After 16 long years of tyranny and horror, the Bowl Championship Series at long last spits out its last convoluted formula a week from Sunday, and then joins the tear-away jersey and the tie in the garbage bin of college football.
Fittingly, of course, as the BCS falls by the wayside, a new computer formula and a new acronym takes its place in the college football lexicon.
With the announcement of the 24-team field in the 2013 Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, the FCS was introduced formally for the first time with the SRS. Standing for Simple Rating System, the SRS is more a cousin of the RPI - which you'll see bracketologists reference every March - than the BCS. No human polls are taken into account, just numbers.
As the NCAA explains, SRS mostly measures strength-of-schedule (of both your own team and your opponents') and the manner in which a game was won, whether on the road, at home, or at a neutral site.
The NCAA maintains margin of victory and the timing of wins and losses are not factored into the equation, although that is a factor that clearly weighs heavily on the minds of the selection committee.
Among those sitting at home today without a playoff game to prepare for: SRS No. 16 Charleston Southern, No. 22 UT Martin, No. 24 Youngstown State, No. 26 Chattanooga and No. 28 Lehigh. Among those selected for at-large bids: SRS No. 21 Southern Utah, No. 24 Sam Houston State, No. 25 Samford, No. 29 New Hampshire.
As Craig Haley of the Sports Network points out, Charleston Southern dropped its final two games, UT Martin lost two of its final three, Youngstown State started 8-1 and finished 8-4, and Lehigh lost its de facto Patriot League title game to 4-6 Lafayette on the final day of the season.
Clearly, how you finish still matters.
Although, each of Southern Utah, Sam Houston State, Samford and New Hampshire lost at least one game in November as well.
Formulas are fun, aren't they?