Remember the other day when we were counting down the weeks until college football kicked off? Then we woke up today and realized there will be no SEC football on this Saturday.
What happened? Where did the season go? Did it really happen.
I have the high blood pressure and broken TV remotes strewn about the house to prove a season took place, but I'm still in denial that Alabama's season is all over save for the BCS Championship Game that kicks off in Miami sometime after the Daytona 500 and before the A-Day Spring Game.
I guess it could be worse. I could be an Auburn or Tennessee fan trying to get excited about new coaches that pretend they weren't the third or fourth choice.
As fast as the 2012 season came and went, we still experienced a heck of a lot of great plays, games, and individual performances. Let's take a step back and reminisce about the season that was.
Game of the Year
Alabama 32 vs. Georgia 28 - December 1, 2012 - SEC Championship Game - Atlanta - Georgia Dome
There were some great candidates that finished a close 2nd place or 1a and 1b (Alabama-LSU, Texas A&M-Alabama, Georgia-Florida), but this one wins the tiebreaker because there was so much on the line on the grandest stage in college football. Players and coaches that have played in both the BCS Championship Game and the SEC Championship Game say that the annual title game played in Atlanta is bigger than the game to decide the BCS champion.
This game saw six lead changes and one tie and was not decided until the final play. It's funny how close the Bulldogs could have come to winning last year's title game versus LSU had Aaron Murray's receivers not dropped perfect pass after perfect pass in the first half. Fast forward a year. On the biggest play of Murray's career when all he needed was a receiver to drop a pass to stop the clock. Instead, his receiver, Chris Conley, hauled in the C.J. Mosley tipped pass at the Alabama 5-yard line and fell down inbounds with no timeouts and five seconds remaining on the clock.
You could almost hear every Georgia fan (that hadn't left after the interception that wasn't four plays earlier) say in unison, "Now, they catch the pass."
With the win, Alabama earned the right to play Notre Dame in Miami on January 7th for a chance to win the 'Tide's third national title in four years.
With the loss, Georgia will have to live with the fact that they were five yards away from getting the opportunity to win their first national championship since Herschel Walker was (MY GOD,) a freshman in 1980. Falling five yards shy from Miami somehow landed Georgia 235 miles away in the Capital One Bowl.
[caption id="attachment_929" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Muschamp got the better of Sumlin at the end of this day, but Sumlin gets the nod over Willy for coach of the year in the Chat Sports 2012 SEC Football Review."][/caption]
Coach of the Year
Kevin Sumlin - Texas A&M
Many folks are splitting this award between Sumlin and Florida's Will Muschamp. The tiebreaker used here is Kevin Sumlin won 10 games at Texas A&M in his first season at A&M in A&M's first season as a member of the SEC. If that's not enough, A&M was placed in the best division in college football (SEC West) and somehow found a way (or a player named Johnny Manziel) to win 10 games. Since Muschamp is in year two, he has to settle for silver medal.
Player of the Year
Johnny Manziel - Texas A&M
The guy won the Heisman. Pretty easy decision.
Surprise Player of the Year
Johnny Manziel - Texas A&M
How did you pronounce Manziel before November? Exactly. This guy was like Cam Newton at Auburn where he seemed to barely win the starting job at quarterback only to dominate the best defenses in the SEC the entire season on the way to the Heisman Trophy. Weird.
TRUE Freshman of the Year
TJ Yeldon - Alabama
Notice the word TRUE in the title of the award. Johnny Football was a freshman this season, but he's a redshirt freshman. He's had an entire year to learn the college game before ever stepping foot on the field in a live game situation.
Yeldon was amazing from the first handoff he took in the Michigan game to the 3rd-and-5 fourth quarter run for a first down in the SEC Championship Game on the play before AJ McCarron hit Amari Cooper for the winning 45-yard touchdown pass.
Dud of the Year
Wow. Everything A&M did in their first season in the SEC, Missouri did the complete opposite. James Franklin looked like Johnny Football in 2011 and appeared primed to showcase his talents against top-notch SEC defenses. Instead, he spent much of the season injured and on the sideline as lesser quarterbacks showed how valueable Franklin was to the team.
Mississippi State can thank Missouri's awful start and finish for keeping the Bulldogs from becoming a repeat winner of this award. State's finish was reason enough to award them this trophy, but Missouri stunk the entire season, so they get the dud honors.
Congrats to you, Mizzou.
Play of the Year
Every Play Johnny Manziel Touched the Ball Versus Alabama
Thanks to Stanford and Baylor, Alabama fans can look back at this game and not throw up in their mouth. Johnny Football made play after play and Alabama still nearly came back and earned the victory. A&M went on to win the game and the bond between Alabama and A&M became even stronger. Alabama is as responsible for Manziel winning the Heisman as Johnny Football himself and A&M gave this young 'Tide team new focus. Alabama fans can now look at Johnny Football and gaze in awe guilt-free.
Congrats to (most of) this year's award winners. Can't wait for this Spring/Summer so I can preview the upcoming season way too early.
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