By the time Conrad Ukropina's game-winning field goal split the uprights Saturday night, a season's worth of playoff-projections had been blows wide open, setting up a truly unpredictable finish to what has already been a season for the ages.
And, it appears, Notre Dame will be left out.
On a weekend that featured marquee top-25 match-ups across the nation, it was Saturday night's tilt in Palo Alto between Stanford and Notre Dame that carried the most weight.
And, after Notre Dame took a one-point lead with :30 seconds remaining, it appeared the Irish were locked into a playoff spot.
As it turns out, despite the ominous feeling presiding over the stadium, the Cardinal weren't ready to concede their faint playoff hopes.
"We truly thought that we were one of the best teams in the country," Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer said. "The goal was to make it in the playoffs. We know that that opportunity has kind of fallen away."
With the win, Stanford (10-2), who entered the night 9th in the latest playoff standings, not only kept the flicker alive for themselves, but they knocked out one of their biggest rivals in the process.
"We're two plays away from being undefeated and being the No. 1 team in the country," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. "One play at Clemson and one play here at Stanford."
Alas, after falling short in one of the most dramatic, emotional games of the college football season, the Irish will watching the playoffs just like you and me -- at home.
It was a wild, impactful weekend across the country...
(4) Iowa 28 Nebraska 20
Face it: It would have been the most Mike Riley-esque of wins had the Cornhuskers pulled this one off.
Nebraska (5-7) had a chance to make Colin Cowherd's dreams come true, and knock undefeated Iowa (12-0) out of the playoff picture.
Instead, their quarterback, Tommy Armstrong, decided it was better to throw four picks, and stay home for the bowl season.
"We're not trying to be pretty, we're trying to be productive," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "Football's not gymnastics. There are style points in gymnastics. Here it's having one point more than your opponent. We're 12-0. You can't do better than that."
He's right about that -- Iowa is not pretty; they are not flashy; and, yes, they are 12-0 -- one of just two teams, along with Clemson, who can make that claim.
Their prize? A date next weekend with Michigan State in the Big 10 title game, in a de facto playoff game.
They'll need to play their best game of the season in order to make their dreams come true. Against the Cornhuskers, the Hawkeyes managed just 250 yards of offense, went 0-for-9 on third downs, and needed a defensive touchdown to walk out of Lincoln with the win.
"You want to win every game, that's your goal," Ferentz said. "We find ourselves in a good position today. But we've been trying to get there for 17 years."
Now, they're just three wins away from the ultimate prize. It hasn't been pretty, just effective.
(3) Oklahoma 58 (11) Oklahoma State 23
Bedlam, it wasn't.
Beatdown, it was.
In one of the biggest home games in school history, Oklahoma State -- with an outside shot at a playoff spot -- laid an egg against their biggest rivals Saturday night.
In the process, they all but laid out the carpet for Oklahoma to reach the playoffs.
"There's a lot of tension in the air," Oklahoma cornerback Jordan Thomas, who intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown, said. "Obviously, this game -- we don't need anyone to tell us it's a big game. We don't need anyone to tell us that it's a game we have to play our hearts out in. But this one? I could tell. I knew our guys were ready and I knew what we were playing for."
With the Big 12 devoid of a championship game, these two battled it out on the frozen turf of Stillwater, with conference supremacy on the line. That was the plan, at least.
A 30-point second quarter from the Sooners put any drama to rest.
Oklahoma, the most efficient rushing team in the country, racked up 344 yards on the ground, sucking the air out of the raucous, freezing home crowd, notching perhaps the biggest win for head coach Bob Stoops since the national championship in 2000.
(19) TCU 28 (7) Baylor 21
With three combined losses entering Friday's game, TCU-Baylor had lost much of the steam that was predicted when the season started.
After two overtimes, TCU had spoiled their rivals season, salvaging what was left of their disastrous November.
Through heavy downpours, sloppy play and fierce, nasty defenses, TCU -- who's season was sidetracked by an unprecedented amount of injuries -- put an end to any hopes Baylor had of sneaking into on of the four playoff spots.
Unlike so many of their previous games, the offenses for both teams was non-existent. Deadlocked at 14 entering the half, they would head to the first overtime with the same score: neither team scored a point in the second half.
Both teams entered the game averaging over 41 points per game.
On a Thanksgiving weekend that featured two meaningless, blowout NFL games, college football took their time in the spotlight to heart.
Ohio State, a week after a disheartening home loss to Michigan State, went on the road and boat raced their arch rivals, Michigan, 42-13.
USC clinched the Pac-12 South division, beating UCLA for the first time in four years.
Clemson finished off their perfect regular season, setting up a match-up with North Carolina in the ACC championship game.
And Alabama took care of Auburn in the Iron Bowl, setting up their SEC championship game with Florida.
With one week left, there's still so much to be decided as it pertains to the playoffs. Can Stanford inch their way up enough, even with two losses, to grab a spot? Who will come out of the Big 10, Michigan State or Iowa? Oklahoma, seems a shoe-in ... but we said that about TCU year. Will the Sooners, sitting at home next week, remain on the minds of the committee?
It's been a wild, gut-wrecking, unpredictable season. Now, there's just a handful of games left. The regular season is done. Let the jockeying begin.