10 Most Incredible Comebacks of the BCS Era

Jake Martin@JakeMartinSECCorrespondent IIIMay 7, 2013

10 Most Incredible Comebacks of the BCS Era

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    There is no better storyline in sports than a thrilling comeback.

    Furthermore, there is no better platform to do this on than college football. Because of college football's unrivaled passion, adversity on the college football gridiron creates legends.

    It also creates classics. From LSU's "Bluegrass Miracle" to Boise State's heart-wrenching upset over Oklahoma to Cam Newton's Heisman moment in the 2010 Iron Bowl, the BCS era has seen its fair share of legendary moments.

    But which is the best? Here are the most unbelievable comebacks in the BCS era.

10. Louisiana Tech vs. Houston (2011)

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    Louisiana Tech had 'em. In the words of Dennis Green, the Bulldogs had 'em on the ropes and "they let 'em off the hook."

    Up 34-7 with just over five minutes left to play in the third quarter, a tremendous upset against Houston was in the hands of the Bulldogs. As the game went on, that potential upset started to slip away.

    The Cougars cut the score to 34-14 entering the fourth, and that's when Case Keenum went to work.

    Keenum drove the Cougars down the field and led them to three consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a 32-yard pass to Patrick Edwards with 1:36 remaining on the clock. With the PAT following and Houston's defense holding strong, the Cougars capped off a 35-34 comeback victory.

9. Texas Tech vs. Minnesota (2006 Insight Bowl)

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    Texas Tech needed every bit of its air raid offense in the 2006 Insight Bowl.

    After digging themselves in a hole, down 38-7 with less than eight minutes left in the third quarter, the Red Raiders went to work quickly.

    Texas Tech scored four unanswered touchdowns to bring the score to 38-35, and then Texas Tech tied the game with an Alex Trlica field goal at the end of regulation.

    Bring on overtime, baby. Minnesota struck first with a field goal, and on the ensuing possession, Texas Tech won the game with a Shannon Woods' 3-yard touchdown scamper. The Red Raiders won 44-41.

8. Marshall vs. East Carolina (2001 GMAC Bowl)

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    Oh, Byron Leftwich, you loved to pull at our heartstrings, didn't you?

    Before Leftwich was carried down the field by his teammates in a 2002 contest against Akron, he led Marshall to a remarkable bowl win in 2001.

    After falling behind 38-8 to East Carolina at halftime, Ralph Street gave the Thundering Herd a spark. He intercepted David Garrard, who would go on to become Leftwich's teammate with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and took it to the house, making it 38-15.

    From then, Leftwich took over, and Marshall outscored East Carolina 43-13 in the second half. Marshall tied the score and won the game in second overtime, 64-61.

7. LSU vs. Iowa (2005 Capital One Bowl)

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    Everyone loves a Hail Mary, right? Pipe down LSU fans, your time in the sun will soon come on this slideshow.

    For now, it's all about Drew Tate, Warren Holiday and the Iowa Hawkeyes. In Nick Saban's final appearance as LSU's head coach, the Tigers were nine seconds away from a 25-24 victory over Iowa.

    Tate took the snap, dropped back to pass and threw up a prayer. You can stop reading here LSU fans.

    Holiday somehow broke free in LSU's busted coverage, caught the pass and accelerated into the end zone with no time remaining in the game. Iowa defeated LSU 30-25.

6. Boise State vs. Oklahoma (2007 Fiesta Bowl)

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    The 2007 Fiesta Bowl is easily one of the greatest games played in college football history.

    It was David vs. Goliath in an epic BCS showdown, and David took it to Goliath early. With eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Boise State went up 28-10.

    It was as if we were in a fantasy world, where smaller schools such as Boise State could reign supreme over giants like Oklahoma. Reality set in soon after. Oklahoma asserted its dominance and took a 35-28 lead with one minute left in the game.

    You know the rest of the story. A magical scene occurred. Boise State tied the game on a beautiful 50-yard hook-and-ladder with seven seconds remaining in the game. The Broncos later won the game on a Statue of Liberty in the first overtime, as they converted the two-point conversion. The Broncos won 43-42.

5. Kansas vs. Colorado (2010)

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    Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

    When Kansas faced Colorado in 2010, it reminded college football fans that it is never over until the clock strikes zero.

    Trailing 45-17 with less than 12 minutes to play in the game, James Sims and the Kansas offense turned up the intensity. Heck, that's putting it lightly.

    Kansas scored five straight touchdowns (Sims scoring three of them), with the game-winning touchdown coming with 52 seconds remaining in the game. In the matter of 11 football minutes, Kansas went from trailing 45-17 to winning 52-45.

4. Alabama vs. Auburn (2010 Iron Bowl)

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    Hollywood couldn't have scripted it any better, folks.

    Auburn was the surprise of the SEC all year long, as many presumed LSU and Alabama to be the teams to beat in the SEC. Wrong.

    Auburn went through its regular season undefeated, setting up a showdown in the 2010 Iron Bowl with a chance to play for the SEC championship on the line. How'd the Tigers react? Well, not good at first.

    Alabama jumped all over Auburn with a 24-7 halftime lead. Surely Nick Saban isn't going to let this lead slip away, right? Wrong again. Cam Newton led the Tigers back and defeated the arch rival 28-27. In terms of points, it wasn't a mind-boggling comeback, but with the weight of the situation at hand, it was truly unbelievable.

3. Michigan State vs. Northwestern (2006)

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    Say hello to the biggest comeback in NCAA history.

    38-3. That's what Michigan State had to conquer in a short amount of time. The Spartans started chipping away in the third quarter with a Drew Stanton touchdown pass with 7:03 remaining in the period.

    More touchdowns followed. A lot of touchdowns followed, actually. Michigan State scored again in the quarter and then scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 38.

    The Spartans solidified the comeback victory with a 28-yard Brett Swenson field goal with 13 seconds left in the game, giving Michigan State a 41-38 victory.

2. LSU vs. Kentucky (2002)

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    How's your mind? Blown.

    You can't just roll into this one like all others. You have to give the background of everything surrounding the field of play. Kentucky went up 30-27 and the Tigers only had two seconds to work with on their own 25-yard line.

    Game over, huh? Kentucky fans thought so. Heck the team thought so too, as they gave head coach Guy Morriss a Gatorade bath before the final play of the game.

    Marcus Randall took the snap and threw up a Hail Mary, while Kentucky fans began rushing the field. After the ball is bobbled, it somehow fell in the hands of Devery Henderson, who scored the game-winning touchdown. Kentucky fans celebrated on the field only to look up and come to the realization of what just took place. What occurred was the Bluegrass Miracle.

1. Texas vs. USC (Rose Bowl 2006)

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    At first glance, one might doubt the selection of USC vs. Texas as the No. 1 selection on this list.

    Travel down memory lane with yours truly for just a second. Let's set the stage. At the time, USC had a 34-game winning streak. Texas had an impressive streak of its own with 19 in a row.

    However, when the Trojans went up 38-26 in the fourth quarter, the game seemed over. College football fans have admitted to turning off the television at that point, as a comeback seemed improbable.

    They underestimated Vince Young. With the national title on the line, Young scored a touchdown with 4:03 left in the game to bring Texas within five. The Longhorns defense held strong and gave him the ball back. Young drove Texas into the red zone, but faced a crucial 4th-and-5 with 26 seconds remaining. Young received the snap, scrambled to the outside and sprinted into the end zone. He ended USC's iron grip on football, as Texas defeated USC 41-38.