Mike Slive stood at the 35-yard line engulfed by the red and white confetti that rained down from the skies onto the field at Sun Life Stadium.
It was the seventh straight season that a team from the Southeastern Conference captured the national title, an impressive streak that wasn't lost on Slive, who is wrapping up his 10th season as the SEC commissioner.
"It's an extraordinary record and everybody talks about how records are made to be broken, but I really can't conceive of anyone doing this again," Slive said.
Once again the SEC showed its dominance on the national stage, putting an exclamation point on another spectacular college football season.
While some — me included — believed the league's incredible run of success had to end soon, that was the furthest thing from the truth.
Even the league's expansion paid off huge dividends as Texas A&M quickly earned national attention thanks to the play of quarterback Johnny Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and the third winner in the past four seasons from the SEC.
Hard to imagine the year started with the precipice of creating a new postseason model looming over college football. Slive and his fellow commissioners gathered together and created what would eventually become a four-team playoff system which would replace the expiring BCS model in 2014-15.
With billions of dollars in possible revenue from this new system, the landscape continued to shift and change as conference realignment took on a fevered pitch with schools looking to score bigger paydays and better national standing.
Rivalries and fan bases were thrown aside as several schools jumped from conference to conference in college football's own version of "Lord of the Flies"
Take the Big East, for instance, which started the year with 16 members and grew to as many as 21 future additions and now looks to wind up with 10 members. You need a scorecard just to keep up.
While attentions were focused on the future of the sport, it was the past that drew our focus this summer when Penn State was hit with massive sanctions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Despite an exodus of talented players, the Nittany Lions were able to win eight games under first-year head coach Bill O'Brien.
Ohio State fans were left playing the "what if" card when looking back at an undefeated season under first-year coach Urban Meyer. Too bad the Buckeyes were saddled with a postseason ban by the NCAA.
Meyer's former team, the Florida Gators, went from a disappointing 7-6 season in 2011 to an 11-win mark in 2012, earning them a spot in New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl.
Through it all, fans were treated to another spectacular season of college football. It's just too bad we have to wait 225-plus days until next season.
Looking ahead to 2013
Now that the 2012 college football season is in the books, it seems like a great time to turn our attentions toward the 2013 season. With that thought in mind, I've compiled a very, very early top 25 preseason poll which you can find on OrlandoSentinel.com/collegegridiron.
Odds for next season
Speaking of next season, the odds makers at Bovada.lv have put together their early odds to win the 2013-14 national championship. To no surprise, Alabama is the early favorite at 5-to-1 odds with Oregon (8/1), Ohio State (17/2), LSU (12/1) and Texas A&M (12/1) rounding out the top five. Florida and Florida State both came in at 14-to-1 odds. USF was at 300-to-1 odds.
Kelly to stick at Notre Dame
It's been a rough week for the Notre Dame faithful. It started with Monday's disastrous 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game, a game where the Fighting Irish looked overmatched in every facet of the game. It was followed by head coach Brian Kelly's flirtations with the NFL, which ended Saturday night with the third-year Irish coach confirming that he was staying put at Notre Dame. "This decision was motivated purely by my love for Notre Dame and the entire Fighting Irish community, the young men I have the great fortune to coach, and my desire to continue to build the best football program in the country," Kelly said in a statement released by the school. Kelly's departure would have come as a major blow for a Notre Dame football program which spent decades in college football irrelevance and was just now finding its way back into the collective conscious of football fans.
Bowl ratings from ESPN
More than 15 million people tuned in to watch the five BCS bowl games this season, up 7 percent from last season according to numbers released by ESPN. The five games drew an average household rating of 10.1, which was up 4 percent from last season. Despite being a blowout, the BCS National Championship Game was the second most-viewed and second highest-rated program in cable television history with the game averaging a little more than 26 million viewers and drawing a 15.1 rating.
For the 12th straight season, Birmingham, Ala., was the top rated college football television market with a 8.9 season average. Jacksonville (3.6) was fifth with Orlando (2.2) tied for 17th, Tampa/St. Pete (2.1) market tied for 20th and West Palm Beach (2.0) tied for 22nd.
On the Web
For more college football news, head over to our blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/collegegridiron or you can like us at Facebook.com/collegegridiron 365 and add me on Google +. Follow us on Twitter at @osmattmurschel and @gridiron365.