcus Mariota. Not with an offense that runs plays as fast as hummingbirds flap their wings. It's exhausting (and exhilarating) just watching the Ducks' offense. Just think if you had to keep up with it. Or stop it.

Oregon toyed with Florida State's defense. Overpowered it. Ran by it. By the end, the Seminoles did the unthinkable: They gave up. Just flat-out quit.

That's what the Ducks can do to you. They sap your heart, deplete your oxygen supply, then break your will. About half of Florida State's players were too tired even to shake the Ducks' hands after the 59-20 semifinal rout.

An Oregon vs. Ohio State matchup doesn't ensure college football peace and tranquility. TCU has run out of pencils and erasers trying to do the CFP math.

If 10-1 TCU = No. 3 in the Week 15 rankings, then how does 11-1 TCU = No. 6 in the Week 16/season-ending rankings?

It's a fair question, especially after the Horned Frogs neutered Ole Miss in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The answer, as best as anyone can tell, is: Don't blow a 21-point fourth-quarter lead and lose 61-58. While you're at it, don't let your conference commissioner do the co-champions thing.

As it turns out, TCU would have been a BCS championship game no-show too. So would Ohio State. We can debate the merits or injustice of TCU's exclusion until Gary Patterson quits hitching his pants, but the bottom line is this: Four teams are better than two, especially when those two teams valued so much by the old system are now watching from home.

This season began four-plus months and 845 FBS games ago -- Aug. 27, 2014, to be exact. It began with an AP top five of FSU, Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma and Ohio State. It began with a Heisman Trophy favorites list of FSU's Jameis Winston, Mariota, Miller, Georgia's Todd Gurley, Baylor's Bryce Petty and UCLA's Brett Hundley. It began with fragile hope at places such as Florida and Michigan.

Now the Gators and Wolverines have new coaches. The Big 12 has a problem with no conference title game. The SEC West has bruise marks on its reputation. And Winston has a foregone conclusion to make.

Meanwhile, the winners of four of the past five national championship games (Bama and FSU) will be joining us on the couch to watch history. Jimbo is bringing the cheese dip.

It has been a weird and wonderful season. You couldn't make up some of the comebacks (hello, Sparty and Houston), the controversies (hello, Jameis) and the coaching changes (hello, the two Jims -- McElwain and Harbaugh).

It ends Monday night in Jerry World. No matter who wins game No. 846 -- the Ducks or the Buckeyes -- it ends the way it was meant to -- with a playoff game.

Imagine that.