The BCS exits the stage as a villain to most but was actually formed in 1998 as an attempt to bring some clarity to a sport that had resisted any sort of playoff since Rutgers and Princeton first squared off in 1869.
Major college football national titles had long been mythical entities granted by various polls and wire services. Long-standing contractual agreements with bowls complicated playoff possibilities and made it difficult to pair the top two teams in an annual "championship" game.
The champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12, since 1947, have had an agreement to play each other in the Rose Bowl.
The BCS was possible only because the Rose Bowl agreed to release its champions to a title game in years when those teams were ranked No. 1 or No. 2.
A complicated matrix of computers and polls, called the BCS standings, was used to determined the top teams.
It worked some years and in others failed miserably. In 2003, for example, USC finished third in the BCS standings despite being No. 1 in the coaches' and writers' polls. That led to a split title between Louisiana State and USC, the very thing the BCS was designed to prevent.
In 2004, a holy war nearly broke out between Texas and California for the coveted No. 4 spot in the standings. Major controversy erupted when Texas edged Cal for the spot, denying the Golden Bears their first Rose Bowl trip since 1959.
Protecting the tradition of the Rose Bowl in any new format was a priority for the Pac-12 and Big Ten.
"There has been a lot of give and take," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in advance of Tuesday's meetings. " At the end of the day, what is good for college football is good for the Rose Bowl, and vice-versa."
Scott was assured the selection committee would emphasize conference finish and strength of schedule in their decision-making. Win-loss record and head-to-head results will also be determining factors.
Tuesday wasn't Christmas for most college football fans because it will be two more years before anyone can open a present.
But, for many, it was close.