The 2012 college football season is now in the books, and it left us with many memorable moments. Ten of those stand out as memories that will never fade.
The season gave us more No. 1’s than you can count, a freshman Heisman winner and the return of the Fighting Irish to the top of the college football food chain. There was a lot of quality football, and some surprising teams made dents where they were not expected.
College football will have a tough time producing a better show than the 2012 season. Here is a look back at 10 situations we're likely to miss.
Between the BCS, USA Today Coaches’ Poll and the Associated Press Top 25, there were six No. 1’s this past season. Alabama jumped into the No. 1 spot during the second week of the season and finished there after a roller-coaster year.
Kansas State, USC, Oregon, LSU and Notre Dame were all No. 1 at one point in the polls. Both Kansas State and Oregon attained the top spot and fell on the same weekend.
It was a wild ride back to the top for the Crimson Tide by season's end. Alabama faced the last undefeated team standing in the BCS National Championship Game, handily trouncing the Fighting Irish.
The way this season rolled was by far the craziest in recent memory.
2012 was the year of the freshman. A number of teams relied on freshmen impact players to find success. The most famous of them all was Johnny Manziel.
Manziel was a stud in 2012, blasting records in the SEC and becoming the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. It was a strong year for the signal-caller from Texas A&M, a performance that will stick with college football fans for years.
Other major freshmen impact players were Amari Cooper and T.J. Yeldon of Alabama, Stefon Diggs at Maryland and Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall of Georgia.
Other true freshmen made major waves across the country. From offensive linemen to defensive backs, this was the year of the freshman.
A strong Notre Dame team is good for college football.
Yeah, I said it.
The Irish may not be everyone's favorite, but Notre Dame on top of the college football world makes things seem right. And watching a traditional power return to prominence is fun to see.
Everyone loves the underdog, but in the end, the ratings favor the big boys.
Notre Dame’s luck ran out on January 7 when it hit the brick wall called the Crimson Tide, but it was still a good run and a nice return of old-school football.
The SEC West produced the national champion for the fourth season in a row this year, but the real story of the division was the rise of the Aggies.
Texas A&M blasted onto the scene on the back of Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and his layers of talented skill players. Head coach Kevin Sumlin took over the program for the 2012 season and made much bigger waves than anticipated.
The Aggies are for real, finishing the season 11-2, and next fall they return every major stat leader on offense. It should be a strong 2013, but Manziel's freshman start and Sumlin's coaching triumph will make the 2012 season more memorable.
The No. 21 Louisville Cardinals pulled out a major BCS blowout win when it took No. 3 Florida to the woodshed in the Sugar Bowl. The game finished 33-23, but it could have been far worse for the Gators.
Louisville appeared to pull the throttle back at the end, making the game closer on the scoreboard than it appeared on the field.
2012 was an up-and-down year for the Cardinals as they lost games they should have won, but they owned their season when it mattered.
Beating the SEC power Florida Gators was huge for this team. Charlie Strong got a BCS win, and he has this Louisville squad headed in the right direction.
When the camera crew found Katherine Webb in the crowd at the BCS National Championship Game, Brent Musburger's awkward commentary finally hit John Madden levels.
Katherine Webb is the girlfriend of Alabama starting quarterback AJ McCarron, and as the video indicates, Musburger is quite taken by her. He is also irritated that he didn’t play quarterback.
This was one of the funniest moments Musburger gave us this season. As the years go on, he will only get better. You have to love classic, old-school commentary.
If you are an underdog fan, you've got to love what happened with the Mid-American Conference this past season. The MAC came into its own in 2012, with several teams making national headlines and scoring lots of underdog love.
The craze surrounding the rise of Kent State and Northern Illinois got so popular that in November CBSSports.com reported the MAC had applied to trademark #MACtion. That’s when you know things are on the upswing.
Will the country continue to love the MAC in 2013?
It depends upon success.
The conference will have to keep winning games and eventually win one on the big stage. In its favor, the MAC has a lot of returning talent and could repeat as the underdogs of the year in 2013.
When uniforms change, feedback follows. Although they often bring criticism, the changes are typically pretty good.
Army and Navy wore special uniform sets during the Army vs. Navy game this year, to nothing but good reviews. Navy wore its special uniforms during its bowl game as well.
Fashion-conscious Oregon brought us more changes, and Michigan launched a new look for its bowl game. It was a solid year for alternate uniforms, hopefully a trend that will continue.
The bowl-game brackets are something that I look forward to every season. Nothing says fun like 35 picks for games that you had forgotten were added to the bowl lineup.
The bowl picks have become "December Madness" for college football fans. Obviously college football felt left out of the tournament pool game, so along came the bowl-picks extravaganza. Whether it's for fun or a few bucks, the bowl-picks games have changed the way college football fans watch.
Now we pay attention to who is playing on December 21, and the entire bowl season matters again.
College football is the best part of every year. It brings a nice end to summer and rings in the holidays, and the game is always evolving.
New offensive looks based off old schemes pop up nearly every season, producing amazing offensive and defensive results.
The best part of the fall is ESPN's College GameDay Saturday. The recruiting chat, tailgating, traditions and relationships turn small towns into major metropolitan areas overnight.
GameDay is the best part of the fall, and every year it becomes the most missed piece of the season.