NCAA Football

The Top 15 Games of the 2012 College Football Season

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The Top 15 Games of the 2012 College Football Season

College Football
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The college football season is nearly over, with only a few more bowl games left to be played. This is the time of the season where everything is on the line for the remaining schools.

The 2012 season brought us a number of exciting stories, a freshman winning the Heisman Trophy for the first time in the history of the award, NIU getting placed in a BCS bowl, upsets of the number one team in the land and more.

College football never disappoints. It promises excitement every season and never fails to deliver that excitement. This season, a number of teams provided explosive, hard hitting football, both early and late in the season, to help deliver this excitement.

In 2012 football fans across America saw a number of great games. UL Monroe showed early sleeper potential as it upset No. 8 Arkansas and nearly Auburn, WVU and Baylor lit up the scoreboards in Morgantown, shattering records in only the fourth week of the season, top teams struggled to avoid the upset and many other games were decided by a touchdown or less.

These are the games that will be remembered. These are the games where one fumble or one bad play call could be the difference between a national championship and a BCS bowl for the teams involved. These games are the games that keep fans on the edge of their seats, nibbling what’s left of their already gnawed off fingernails.

The result of these games are magnified, with the winners triumphantly rejoicing their hard fought victory, while the losers are left beaten, struggling to find motivation to continue onward.

Here are the best college football games of 2012.

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UL Monroe at No. 8 Arkansas (Sept 8, 2012)

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Right off the bat, tee if you want to be technical, in the first week of college football, UL Monroe created fireworks early, knocking off preseason number eight Arkansas.

The game went back and forth, UL Monroe jumped out to an early lead, forced a comeback and then ultimately won the game 34-31 in overtime.

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No. 25 Baylor at No. 9 West Virginia (Sept 29, 2012)

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In the first ever Big 12 game for WVU, it traded touchdowns with Baylor, setting a number of scoring records. Aside from the sheer display of offensive, this game went down to the wire as WVU outlasted Baylor 70-63.

WVU’s Geno Smith threw for 656 yards and eight touchdowns in the win, and Baylor’s quarterback, Nick Florence, threw for 581 and five touchdowns.

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UL Monroe at Auburn (Sept 15, 2012)

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John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

UL Monroe, fresh off of an upset win against number eight Arkansas, looked to ride its early season momentum into Auburn. The Warhawks nearly beat two SEC schools in consecutive weeks, but were stopped short against the Tigers 31-28.

Another game that very easily could have made this list was UL Monroe’s game against Baylor in the next week, where again, it almost pulled off an upset.

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No. 8 Stanford at Washington (Sept 27, 2012)

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Stanford went into Seattle looking for a routine win, but was less than happy with the result of the game.

Trailing 13-3 in the third quarter, the Huskies forced their way back into the game and upset the number eight team in the country.

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No. 12 Oklahoma at West Virginia (Nov 17, 2012)

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On a cold November night in Morgantown, WV, the Mountaineers looked to end a losing streak by upsetting the number 12 team in the country. Everything seemed normal at halftime, as the Sooners were up big 31-17. However, using receiver Tavon Austin as a tailback, the Mountaineers ran all over the Sooners, quickly closing in on the lead and ultimately taking a 43-38 lead. The two teams traded blows like Heavyweight prize fighters, answering each other’s scores until time ran out. OU survived 50-49. Perhaps the most noteworthy event though, was WVU kicker Tyler Bitancurt’s missed extra point in the third quarter.

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TCU at West Virginia (Nov 3, 2012)

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WVU is included yet again for its double overtime loss to TCU. This was another game that went back and forth many times near the end. TCU ultimately won the game in the second overtime, completing a pass on a two point conversion, instead of tying the game with an extra point.

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No. 1 Kansas State at Baylor (Nov 17, 2012)

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The scenarios played out perfectly for the Wildcats! Late in the season, an Alabama loss thrust the cats up into the number one spot in the country. All they need was to win the rest of their games to make the national championship.

In its first and only game in the number one spot, KSU lost big to a motivated Baylor team. This was simply a great effort by the Bears, allowing them to destroy KSU’s dream season.

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No. 13 Stanford at No. 2 Oregon (Nov 17, 2012)

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What are the odds that on the same weekend, the number one and number two teams both lose? Well, in 2012, it happened.

Stanford trailed 14-7 at the end of the third, but came back to win in overtime 17-14.

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No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Georgia (SEC Championship Dec 1, 2012)

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This was one of the greatest games I have ever seen. These two teams were about as evenly matched as possible and it took every second of game time to decide a winner. Georgia was very close to stealing Alabama’s spot in the national championship.

Georgia caught a pass, but was unable to snap another play before time ran out, leaving them yards short of a title. Alabama won 32-28.

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No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama (Nov 10, 2012)

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After nearly getting bit by LSU, the Tide rolled home ready to defend its number one ranking. Texas A&M led by Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, dethroned the kings of college football in an amazing comeback.

Up 20-0 at halftime, A&M seemed to have the game in control. Alabama then rallied back to lose 29-24.

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No. 1 Alabama at No. 5 LSU (Nov 3, 2012)

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Speaking of LSU and Alabama, how about the matchup between these two? Alabama was thought to be unbeatable until this game. While the Tide stepped up and got the job done, it showed others that the kings could be beaten.

Alabama led 14-3 at halftime, but the Tigers scored 14 unanswered points to jump to a 17-14 lead. Alabama eventually found a way to score again, and won the game 21-17.

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Pittsburgh at No. 3 Notre Dame (Nov 3, 2012)

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In one of the best games of the season, unranked Pitt came into South Bend looking to spoil Irish’s chance at a title, and it almost pulled it off.

Leading 20-6 in the fourth quarter, it looked like Pitt had pretty much sealed the deal. The Irish didn’t like that idea and forced three overtimes before winning 29-26.

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UL Lafayette at No. 6 Florida (Nov 10, 2012)

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UL Lafayette went into “The Swamp” and nearly beat the number six team in the country. The Ragin’ Cajuns held a slight lead in the fourth quarter 20-13. Florida scored a touchdown with 1:42 left in the game.

When the Ragin’ Cajuns were forced to punt with two seconds remaining on the clock, Florida blocked it and returned it for a touchdown to win the game.

There is no greater way to see close game end.

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No. 21 Northern Illinois vs. No. 17 Kent State (MAC Championship Nov 30, 2012)

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

With all the marbles on the table and only a win away from the MAC title, NIU looked to take care of Kent State.

The game went back and forth throughout, and as Rasheed Wallace would say, both teams played hard, my man. It was even throughout. Everything KSU did, NIU answered and vice versa.

It took two overtimes to settle the score, but NIU pulled away and won 44-37. The Huskies’ season got even better when it found out it was heading to the Orange Bowl.

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No. 17 Stanford at No. 7 Notre Dame (Oct 13, 2012)

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In another overtime thriller, Stanford nearly knocked Notre Dame out of national championship contention.

Stanford forced Notre Dame to overcome a two possession lead at half time and took the game to overtime where the Irish scored to win the game 20-13.