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The Top 10 BCS Bowls of All Time

Austin KempAnalyst IDecember 11, 2012

The Top 10 BCS Bowls of All Time

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    The BCS has given us numerous games to remember over the years. People love to hate the whole concept of the BCS, but without it, we would never have been able to see the great games that have taken place over the last decade.

    Whether it's national championships, classic Rose Bowls or thrilling Fiesta Bowls, there are games every year that fans will never forget. With bowl season coming up, let's take a look back at some memorable bowl games over the years. Here are the top 10 BCS bowl games of the BCS era.

Honorable Mention: 1999 Rose Bowl: #9 Wisconsin Defeats #5 UCLA 38-31

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    The Wisconsin ground game had a day, with Ron Dayne leading the charge with 246 yards and four touchdowns to propel the Badgers to a Rose Bowl victory.  UCLA quarterback Cade McNown torched the Badger's secondary for over 300 yards, but it wasn't enough as McNown threw a pick-6 late in the game to secure a victory for Wisconsin. 

10. 2006 Orange Bowl: No. 3 Penn State Defeats No. 22 Florida State 26-23 (3OT)

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    The 2006 Orange Bowl was arguably the best game of the 2005-2006 college football season. Joe Paterno had his Lions near the top of the polls with their only loss coming to Michigan on the last play of the game.  

    The Orange Bowl was tied up at 16 as the Nittany Lions and Seminoles entered the first overtime. Both teams missed their field-goal attempts, and then each scored touchdowns on their second overtime possessions.

    However, in overtime No. 3, the ‘Noles failed to make their field-goal attempt, while Penn State kicker Kevin Kelly sent his attempt through the uprights for the win.  

    In a game that lasted over four hours, Penn State captured its first Orange Bowl win in over 30 years.

9. 2009 Fiesta Bowl: No. 3 Texas Defeats No. 10 Ohio State 24-21

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    After being snubbed for the BCS National Championship Game, Texas entered the Fiesta Bowl with a chip on its shoulder while facing a young Buckeyes team.

    The Longhorns took a 17-6 lead into the fourth quarter, only to see Jim Tressel’s squad rally. In a game where Ohio State used a two-quarterback system, Todd Boeckman hit Terrelle Pryor for a five-yard score to pull the game within two.

    Later, with 2:05 on the clock, Buckeyes running back Dan “Boom” Herron rushed 15 yards for a score to give Ohio State a 21-17 lead.

    The only mistake was that there was too much time left on the clock for Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. McCoy completed seven passes on the final drive, including the game-winning 26-yard touchdown pass to Quan Cosby. The Longhorns caught the Buckeyes in a blitz as Cosby caught a short pass, slipped a tackle and headed towards the end zone.

8. 2000 Orange Bowl: No. 8 Michigan Defeats No. 4 Alabama 35-34 (OT)

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    Two traditional powers took the field, and the 2000 Orange Bowl was another great one to add to the books.

    Michigan trailed 28-14 in the third quarter, but Tom Brady rallied the Wolverines with a touchdown pass to David Terrell to pull within seven. Anthony Thomas’ touchdown run tied it up in regulation and sent the game to overtime.

    In OT, Brady threw a 25-yard touchdown pass, and the extra point made it 35-28. The Tide answered right back but saw their extra-point attempt sail wide, and the Wolverines escaped with a 35-34 victory.

7. 2011 Sugar Bowl: No. 6 Ohio State Defeats No. 8 Arkansas 31-26

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    Distractions surrounded the Buckeyes heading into a showdown with Arkansas in New Orleans. Days before the game, it was announced that Terrelle Pryor, Mike Adams, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey and Solomon Thomas were involved in a tattoo scandal.

    The NCAA ruled them eligible, and all five played in what turned out to be a thrilling Sugar Bowl. 

    Ohio State jumped out to a 31-13 lead, but Ryan Mallett rallied the Razorbacks. Mallett connected with Jarius Wright for a score, and things began to get real interesting. A field goal with 8:55 remaining brought the Razorbacks within five points.  

    The Buckeyes tried running out the clock but were forced to punt with 1:15 left in the game. As all of Buckeye Nation watched, the Hogs blocked the punt and recovered on Ohio State’s 18-yard line. Then, on second down, Mallett dropped back and rifled a ball toward Wright. However, Mallett did not see Solomon Thomas, who stepped in front of Wright and intercepted the pass, which secured a victory for the Buckeyes.

6. 2011 Rose Bowl: No. 3 TCU Defeats No. 5 Wisconsin 21-19

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    Mountain West champion and BCS buster TCU took on the Big Ten champs in the Granddaddy of Them All. The teams traded blows in the first half, with Andy Dalton providing the spark for the Horned Frogs and Montee Ball having his way with the TCU defense.

    With TCU up 21-13 late in the fourth quarter, the Badgers went on a 10-play, 77-yard drive that ended in a touchdown run by Ball. With Wisconsin having to go for two, TCU linebacker Tank Carder tipped a pass intended for a wide-open Badgers receiver, which gave the Horned Frogs the Rose Bowl win.

5. 2011 BCS Championship: No. 1 Auburn Defeats No. 2 Oregon 22-19

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    The 2011 BCS National Championship Game nearly reached 1,000 total yards, and Cam Newton brought a championship to the Auburn Tigers.

    Both teams started slow, as it took until the second quarter for any points to be put on the board.  A 35-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton gave Auburn a 7-3 lead, but Oregon answered with a LaMichael James touchdown reception.

    With the score tied up at 19 in the fourth quarter, Michael Dyer delivered the play of the game. With time winding down, Dyer took the handoff, rolled over a defender and scampered 37 yards to the 1-yard line. After Auburn let time melt off the clock, Wes Byrum kicked the game-winning field goal to give the Tigers a three-point national championship win.

4. 2005 Rose Bowl: No. 4 Texas Defeats No. 13 Michigan 38-37

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    The Rose Bowl was owned by Vince Young, plain and simple. Young rushed for 192 yards and four touchdowns while also throwing for 180 to lead the ‘Horns to a come-from-behind victory.

    Michigan was led by Chad Henne and Braylon Edwards, as the two connected for 10 receptions, 109 yards and three touchdowns. However, the fourth quarter belonged to Texas and Vince Young.

    With Michigan leading 37-35 with 3:04 to play, Vince Young was at it again, and there was nothing Michigan could do to stop him. Young ran wild and set his team up for a potential game-winning field-goal attempt. Dusty Mangum kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give Texas a win.

    It wouldn't be the last time Vince Young performed his heroics in the Rose Bowl.

3. 2007 Fiesta Bowl: No. 8 Boise State Defeats No. 10 Oklahoma 43-42 (OT)

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    Nos. 3, 2 and 1 could have gone in any order. Since this wasn’t a national championship game, it falls to No. 3.

    In what was arguably the most exciting finish in the history of college football, Boise State took on Oklahoma in the Arizona desert.

    The Broncos struck first with a 49-yard touchdown pass by Jared Zabransky, and then an Ian Johnson touchdown run put Boise State ahead 14-0. The Broncos continued to dominate the game as they stretched their lead to 28-10 in the third quarter. 

    This was against Oklahoma, remember—this wasn’t supposed to be happening. The Sooners rallied, and rallied fast, as they took control of the game with 25 unanswered points. With the Sooners up 35-28, Chris Petersen reached into his bag of tricks and ran the hook and ladder for a 50-yard score, which sent the game to overtime.

    On Oklahoma’s first play in OT, Adrian Peterson ran 25 yards to put the Sooners back on top. The Broncos, like always, had an answer. With wide receiver Vinny Perretta lining up at quarterback on fourth down, he started right and then pulled up and threw a touchdown to pull within one point.

    Petersen wasn’t done, though. He reached into his bag of tricks one more time, and Boise State ran the Statue of Liberty play with Ian Johnson running around the left side to give the Broncos a victory.

2. 2006 Rose Bowl: No. 2 Texas Defeats No. 1 USC 41-38

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    Again, this game could have easily been No. 1 on my list. It all comes down to personal preference, but the 2006 Rose Bowl is up there with the best games of all time.

    Just a year removed from being the Rose Bowl MVP, Vince Young led his Longhorns back to Pasadena, Calif., but this time it was for the national championship. On the other side, USC was hungry to win its second national championship in a row. In a game that featured three Heisman Trophy candidates, and two winners, this had all the makings for a historic night in Pasadena.

    USC went up early 7-0, but that was the only first-half success it would have. Texas dominated the second quarter, as it scored 16 unanswered points and went into halftime up 16-10 on the No. 1 Trojans. However, with LenDale White rushing for two TDs in the third, and Vince Young adding another one on the ground, USC led 24-23 heading into the final quarter.

    The fireworks didn’t stop once the fourth quarter started. Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush scampered 26 yards, dove and flipped into the end zone, giving Southern Cal an eight-point lead.

    After holding Texas to a field goal, USC scored again on a reception by Dwayne Jarrett with 6:42 to play. No way Texas could come from 12 down against the No. 1 team in the nation, right?

    Vince Young put on his Superman shirt again and took over the Rose Bowl one last time. Young scored two rushing touchdowns in the final six minutes of the game, including the game-winner with 19 seconds left to give Texas a national championship win.

1. 2003 Fiesta Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State Defeats No. 1 Miami 31-24 (2OT)

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    Now, this was one of the most controversial, exciting, thrilling games you could ever be part of as a college football fan. Miami came into the game riding a 34-game winning streak, boasting a national championship the previous season and NFL talent galore.

    The Buckeyes came in ranked No. 2 with a plethora of close games, a nasty defense and a freshman running back who was one of the best Columbus, Ohio, had seen in a long time.

    Miami scored first on a Roscoe Parrish touchdown catch in the first quarter, but the Buckeyes had a plan of their own in the second quarter. Ken Dorsey threw two picks that resulted in touchdown runs by Craig Krenzel and Maurice Clarett to give Ohio State a 14-7 halftime lead.

    The teams traded punches in the third quarter with Ohio State adding a field goal and Miami scoring a touchdown.

    With Ohio State leading by three late in the fourth, Parrish gave Miami great field position on a punt return, and Todd Sievers hit a 40-yard field goal to send the game to overtime.

    Kellen Winslow Jr. caught a touchdown pass on Miami’s first possession, and then the Hurricanes stopped Ohio State on fourth down to win the national title...or did they? With Miami players running around celebrating, they failed to see a tiny yellow flag in the corner of the end zone. Pass interference was called, and that gave Ohio State new life.

    Krenzel ran for a one-yard touchdown, and Clarett added another in the second OT to give the Buckeyes a seven-point lead. That would be the winning touchdown, as Ohio State stopped the Hurricanes on their next drive and captured the crystal football en route to a 14-0 season.

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