NCF Nation: 2012 Valentines Day

What you love about your SEC team

February, 14, 2012
We asked you to tell us what it is you love about your SEC teams and you guys didn't disappoint. Hey, it's not easy sharing your feelings, but you didn't hold back when it came to talking about your teams.

Here are some of the best from the unedited emails and tweets we received:

Baristagator in F-L-O-R-I-D-A writes: The "love" of one's football team stretches from Columbia, MO to Gainesville, FL. From College Station, TX to the mountains of East Tennessee. Down on the Bayou and then up to the Bluegrass. It is that return trip to one's Alma Mater on a home game weekend to walk across the same grassy knolls, sidewalks and streets that you did when you were an undergrad. The jaunt in the rain across campus to your dorm after the library closes. To be able to jump across the street from campus to grab a brew and a basket of wings or to start the revelry on Thursday night 'cause we all know that's when the weekend starts, right? It's knowing you've spent the years studying at your school, to walk that stage, receive that diploma, and to be able to call yourself a ______ (insert SEC mascot). The wins feel just a notch better, the losses hurt just a notch worse. It's the combination of the loudest & largest stadiums, the passion of what football in "the south" means, and it's sending your friend, whose never been to your "home" stadium, home saying..."My God, that was awesome." Simply put--it is what the "other" conference yearn to be...The S.E.C.

Harry in Spartanburg, S.C., writes: Football is not merely a sport at the University of South Carolina; it is more of a spiritual feeling that you get on Saturdays in Williams-Brice Stadium. The rising of goosebumps you get when 2001 plays. The adrenaline rush from Sandstorm. The hatred that boils in your blood when Clemson touches the field. And, the tears of joy of an 11 win season. That is why I love the Gamecocks.

Big Bill in Cordova, Tenn., writes: I'ma Hog fan, and I'll tell you what I love about the Razorbacks. I am a sucker for all those goofy traditions that every school has. I get caught up in the moment of watching the band form the A, playing the 1812 Overture, and watching the student section do that same silly dance. And then I scream my fool-head off when the Hogs come charging through that A.

Brad in Crossville, Tenn., writes: I had to show my love for the University of Alabama. I am 27 and I have bled Crimson since I was old enough to know what football was. The hard part is that I live just about 70 miles from Neyland Stadium. So I do take a lot of grief from about 98% of the people where I live. I am also proud to be a Bama fan because Bama fans are true fans. I can remember when Bama was having losing seasons, think I quit wearing my Bama hats and shirts? Not a chance. It is disappointing that so many fans can be fair weather fans when a team starts winning, I see it all the time here in Middle Tennessee. But as for me and my family, we will always bleed Crimson. Win, lose or draw. Roll Tide for Life!!!!

Dumbo in College Station, Texas, writes: My relationship with Texas A&M is, in all honesty, a brutal one. It seems it does just enough for me every year to keep me hanging on for the next season, and then disappoints. In 2009, we came in with not much promise, starting a number of true freshman, planning for the future. Not our best season by any means, but we showed a lot of potential for the next few years. In 2010, we returned JJ, Von, and a number of other significant contributors on both sides of the ball. We had a three game losing streak. Granted we lost to quality teams during that run in games we easily could have won. Then the unthinkable happened. We beat OU, Baylor, Nebraska, and t.u. again giving hope for things to come next season. Moving forward to this past season, starting number eight in the country. Then came the second half in EVERY SINGLE GAME. Most disappointing season I've ever been a part of. But, we moved to the SEC, leaving me with mediocre expectations for the seasons to come. I love my school. I will continue to support my school through thick and thin. I just hope to not be let down for years to come.

Sam in Boston writes: I LOVE that even during a tumultuous 7-6 season, our fan base is as optimistic as ever. I love Coach Boom's enthusiasm. I love game days on University Avenue, drinking at Swamp on Friday only to get up 4 hours later and do it all again. There's nothing like looking at the sea of Orange and Blue in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium...where only Gators get out alive. There ain't nothin' greater than bein' a Gator!!

Mike in Baton Rouge, La., writes: What I love about LSU football: Great friends, great food, and great beer! Then, it's on to Saturday Night in Death Valley!! Favorite moment: October 11, 1997. #1 Florida vs. #14 LSU. You will always remember the first time #1 goes down in Death Valley!! Geaux Tigers!!

Joe in Columbia, Mo., writes: In regards to Vday post. Dearest SEC, Words cannot describe my gratitude towards you. Understandably, some of your members do not believe I belong with you. But even if I believed them, I am still better off with you than our old flame the BIG XII. People like you more, you treat your partners better, and lets be honest, you're sexier too. You saved me from what will be a train-wreck. We got so desperate, I even took a look at the Mountain West! I'm ready to prove many of your members wrong with my product on the field, but regardless of that I am so happy to be with my new SEC brethren. Sincerely, Mizzou.

DRay in Tuscaloosa, Ala., writes: Mark Barron said it best, "the best thing about Alabama football...winning" plain and simple. I love Alabama because of the pageantry and tradition of winning.

Adam in Joplin, Mo., writes: Mizzou. I love Mizzou. I love that I walk from Shakespeare's to 'The Zou' before the game and pass the columns. That when I get there I'll always be able to look beyond the north end zone and see the rock 'M' freshly painted by the freshmen. I love that our fans have a sense of entitlement. There is never a game we shouldn't win. A sense of pride that comes with sending four straight QBs to the NFL. And I love that we have the best mentor of young men in the nation. CGP does all the right things for his players, coaches and fans. I love my school...MIZ-ZOU, forever...

@JustChrisByrd from Twitter writes: My love is for Miss St. much like a real relationship its for better & worse with the emphasis on worse.

@elbowpickle from Twitter writes: What I love about the SEC-best football conf in the country. All other conf would cry if they had to play our sched! Gamecocks and their fans never lose hope - never give up.

@SirChristopherQ from Twitter writes: I love my college football team because they are better than everyone else. Roll Tide Roll!

SEC Valentine's Day cards

February, 14, 2012
Even in the fiercely competitive SEC, it’s good to spread a little love.

OK, maybe just once a year. And that one day is today … Valentine’s Day.

So just as we did a year ago, we’re going to set aside all the bitter rivalries, feuds and finger-pointing for a day and hand out some very deserving Valentine’s Day cards.

Sit back and enjoy.

Dear …

Alabama coach Nick Saban,

Your football program is without peer right now, and I mean anywhere in college football. A lot of people were shocked when they heard that Alabama was paying you $32 million over eight years – a financial package that has since been sweetened. I’d say it’s been money well spent when you look at the Crimson Tide’s trophy case over the last few years. Everybody wonders what your secret is. Here’s one: Great football players who are also high-character kids in the mold of Trent Richardson, Barrett Jones, William Vlachos, Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw.

Former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt,

Hated to see you go out like that. But regardless of what anybody says, average coaches don’t make it 14 years in this league at two different places. The same goes for your defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix. Both of you are better coaches than the last two seasons would suggest. There’s an entire body of work out there that says so.

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore,

Can’t wait to see you back on the field, and here’s hoping you’re as good as new. Your sense of team, combined with your incredible work ethic and awesome athletic ability, make you the kind of player coaches and fans dream about.

Arkansas running back Knile Davis,

Probably should have sent you and Marcus the same card. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that you’re healthy again. Your unbreakable will to keep coming back from so many injuries is an inspiration to all of us, and we're eager to see the version of you run the ball again that we saw in 2010 when you led all SEC running backs in rushing.

LSU coach Les Miles,

I’m not one of those who writes off what you and your team did for the first 13 games this past season simply because of that one forgettable night in New Orleans. It was a remarkable run against a killer schedule. But do everybody on the Bayou a favor and trash that offensive game plan from the BCS national championship game.

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray,

Your arm strength and ability to make all of the throws is unquestioned. You’re equally fearless in the pocket. But now it’s time to become a true quarterback and raise the level of play of all the guys around you. The great quarterbacks take it upon themselves to lead their entire team, and they do so as much off the field as they do on the field.

Arkansas receiver/punt returner Joe Adams,

Do you really have eyes in the back of your head? We’re still dying to know how you broke all of those tackles (somewhere around eight) on that 60-yard punt return for a touchdown against Tennessee? It’s as good a punt return as I’ve ever seen.

Vanderbilt defensive end Tim Fugger,

There are a lot of underrated players in this league, but you were right there at or near the top this season. You were invaluable to that Vanderbilt defense with your 13.5 tackles for loss, including eight sacks, and three forced fumbles. It wasn’t just your numbers that set you apart, but the way you played the game with precision, passion and grit on every snap.

Kentucky linebacker Danny Trevathan,

We’re not supposed to have favorites in our business. But how can you not pull for a guy like Trevathan? Kentucky coach Joker Phillips used to joke that he found Trevathan up under a rock down in Florida during the recruiting process. Well, Trevathan turned out to be a rock, racking up nearly 300 total tackles during his last two seasons and playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played no matter what the scoreboard said. We'll miss you, Danny.

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham,

The entire Bulldog Nation thanks you for bringing a mental toughness to that defense (and to the program) that was lacking at times in past seasons. Your defense was the backbone in Georgia’s turnaround and 10-game winning streak this season, and even though your fire might have burned a little too brightly a couple of times, it’s exactly what the Bulldogs needed.

Former Auburn running back Michael Dyer,

Not even the great Bo Jackson rushed for 1,000 yards each of his first two seasons on the Plains. It was a joy to watch you play. Just wished it didn’t end on such a sour note.

Former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain,

Congrats on the new gig at Colorado State. You were destined to be a head coach, and I’ll make sure everybody remembers that they did play a little offense at Alabama this past season, too. In fact, your Tide offense was the only one in the SEC to average more than 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing per game. That’s saying something when you consider the level of defense played in the SEC.

Florida coach Will Muschamp,

You made some tough decisions in Year 1, notably sending star cornerback Janoris Jenkins packing following his second drug arrest. You’ve also got your coaching staff more to your liking, and your players understand unequivocally now what you expect from them. The 2012 version of the Gators will more closely reflect you as a football coach, and I’d be surprised if the results weren’t markedly better.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen,

I really like the way you’ve helped yourself with junior college talent. I also like the way your 2012 schedule looks through the middle of October. With five home games and two very winnable road dates, a 6-1 or even 7-0 start is very possible. I’m not trying to jinx you, Dan, but maybe Year No. 4 in Starkville is going to be that magical season everyone was predicting this past year. The bottom line is that you’ve led the Bulldogs to back-to-back winning seasons, and the last time that happened was 10 years ago.

Happy Valentine's Day, ACC

February, 14, 2012
You wouldn’t believe this, but Hallmark was all out of Valentine’s Day cards for ACC coaches. So, I took it upon myself to lighten the mood here in the blogosphere with a little bit o’ love and these personal touch cards.

Dear …

The loss to Michigan wasn’t so bad, it’s the 1-5 BCS bowl record that has your fans sad. The 2012 recruiting class should help ease the pain, just try not to lose to Clemson again.
You’ve given it all, your heart and your soul, yet after four seasons we’ve still seen no bowl. This recruiting class is highlighted by athleticism and speed, which is good news for you -- it’s a running game you need.
Danny O’Brien has broken your heart, but Stefon Diggs couldn’t bear to part. You win some, you lose some, that’s what they say, but you gotta spread the love if you want players to stay.
Welcome to the ACC, where we do things right. That means keep all agents and runners out of our sight. There’s plenty of talent to start with a clean slate, the big question is, can you beat NC State?
It’s you and your staff the elite recruits adore, but the rest of the world is still waiting for more. Another national title for that trophy case is the only thing your fans will truly embrace.
Nevin Shapiro has a whole lot to say, but just don’t you worry ‘bout that NCAA. The worst is behind us, you’ve said before, it’s the fans’ expectations that should concern you more.
An impressive turnaround in 2011 was nice, but to do it again you must protect Tanner Price. Thirty-five sacks has got to hurt, and now four new starters must keep him outta the dirt.
Who needs a playbook? Not CPJ. The master of the option offense can throw his away. It’s defense and special teams that needs some work, and throwing more efficiently certainly couldn’t hurt.

Coach of the Year and first bowl since ’07? After only two seasons Virginia fans were in heaven. You’ve set the bar high, but there’s one question to me: Can you beat the Hokies, or is it strike three?

Broken bones have held your team back, so keep ‘em healthy and look out for the Pack. FSU and Clemson are getting all of the hype, but when it comes to quarterbacks, Mike Glennon’s just your type.
They say your seat is hot, and I couldn’t agree more; in 2012 you must win more than four. The offense has been at the heart of your woes, but a new OC could help cure some of those.
An ACC title, a top-10 recruiting class and more. There’s only one problem … West Virginia just scored. A new DC just might do the trick, but if you don’t beat South Carolina, Clemson fans will be sick.

Pac-12 Valentine's Day: South Division

February, 14, 2012
Happy Valentines Day.

Many of you over the past few days professed your love for your team to the Pac-12 blog. And, of course, we admire you for that. Here are some special valentines, starting with the Pac-12 South Division.

And, yes, Utah gets three. The Utes appear to really love Valentines Day.

John from Grants Pass, Ore., writes: Happy valentines day to the best team in the pac-12, THE ARIZONA WILDCATS !!!! LOVE MY TEAM, GO COACH RICHROD, BEAR DOWN AND KICK BUTT THIS YEAR !!!!

Arizona State
Eric from Tucson writes
: How do I love my Sun Devils? Living in Tucson reminds me every day of why we are so much better than the Wildcats.

Thomas from Charlottesville, Va., writes
: A Valentine to COLORADO FOOTBALL: A while back in Boulder Colorado football was cheered, Coach Mac built a contender Top-ten team every year. But McCartney retired. Neuheisel slunk away. Barnett could not keep his mouth shut and Hawk brought dark days. Buffs know we are better than the recent years have seen. Finally in the locker room Coach Embree builds his team. Look out for Ralphie, The best team mascot you know. Stampeding onto the field, With a revitalized team in tow. Shoulder to Shoulder, Fellow CU Buff fans, The dark days are over. Come fill the stands! Look out Pac-12! Look out BCS! The Buffs are rising. We'll soon be the best!!

Jagger from LA writes
: Valentine to UCLA: Roses are red, Bruins are blue, UCLA rocks, we all know it's true!

Craig from Concord, Calif., writes
: I love my Trojans, let me count the ways: 1) Tradition 2) Only two uniform combinations 3) The class and dignity of how this team, coaching staff and administration have so far handled the sanctions 4) Matt Barkley 5) 50-0 (Man, that was sweet!!) oh I could go on and on...

Matt from Salt Lake City writes
: I love The UTES OF UTAH! They truly are the greatest team in all of college football. The first team to bring any attention upon the mountain west. BCS busters twice. A team that will not quit, it represents the state in which it resides with pride. We have done more with less funding then most other programs in the FBS. We have a student section that becomes a pain for teams to deal with. The most prideful fans standing behind everyone wearing a red U. GO UTES!!!!!

Stan from Salt Lake City writes: To my Utah Utes: Many tried to ignore you ? but you made it impossible. How could they ignore the best bowl winning percentage of any team with more than five bowl appearances (13 wins; 4 losses, 76.4%)? How could they ignore winning 10 of the last 11 bowls? How could they ignore the non-BCS team who defeated the most BCS teams through the 2010 season? How could they ignore two undefeated seasons in the past 7 years? How could they ignore the original and two-time BCS Buster? How could they forget the dominance over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl? They couldn't! Yes, I love my Utes. And I love the PAC-12.

G. Michael from Cedar City, Utah writes: When I first walked onto the University of Utah football practice field as a freshman manager in 1967 I could only dream that one day the Utes would be in the fight for a birth in the Rose Bowl. This year was something special. Not only was Utah a game away from contention for the Rose Bowl but had a gutty and pretty successful first season in the PAC 12. Color my Valentine to Coach Whit and the Utes and the real "U" the deepest Crimson. Go Utes!

Big East love notes

February, 14, 2012
How much do you love your team? I asked, and you answered. Well, most of you answered. Not every team got a love note, so I am going with the best of the bunch.

And starting with the best of the bunch.

Joel Shaffer writes: I wanted to do something big when I was going to propose to my wife. So a friend of mine who had played football at UL knew the Jumbotron operator, so he made a call. I spoke with her and she said she could put the proposal up on the Jumbotron at halftime but she couldn't give me an exact time. I'm such a big Cardinal fan, in my mind what better way to propose on such a big stage at my favorite team's football game. So anyway, we started planning the trip. I live in Florida now and that's where I met my wife, so I wanted to take her to game up in Louisville so she could see the school. I had five of my close friends drive up with us -- and by the way she had no idea. So on game day, I was so nervous because obviously I was proposing but also because I didn't know the exact time the proposal would come up on the Jumbotron. I picked the Miami game back in 2006 because I thought it would be an awesome game to go to, and I wasn't disappointed. Halftime was approaching, and I kept asking my wife, 'Do you need to go to the bathroom before halftime?' I think I asked her that about 50 times. So finally she asked me why I kept asking that so off the top of my head I said I really wanted her to see our band play at half time -- they put on a good show. Totally made it up, but she bought it. So at halftime, me and all my friends went down to this little pavilion below our seats and we were all just standing around and then boom my proposal popped up on the Jumbotron. So when it did my friend asked my wife what her last name was and she said, 'Keim.' He responded with, 'Why is your name up on the Jumbotron?' She was confused and when she looked up at the Jumbotron, I got down on my knee and proposed. It was awesome. All the fans and people walking by stopped and started cheering. To top it off, we beat the Hurricanes and partied the rest of the night and now I have converted her to an avid UL fan. Awesome Day. So that's how big of a Cardinal fan I am.

T.J. in Cincinnati writes: There is a place down country roads, a special love that our hearts hold. Every day here in the hills, just like the first with much more chills.It's gold and blue, a love so dear. Every day more proud to be a Mountaineer. We gather each Saturday with love and devotion, every first down we sound off in one motion. Led by the pride, our No. 1 band. Don't bother to ask, No. 1 in the land. A good run in the Big East helped fill our trophy shelves, all eyes focused on the Big 12. Two Heisman contenders help provide the spark, one not so big but look out for his bark. It's all about pride and representation, it's gold and blue -- we are Mountaineer Nation.

Jordan in Lakeland, Fla., writes: USF is the middle school student that everybody loves in a group of NCAA grown-ups. Sure we are going to have some growing pains, but we can't help but feel we are bound for greatness. So many teams have long storied traditions of accomplishing not a whole lot. The world is still so new to us, and we still have hope that nothing will hold us back. Justified? Maybe not. But fun? Absolutely. And what is not to love about that?

Jake in Iselin, N.J., writes: Re-write of Garth Brooks' "Wrapped Up In You." How do I love USF? Well let me see. I love them like beating Auburn in OT. Go Bulls, completely Wrapped up in USF. How do I need USF? Well here's my fill,I need them like '06 needs a tight end better than Amp Hill. Go Bulls, completely Wrapped up in USF. Every now and then When the conference we're playing in is crazy, They beat a ranked team in a game OoC. No team in the world's ever risen through the ranks as quickly, And I'd be glad and happy If afterward we didn't go 0-3. How do I love USF? Well count the ways. There ain't no tailgate parties better than Tampa Bay's. Go Bulls, completely Wrapped up in USF. Every now and then When the conference we're playing in is crazy, They beat a ranked team in a game OoC. No team in the world's ever risen through the ranks as quickly, And I'd be glad and happy If afterward we didn't go 0-3. How do I love USF? Well don't you know I love them bout as deep As Matt Grothe can throw. Go Bulls, completely Wrapped up in USF,Go Bulls, completely Wrapped up in USF.

Ryan in N.J. writes: On the Raritan We had years of Schiano Now it's time for FLOOD. Haiku for your Rutgers SCARLET KNIGHTS!

Nick G. in UConn Country writes: My Valentine's Day poem to my UConn Huskies. Oh you terrible UConn Husky, In 2011 you all looked oh so rusty, I cheered, laughed and I also even cried, I almost gave up. Almost had to say Bye Bye. 2012 will hopefully be a much better year, Time to get on it and get your (rear) in gear. Play as a TEAM and WIN many games. Don't be like last year and go down in Flames. I will always support you from start until End. No more WVU, trying to pretend. Let's Win every game, and make many BCS Bowls. This is our conference now, Lets Take all their Souls.

Pac-12 Valentines Day: North Division

February, 14, 2012
Happy Valentines Day.

Many of you over the past few days professed your love for your team to the Pac-12 blog. We did the Pac-12 South Division earlier. Here are Valentines for the North Division.

Tylurker from Land of Oaks, Calif., writes
: Why love the ursines? Because misery loves company. A couple of things: Memorial Stadium. Strawberry Canyon. Tightwad Hill. Card stunts (who still does card stunts?). Roll on you bears. Oski. Those are all grand but mostly, it's the misery.

Cre8tivguy from San Francisco writes: To My Golden Bears on Valentine's Day: College football seems to change faster and faster. Like a slave we accept it, like obeying a master. But all is not lost, deep in the Berkeley lair. For it is the home to my lovely Golden Bear. Our players and fans are intense like Radium. We'll defeat every foe that steps foot in our new stadium. Our family was breached when the enemy stole Tosh. To those I pronounce, we will firmly squash! I cannot express my hate for those dogs, But I'll do my best on the Pac-12 blogs. Already looking forward to the start of Spring ball. And I'll never again call Isi too small. For his heart is as big as the Cal family that cares, To all the world I shout: GOOOOO BEARS!

Preeti from Eugene, Ore., writes
: I've been a Ducks fan since I first start watching football. I learned all the rules, the traditions and the superstitions that surround football, from watching them. There is nothing like stepping stepping onto campus during football season. Sitting in class and spending the first 10 minutes talking about the football game. Or standing in line at the duck store, buying another shirt/scarf/something because you can't ever have enough & getting into a conversation about going to the game. Then there's Autzen stadium when speaks for itself. Whether you "sit" in the student section or anywhere else, it doesn't really matter because there's not a lot of sitting going on anyways. Hearing the screaming of thousands of people that's literally been louder than a plane

Scappoozer from Scappoose, Ore., writes: All I want out of College Football is to be entertained. That is why I Love Oregon. They entertain us all so well. Maybe you'll see a 2 pt. conversion or a fake punt, maybe Champion-Chip will go for it on 4th down or the Offense will light up the scoreboard for another 50 points and just maybe we'll have another run at the National Champion-Chip. What ever it is, what more could any College Football fan ever want? Happy Valentines Day to my Oregon Ducks!

SJB from Portland writes: I love the Ducks because they (and Uncle Phil) successfully occupy a space that is usually overwhelmed by irony - the institutional iconoclast. What other school would hire, much less embrace, as head coach a man who is equal parts Bobby Bowden and Dennis Franz?

Angie from Portland writes: Roses are red Violets are blue...I love my Ducks and here's why you should too.Fast and hard is how we play..We never stop until we win the day.With Chip at the helm it's never the same..4th downs turn into TDs almost every game.Our tradition is change and innovation..Once ridiculed but now subject to imitation 3-time Champs that sit atop the Pac. I'm so proud to be a Duck- QUAAAACKKK!

Oregon State
John from Oakland writes
: Being a college football fan is largely irrational. You are either born a fan of a school, or you attend a school for four years and pledge your undying love for the rest of your life. When a program is doing things the wrong way the majority of the fan base turns a blind eye. I love my Beavers because Mike Riley has established a football program based on all of the right things. He cares first and foremost about his players as student-athletes. He doesn't say bad things about other programs when he recruits. He doesn't use sketchy street-agents to steer recruits toward his school (sorry, couldn't resist). Sure, I would love to see a year in and year out 10 win team, but I take pride in the fact that we Beavs are doing things the right way.

Steve from Berkeley, Calif., writes
: Valentine for Stanford Football:I have loved Stanford football since the Elway era, when they may not have won a lot, but they could put a scare into anyone. They were about as dull and hopeless as could be in 2006, but they've had almost nothing but one good thing after the next since then. They have the toughness of the best of Denny Green's teams (remember John Lynch?), and Luck was as close to perfect a QB as you'll find. It is a new era, and Stanford has finally dedicated itself to football. It is a great time to be a fan, and who knows what can happen next? Also, I don't have to resent other teams like fans of a certain local school with blue and gold (no coincidence they mix to make green) colors.

Jason from Seattle writes
: Dear Huskies,Four years ago, our relationship wasn't going so well. You were distant. You went through the motions, and I admit, so did I. Let's face it, the 2008 Huskies was like coming home to your girlfriend on the couch, eating beef jerky and trail mix, while wearing a snuggie.But we made a change, we traded a Ty for a Sark. We got your nails done and your hair did. Now you are a star-in-the-making. Soon the days of celebration penalties and 500-yard+ defensive performances will be behind us.Keith Price went toe-to-toe with Heisman winner RG3 and emerged KP1. The future is bright, our defense will improve, recruiting will flourish.So thank you, Washington Huskies. I love you. Be mine.

Washington State
CougGal94 from Walla Walla, Wash., writes
: The WSU Cougs are red (hot)The Huskies are BlueWe have Mike LeachDawgs, it stinks to be you!

Cougarbrian from Portland writes: I'd love to give my valentine to Bill Moos, or as I have now dubbed him, St. Bill. He instantly took the WSU football program from the outhouse to the penthouse with the masterstroke recruiting and hiring of Mike Leach, and all of Cougar Nation is forever indebted to St. Bill.

Jim from Idaho Falls, Idaho writes: To my beloved Wazzu:Although you may not be the prettiest girl at the ball (USC, Oregon) I have never been ashamed once to take you out on the town. Although you may not be the brightest bulb in the box (Cal, Stanford) you have taught me that life is worth living.Although your house might not be the warmest (Arizona, ASU, UCLA) it still is prettier than the rest, and I don?t have to worry about getting sunburned.Although you have a lot in common with your partner is crime (Oregon State) I'd rather play with you any day of the week.One thing is for sure: you are consistent, and for that I thank you. By the way, crimson and grey look pretty good on you. Who in their right mind would ever want to wear purple, anyway?Go Cougs!

Handing out a few Big 12 Valentines

February, 14, 2012
It's that time of year again.

You love it or hate it, but it's here.

Either way, we're celebrating on the Big 12 Blog today. To do so, it's time to hand out a few Valentines and spread some love to folks who could use a little of it.

Dear ...

Kansas coach Charlie Weis,

Sure, people lambasted you as the worst hire of the coaching season, but Kansas is a different place with different challenges than Notre Dame. Most importantly, it's a place with much different expectations. But however this turns out, it's going to be fun, and people will be paying attention. That's more than KU could say about the Turner Gill era.

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones,

It's too bad too many Sooners fans focus on a handful of ugly moments in big spots. Following up Sam Bradford couldn't be easy. Perhaps some don't remember the 12,000-plus passing yards and 94 touchdowns in less than three full seasons. They should, though.

Texas A&M's locker room,

You've been blamed for so much these past few months. Who knows the horrors you've seen? Even still, we know the Aggies' disappointing 2011 that benefited about everyone else in the Big 12 wasn't all your fault.

Missouri's field,

Missouri's gone, but you were the gift that kept on giving. I'm no turf expert, but a handful of coaches and players told me after the season you were "not suitable" for playing. You'd probably disagree. Debate it if you must. What's not debatable? Texas' Fozzy Whittaker and Texas Tech's DeAndre Washington have a rough road still ahead rehabilitating their knees.

TCU and West Virginia,

For now, the Big 12 loves you. TCU's old wounds with Southwest Conference enemies Texas Tech and Baylor will be reignited pretty quickly. West Virginia's a good team and a good program, and those rivalries will be fostered in the Mountaineers' new league. Enjoy the honeymoon, kids.

Texas coach Mack Brown,

All those mean people wouldn't stop telling you you were retiring or being forced out! No, I don't know why they kept saying it, either. Either way, if that's your biggest problem, you're in a good spot. Chin up. We can't all make $5 million a year until 2020.

Texas Tech's trainers,

You all had a busy year. Racking up 24 long-term injuries during the season? That's a lot of carting guys off the field. I hope you enjoyed your time off. Spring practice starts Friday. Of course, 15 players will be out this spring, so that's fewer players who could get hurt.
The haters had their fun on Monday, but it's time to feel the love again in the Big Ten. Sure, this might not seem like the league of love lately, especially after the last recruiting cycle, but Valentine's Day will make it all better (riiight).

Fortunately for you, we intercepted a few of the Valentine's missives being sent around the Big Ten.

Check 'em out ...

To: Bret Bielema
From: Urban Meyer

Bret, we got off to a bad start, but you'll grow to love me. Maybe even my recruiting methods, too. Remember what Ohio State fans thought of me in January 2007? Now, I'm king of Columbus! I've already forgiven you for your poor choice of words (this card, by the way, was sent legally through U.S. mail). I'll be sure to send you weekly updates on Kyle Dodson. Only 277 days until we meet in Madison. Save me a brat! ... Toodles

To: Urban Meyer
From: Bret Bielema

When leading by 27 ... go for two! When leading by 36 ... go for two!

To: Urban Meyer
From: Bret Bielema

Urban, sorry about the last card. Meant to send it to Tim Brewster. My bad.

To: Brady Hoke
From: Michigan fans

Gotta admit, we were a little concerned about your losing record. And the fact you weren't named Jim Harbaugh. But you were a Michigan man, dammit, unlike that last schlub. Plus, you actually cared about defense (Mattison rules!). Thanks for making us proud again. Now beat Ohio State every year.

To: College football fans
From: Jim Delany and Big Ten athletic directors

We're giving you your stinking playoff -- and this card. Happy?

To: Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan
From: Jim Delany

I know you guys took some heat for selecting Virginia Tech, but it was a great call. People rag on the Big Ten, but think how bad it'd be if there weren't these ACC teams completely incapable of winning BCS bowls. You da man! Any time you want to pair us against the ACC, don't hesitate!

To: Pat Narduzzi
From: Mark Dantonio

Thanks for staying. Don't worry, there's a check included. Let's give 'em 840 minutes of unnecessary roughness this year!

To: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
From: Denard Robinson

Who knew one team could make one player look so awesome? I love you guys! See ya in September!

To: Nebraska fans
From: Bo Pelini

I know you're not happy about the meltdowns against Wisconsin, Michigan and South Carolina. Or the reports linking me to other jobs. Or some of the assistant coach hires. Or the fact we had more walk-ons than scholarship players in the last recruiting class. But we can take the next step and make you proud. I've matured as a coach. I'm a little calmer and a little more self-aware. I might put some Gandhi quotes around the complex. Let's get off the roller coaster and start riding the wave of enlightenment. GBR! Om.

To: The end zone
From: Montee Ball

Had so much fun visiting this past season, I'll be back for more!

To: Matthew McGloin
From: Curtis Drake

The past is the past, Matty. Let's go knock out the other teams in 2012!

To: Iowa's running backs
From: Kirk Ferentz

Thanks for sticking around, guys. Some of the others must have gotten a bit confused. Told them to run to the end zone, not the nearest Greyhound station.

To: Denard Robinson and Taylor Lewan
From: William Gholston

Can't wait to throw my arms around you guys again this season. Really, really looking forward to Oct. 20.

To: Floyd of Rosedale
From: Minnesota fans

We love makin' bacon with you. Please stay with us forever.

To: NCAA infractions committee
From: Gene Smith

I thought love meant never having to say you're sorry. I guess you didn't think my attempt of asking for your forgiveness was enough. But it's OK. I've moved on and ended up in a much healthier relationship. Let's never fight again.

To: Indiana Hoosiers
From: Ron Zook

When up by seven, go for two! C'mon, you know you'll miss me.

Handing out Valentines at Notre Dame

February, 14, 2012
Can you feel the love?

Everyone's favorite holiday is today, and so we will take the time here to send out a few Valentines to those who have caught the eye of Notre Dame nation this past season.

Gunner Kiel: Your surprise arrival on campus saved Notre Dame's recruiting class and has reinvigorated this fan base. You have never taken a college snap; no one knows what to expect; and you're currently the least experienced of the four undergrads competing for the starting quarterback job. In other words, you are currently the most popular, likable player on the roster. If nothing else, you deserve a little love after Les Miles' cheap shot on national signing day.

Cierre Wood: Jonas Gray received much of the attention for his breakout season. All anyone wants to talk about now is Amir Carlisle or Will Mahone. But you rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, a feat that should not be overlooked. Here's a little appreciation for a stellar junior campaign.

T.J. Jones: Let's just say this day has had your name on it ever since Brian Kelly's now-infamous, purple-shaded face ripped into you on the sidelines in Week 1.

Tyler Eifert/Manti Te'o: You two passed up potential millions because of your love of school. That love should be reciprocated today. Glad to have you back.

Aaron Lynch: Your outstanding freshman season shows that you have a bright future. But please stop committing penalties after the whistle. Days like today can help bring out your softer side, which could help tone down some of your antics and keep your team out of harm's way. Then, Irish fans will really love you.

Dan Fox: Because Fabio is probably jealous of that long hair of yours.

Tony Alford: An interview with the Packers is flattering. And though you said your heart tells you that Notre Dame is where you belong -- NFL offer or not -- we figured a little extra love couldn't hurt, in case you have any second thoughts.

Ozzy Osbourne: Irish fans rallied against you more than anyone else this year. For that, you deserve some love on this special day.