The holiday season is a time during every year that leaves many a college football fan with mixed emotions. On the one hand, there is the joy of spending time with family and friends. We give thanks for the good, spread Christmas cheer, and ring in another turn of the calendar.
On the other hand, we think fondly of another passing football season, mourn our team’s losses, and come to the realization that two-a-day practice is eight months away.
Alas, we still have bowl games and BCS banter for a few more weeks, so we share now some memorable moments from the season that was 2008 in college football.
10. Alabama opening the season by thrashing Clemson, a sign of things to come for both teams.
9. Rick Neuheisel making his debut at UCLA with a stunning upset over Tennessee.
8. Charlie Weis sustaining a terrible knee injury as he is run into on the sideline by one of his own players.
7. A defiant Joe Paterno and surprisingly good Penn State team, making the football world take note that good coaching is truly timeless.
6. Rich Rodriguez throwing University officials, alumni, coaches, and players under the bus, bemoaning a horrible start to his Michigan football coaching career.
5. Tommy Bowden resigning as Clemson’s head coach in midseason—yet another sign of the times and of things to come for college football
4. A thrilling Red River Shootout (I will never say “rivalry”) in which Texas prevails over Oklahoma, our first sign of trouble for the Big XII and the BCS.
3. The uniforms worn by Army in the 109th Army-Navy Game: camouflage pants, helmets with black jerseys sporting the same camo pattern.
a. The realization that our nation is still at war in two countries
b. The sobering thought that many of the young Americans in this contest will voluntarily place themselves in harm's way just a few months from now.
2. The gaudy offensive numbers put up by Big XII Teams, a precursor to the madness that is the BCS. Quite possible that arguably the best team in the country did not win their own conference.
1. Florida and Alabama treating all fans of college football to a game that is an instant classic. Makes us wonder if Tebow wears a cape under his uniform.
The departure of several prominent coaches (Bowden, Tuberville, Fulmer, Willingham, Croom), combined with a mixed bag of success for coaches in their first year at a program, are moments to remember. Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno furthered their legacies in a sport that is dominated by youth, but not defined by it.
Our nation elected a Black man to the office of President, yet college football takes a step backwards socially as three of the five black coaches in the FBS resign or are terminated.
No matter who you cheer for, or what part of the country you live in, or what your thoughts on the BCS are, no matter the outcome of the remaining games, the 2008 college football season will be memorable for all.