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College football…I Miss it Already

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There are 225 days are left until the 2013 College football season officially kicks off. Fans and students across the country are already licking their chops after 2012. This season delivered so much to followers of the game, especially in this part of the country. We were treated to an up-and-down roller coaster ride full of shocking upsets (Remember Kansas State vs. Baylor?) as well as a plethora of quality matchups that lived up to their hype and delivered some heart-stopping moments (The SEC championship). Yes, there are a number of different ways to different ways to describe what kind of year this was for college football.

This was a season of establishment.

Alabama captured their third national championship in as many as four years after putting a 42-14 shellacking to undefeated Notre Dame who was having a fairy tale season that didn’t end so happily ever after. The same cannot be said about Alabama coach Nick Saban, whose Crimson Tide look like they have many more happily ever afters to come in the near future. This was the fourth occasion that Saban has lifted the coveted crystal ball, tieing him with legendary coaches Frank Leahy and Robert Neyland, and establishing himself in elite company and making the case that he might be the greatest coach of the modern day BCS era.

This was a season of promise.

The Heisman race seemed bogged with mystery until week 10 when Alabama was bested by Texas A&M and a six foot one inch freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, legendarily dubbed “Johnny Football”. If you haven’t seen Manziel’s numbers, they are staggering. He managed over 5,000 all-purpose yards (3706 passing and 1410 rushing) and 47 all-purpose touchdowns, as well as completing 68% of his passes. These numbers were good enough to surpass past SEC Heisman winners Tim Tebow and Cam Newton for all purpose yards within the conference during their respective Heisman campaigns. After knocking off then number one Alabama, it became pretty clear that Manziel was going to run away with the voting.

Oh, and have I mentioned he’s a freshman? That means we will get to see the legend of Johnny Football grow even more over the next few years. After what many have seen, his future looks promising.

This was a season of revival.

After what had seemed like the most grueling of offseason for Penn State, the Nittany Lions finished with an 8-4 record, including a 6-2 conference record. Some may not view this as a big deal, but after all the evil that has occurred within that institution regarding Jerry Sandusky over the years and all the sanctions that the program will face, it was nice to see that their fans were able to stick with them through these trying times.

Bill O’Brien deserves all the praise in the world for staying loyal to the Nittany Lions as well. He was offered a number of different coaching positions at the highest level, but turned them down to stay and help revive the program from the aftermath of such a horrendous scandal.

This was a season of rebuilding.

Finally, we get to our Troy Trojans, who finished the 5-7 with a 3-5 Sunbelt record and stumbled to just one win shy of being bowl-eligible, as well as almost pulling off wins over Mississippi State and Tennessee. Trojan fans, do not be discouraged by this season. Yes, we fell flat on our faces a few times when it mattered most, and maybe we are far from another five-year sweep of Sunbelt conference championships, but such a feat even at this level is staggering and maybe not be repeated in our lifetime. Troy has a lot to look forward to this upcoming year though, with the return of dual-threat Deon Anthony, who played at a consistently high level throughout the year, as well as the hiring of defensive guru Wayne Bolt, there is much to look forward to this upcoming year if you’re a Trojan fan or any fan of any college football team for that matter.

After all, there’s only 225 days left.

Better mark your calendars, I know I have.

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