"Don't be sad because it's over," Dr. Seuss said so smartly. "Smile because it happened."

And if you thought 2011 was a fabulously busy year in Palmetto State sports, wait until you dip your toe into the hot brackish water of 2012.

January alone might be enough to carry most years, but not the upcoming 12-month stretch that includes the two biggest sporting events in Charleston sports history and greater college football expectations.

Stock the freezer. Get new Frogmore Stew recipes.

A preview:

January

What a start! South Carolina edges Nebraska, 28-27, in the Capital One Bowl, arguably the best bowl invitation ever mailed to Columbia. The Gamecocks celebrate a record 11 wins.

Clemson scores early and often to hold off West Virginia, 48-44, in a dazzling Orange Bowl. The Tigers finish 11-3.

LSU defeats Alabama, 17-16, to claim the sixth consecutive national title for the SEC.

Oklahoma State big-bucks booster T. Boone Pickens, citing the Cowboys' 65-21 victory over Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, offers LSU a $1.7 billion winner-take-all game at a neutral site: Ames, Iowa.

February

College of Charleston basketball bursts into the top 25 polls. Bobby Cremins signs a five-year contract extension. "It's crazy," Cremins says. "But my hair looks younger than when I got here."

Clemson takes advantage of late de-commitments and chalks up another sensational football recruiting class. "The key," Dabo Swinney says, "is every one of these kids is all-in all the (darn) time."

March

It's the toughest ticket in Charleston since front-row Battery seats for the outbreak of the Civil War at Fort Sumter: Clemson upsets defending College World Series champ South Carolina at The Joe in Game 1 of a three-game series.

The Gamecocks take Games 2 and 3 at the on-campus sites to take the series. Again.

The College of Charleston doesn't make the NCAA basketball tournament.

But wins the NIT.

April

North Carolina, avenging a regular season loss, defeats Kentucky to win the NCAA basketball championship in New Orleans.

No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki dominates on Daniel Island and wins a second straight Family Circle Cup ...

on the same day her boyfriend, Rory McIlroy, wins the Masters.

May

The College of Charleston baseball team squeaks by The Citadel to win the SoCon tournament (in Greenville) and lands a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament thanks to national home run leader Daniel Aldrich.

Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is ejected from a game at Fenway Park, but reappears in the dugout disguised as Curt Schilling.

June

South Carolina returns to the College World Series seeking a third consecutive title. This time, the Gamecocks lose the final game. To Florida.

Fan unrest in Atlanta after the Braves struggle in the first half. John Smoltz replaces Fredi Gonzalez as manager.

July

The 2012 South Atlantic League All-Star Game at The Joe is a huge hit right away when Charleston RiverDogs co-owner Bill Murray gets the entire casts of both "Caddyshack" and "Lost in Translation" to throw out ceremonial first pitches.

Six BCS championships in a row. The additions of Texas A&M and Missouri. A new TV deal with China. No wonder, SEC Media Days moves from a Birmingham hotel ballroom to the Georgia Dome.

August

The U.S. wins more gold medals at the Summer Olympics in London than any other country. But we lose the gold medal basketball game to Lithuania.

Stunningly, Keegan Bradley remains atop the 2012 PGA Championship leaderboard for three days, proving at the Ocean Course that his 2011 PGA title was no fluke. Alas, he falls apart on Sunday, losing to Tiger Woods.

September

As the college football season kicks off, South Carolina and Clemson are both in the Associated Press preseason Top 25 for the first time since Lou Holtz invented football.

The surging Atlanta Braves snag a wild-card spot.

October

The Gamecocks pull the upset in Baton Rouge, snapping an LSU win streak dating to 2010.

A week later, South Carolina loses at Florida.

The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Braves in the National League Championship Series.

The Anaheim Angels of Albert win the World Series.

November

For the first time, Clemson and South Carolina go into their Braggin' Rights game as division champs within their respective conferences.

Cam Newton leads the Carolina Panthers to the playoffs, and makes the Pro Bowl.

December

South Carolina loses to Alabama in the SEC championship game, but gets a Sugar Bowl invite.

Clemson loses to Virginia Tech in the ACC championship game, but gets a Fiesta Bowl invite.

Alabama looks forward to the 2013 BCS championship game -- against Lane Kiffin, Matt Barkley and Southern Cal.

Reach Gene Sapakoff at 937-5593 or on Twitter at @sapakoff.