Ever since Boise State stunned Oklahoma, 43-42, in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, college football fans have fantasized about the doomsday scenario of a non-BCS team actually playing in the national championship game.
What's astonishing about Saturday's Big 12 Conference title clash is how close that situation came to becoming a reality. TCU literally was one second away from being matched up against Alabama in the title game.
Incredibly, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy nearly allowed the clock to run out before the officially put one second back on the board, sparing the Longhorns signal-caller, who is a smart guy, the ignominious fate of being part of one of the most bone-headed plays in college football history.
Yours truly has been among those rooting for a non-BCS team to crash the national championship party. It's our way of protesting a system of deciding of college football's No. 1 team that 90 percent of fans across the country oppose. We have rooted for chaos to shame the BCS apologists.
But we have to confess something. We were glad that Texas pulled out its 13-12 victory over Nebraska. Nothing against TCU, as Gary Patterson has done a wonderful job building the Horned Frogs into a national powerhouse. It's just that a TCU-Alabama national title game would have lacked panache. We're not sure it would have served college football's best interest.
Perhaps we've fallen into an elitist mindset, but Texas-Alabama is a much more glamorous matchup, pitting two of the most storied programs in the sport. Maybe we're wrong because everybody loves the underdog, and TCU certainly would have fit that bill, but we believe Texas-Alabama will attract a bigger audience than Texas-TCU.
Of course, we're not sure Texas is the second-best team in the country. During the regular season, the Longhorns would have dropped in the polls following a one-point win over a team that was a two-touchdown underdog as Nebraska was.
That, of course, is the biggest problem with the BCS. It's easy to dismiss the TCUs, Boise States and Cincinnatis because they don't play in one of the major conferences. But what more can they do than win all their games? We can say they wouldn't beat Alabama, but how do we know for sure if they never get the chance?
Come to think of it, maybe we would have preferred a Texas-TCU title game. The Horned Frogs would have gotten their one shot to slay the dragon. Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, as the saying goes.
Anyway, we know BCS coordinator John Swofford breathed a huge sigh of relief when Hunter Lawrence's 46-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired.