But sometimes, the SEC really was that good.

Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel enlivened our souls, Alabama and Georgia played the best SEC Championship Game in recent memory, the SEC got another National Championship entrant (and favorite!), there were crazy atmospheres in Death Valley, Williams-Brice and The Swamp, and Will Muschamp did wonders at Florida. And Les Miles offered to kiss you on the lips. Which is pretty awesome.

The song: Nelly’s “The Champ”…

10. College Gameday, College Gameday, College Gameday

Talk about a recruitment tool. ESPN College Gameday could have just lived on our campuses after the amount of exposure it gave to the conference with the best preview show in sports. Not only was there Alabama-Michigan, but also Chris Fowler and friends went to South Carolina, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Florida, LSU, and the SEC Championship Game. That’s pretty amazing, if you think about it. And all the crowds not only behaved brilliantly, but were raucous throughout. Moment of the year? Brian Kelly getting booed by the SEC Championship Crowd!! Free Boosie!!!

9. The Best SEC Championship Game. Ever.

At the end of the season when the naysayers are saying you’re overrated, sometimes you need to show ’em how damned good the conference is. Alabama and Georgia was the best college football game of the year, let alone in the SEC. After 60 minutes, Georgia was just five yards away from making it to Miami and redemption. This was incredible. And we also got to see Mark Richt get mad at the reporters – at last! If you haven’t seen the game, watch it. It’s worth DVRing for post-January, when there’s nothing to do and you hate basketball.

8. Jadeveon Clowney or Jarvis Jones: Take your pick.

Jadeveon Clowney and Jarvis Jones were HANDS-DOWN the best defenders in the SEC this year. If there was a pair of players more dominant in college football, then please let us know. Jones dominated the biggest game of Georgia’s game against Florida, while Clowney dominated….all season again. The crowning moment has to be Clowney’s game-saving sack of Tyler Bray and force fumble in the emotional end of the game against Tennessee. Although Jarvis Jones’ strip of Jordan Reed comes close.

7. Ole Miss, er, Rises Again.

Using words like ‘Rise Again’ around Oxford, MS is probably not the way to go, but we’re not talking about a bunch of racists, we’re talking about Ole Miss’ football team, which went from a no-win SEC season to a bowl season, which included beating the living Reb out of Mississippi State in the process. And you know what? Ole Miss could have been even better this year. They were beaten on THREE game-ending drives (LSU, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt), although they managed to get one back (game-ending field goal against Arkansas). With Bo Wallace as the QB, this could be fun!

6. The Boys From Ole Florida

Before the season, we thought Florida would be the third – or even maybe the fourth- best team in the SEC East. Yes, they’d make a bowl game, but that was about. And despite having an offense that was offensive to watch (and not in a good way), Florida’s defense was absolutely dominant (see South Carolina for details), and only a Jordan Reed fumble away from the SEC Championship Game. Jeff Driskel will assure us that UF’s offense is going to be a lot better in 2013, while Mike Gillislee is going to be fun to watch in the pros. Especially if he can be as heroic as he was in 2012 for the Gators. Enjoy the Sugar Bowl.

5. Texas A&M and Missouri, Welcome To The Show

2012 was the year that we welcomed the Tigers and the Aggies to the SEC with love in our hearts and two new places to go tailgating to in our minds. Although Missouri struggled, thanks to an undersized offensive line that couldn’t deal with SEC pass rushing, Texas A&M prospered, pulling off one of the coups of the year beating Alabama….on the road. And some guy called Johnny Manziel got the Heisman.

4. Alabama & The Crystal Ball

LSU should have beaten them. Georgia got five yards away from beating them. But it didn’t happen. Nick Saban’s team is fired up, and on the way to Miami to play Notre Dame for it all. Although it might be argued that Florida probably had a better resume as a one-loss team, Alabama won the title and so that’s that. Nick Saban’s program just keeps on getting better and better, and this can only be frightening for the rest of college football.

3. Les Miles Loves You!

He implores you to kiss someone on the mouth. And remember, Death Valley’s where dreams come home to die. Unless you’re, er, LSU against Alabama. Miles went through the season frustratingly, amusingly, and awesomely. Les Miles: We love you. Even if a lot of LSU fans don’t.

2. The Usual Incredible Atmosphere

Williams-Brice, South Carolina for the Georgia game. Neyland Stadium, Tennessee for the game against Florida. Death Valley, LSU for the Alabama game. The Swamp, Florida for the LSU game. The Cocktail Party. Every game at Texas A&M and it’s nutty 12th man and traditions. The SEC Championship Game. Incredible atmospheres. THIS is why we love the SEC.

1. Johnny Heisman

We would talk a lot about how wonderful Johnny Manziel is. We could talk about the mazy runs, the great arms, the leadership, the Heisman. We could talk about how he made every lineman he played against look stupid, and maybe even a little insecure. Instead, shut us up and play this link, will you?

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