Jan. 8 -- I'll never forget a crushed Mack Brown in the Rose Bowl hallway leading to the Texas lockerroom after losing to Alabama. I ask him, "Would Colt [McCoy] have made a difference?" Mack: "It wouldn't have been close."
Jan. 9 -- God, it's sunny outside in Newport Beach and God I want to be out on the golf course but while working on the national championship game folo, I find out South Florida's Jim Leavitt has been fired and Pete Carroll is leaving for the Seahawks. So much for golf. A hectic 2010 officially kicks off.
Feb. 1 -- What's so special about Cretin-Derham Hall High in St. Paul, Minn. No. 1 recruit Seantrel Henderson? A lot. But the kid's nationally televised commitment to USC turns out to be a mockery of the system.
Feb. 26 -- While the NCAA ponders making sickle-cell trait testing mandatory, another player dies of the affliction.
March 10 -- An all-access embedment with Baylor basketball during the Big 12 basketball tournament begins with the suggestion that Scott Drew might be the most despised coach in the conference.
March 12 -- I'm surprised to see that Baylor's pregame is as much religion as it is basketball.
Mid-March -- During a first-round trip to San Jose for the NCAA Tournament I inquire about talking to quarterback Andrew Luck at nearby Stanford. I'm told he's busy with finals. Luck will later live up to the hype on the field too.
March 17 -- Before Butler bounces a ball in the NCAA Tournament I was there to chronicle what was then a stepping-stone job.
March 25 -- You know him as Ali Farokhmanesh, the all-Missouri Valley honorable mention who took out Kansas. His teammates know him as "Stroke".
March 28 -- Yes, Magic Johnson deserves to celebrate a Final Four berth with Michigan State.
April 6 -- That was the best coach of all time you saw win the national championship.
April 11 -- Even if the venue stunk, the Frozen Four was great again even if the fans of a team not involved in the championship game made the most noise.
May -- Jack Dodd and dad took in a three-game Cardinals-Padres series in San Diego. Ate fish tacos and made friends of ushers who openly root for Pads, leading one sarcastic Dodger fan to shoot back, "Let's go, sta-aff!! (clap-clap, clap-clap-clap)."
Also in May -- Haley Dodd graduates from high school, commits to the University of Missouri.
June 1 -- Big 12 spring meetings begin in Kansas City with all hell breaking loose.
June 3 -- Big 12 schools are so spooked by impending conference realignment that an ultimatum is issued: Declare loyalty or else. Nebraska won't commit, having been in talks with Big Ten since January.
June 9 -- Colorado announces it is joining the Pac-10.
June 11 -- Nebraska trashes Texas on the way to announcing its departure for the Big Ten in 2011. The Longhorns take their worst beating in seven years.
June 12-15 -- Texas re-commits to the Big 12 after a failed raid by the Pac-10 to take six Big 12 teams. The crucial hours come on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13 when Fox Regional and ESPN essentially decide it is in their best interests to make a financial commitment to a 10-team Big 12 rather than lose an entire BCS conference. If the Big 12 had gone away, the new Pac-12 could have, and still might, go out to bid leaving one or both (Fox, ESPN) from losing another BCS property.
A portion of the remaining Big 12 have nots (Missouri, Iowa State, etc.) agree that Texas should get an increased share of conference revenue just because it's Texas. There is no Big 12 with it. The Horns spend the rest of the year establishing its own network, reportedly with ESPN for $15 million per year.
June 16 -- Troy is burned to the ground.
Mid- June -- Went on a Mexican cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Smoked a Cuban cigar, body surfed, watched World Cup soccer at 7 in the morning and enjoyed a seal show -- in the pool where my son and I were swimming! Mexican health laws are a little bit different than ours.
July 21 -- Nick Saban goes there with the p-word.
July 27 -- Tom Tuberville finds out he could retroactively win the 2004 national championship.
August -- Jack begins practice for CYO seventh-grade football. No two-a-days, more like two-a-weeks.
August 15 -- Haley moves into her University of Missouri dorm 30 years after her dad moved out of Columbia. Yes, a few sentimental tears were shed.
August 27 -- It's the Year of the Comeback.
August-September -- North Carolina football is ripped apart by an agent scandal than resulted in mass suspensions, an NCAA investigation and resignation of assistant coach John Blake.
September 7 -- Boise State launches itself into a season-long national conversation with a 33-30 win over Virginia Tech.
October -- Through a series of stories and spectacular performances we are introduced to this juco quarterback at Auburn. What's his name? Oh yeah, Cam Newton. We will learn more. Much more.
October 9 -- It's officially a national race again as defending national champ Alabama loses to South Carolina.
Also, I enjoy being a Kappa Kappa Gamma dad during the sorority's Dad's Weekend at Missouri. After tailgating, Haley and I watch Mizzou beat Colorado 26-0.
October 12 -- Turns out, South Carolina's win was a bigger deal than we thought. The Gamecocks become only the 45th team ever (in wire service era) to a beat a No. 1 team.
October 16 -- Wisconsin beats No. 1 Ohio State with something called the forward pass.
October 24 -- How crazy has the season gotten? The day before the game, Janet Dodd hits the Worldwide Interweb and somehow gets her husband a hotel room within walking distance of Faurot Field on homecoming weekend. Then People Magazine's "Sexiest Dad Alive" figures into Missouri's 36-27 defeat of BCS No. 1 Oklahoma.
October 31 -- Texas is well on its way to becoming the biggest disappointment of 2010.
Also in October -- Ascension beats CYO diocese power Cure of Ars for its only win of the season. Jack is proud. Dad is prouder.
November 4 -- Story breaks of Cam Newton's dad soliciting $180,000 from Mississippi State.
November 6 -- Matt Hayes of the Sporting News and I get trapped in the LSU postgame celebration after an amazing win over Alabama. We get a behind-the-scenes look at the LSU's coach's "Lesticles."
November 12 -- Why not go wall-to-wall on the scene with Cam Newton? With this ...
November 13 -- And this ...
November 23 -- And this ...
November 26 -- On the day after Thanksgiving, Auburn and Alabama play one of the best Iron Bowls ever and Boise State's Kyle Brotzman misses two chip shots against Nevada. Afterward, neither Cam Newton nor Brotzman are talking. For different reasons, of course.
Non-BCS story of the year: While covering that Boise-Nevada game on a bitterly cold night in Reno, a window in the press box has to be cracked so the clock crew "can hear the whistle." We're not exactly in Columbus, folks. Haven't heard a line like that since the Class 4-A state title game in 1984.
November 27 -- Miami's Randy Shannon is fired after an uninspired loss to South Florida. Jon Gruden gets his name in the search, as he always does, but in the first major hire of his career, AD Kirby Hocutt eventually picks Temple's Al Golden.
December 1 -- The best guy to talk about Kyle Brotzman's disappointment happens to be Boise resident and fan Bill Buckner.
December 1 -- Cam Newton is declared eligible to play in the SEC championship game because he didn't know his father had sought $180,000 for his services at Mississippi State. Hilarity ensues. Commissioners go nuclear.
December 4 -- Oregon beats Oregon State and Auburn beats South Carolina (again) to clinch BCS title game berths. Both schools are first timers in a BCS system than has seen only 14 teams play for the national championship since 1998.
December 5 -- Told you it was the Year of the Comeback.
December 6 -- Yes, we came this close to the end of the BCS.
December 8 -- When Tim Tebow left Florida, that made it a lot easier for Urban Meyer to resign. This time it stuck.
December 9 -- The nation's top rusher is a good guy. Really.
December 11 -- While in New York for the Heisman, a short, middle-aged man listening to his IPod strikes up a conversation with me on the elevator. Hello, Donny Osmond.
December 19 -- Jack and dad enjoy the Chiefs and Rams in St. Louis during Christmas break. It's nice watching a game without a deadline to meet or a petulant coach to question. It's even better doing it with my wingman.
It was a great year. May 2011 be even better.