USC vs. Texas and the Top 10 BCS Bowl Games of the Past 10 Years

Nikhil BaradwajSenior Analyst INovember 24, 2011

USC vs. Texas and the Top 10 BCS Bowl Games of the Past 10 Years

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    Over the past 10 years, there have been some epic BCS bowl games. Even though many sports fans despise the current system, many of these games have produced magical moments that are unforgettable.

    From Vince Young's scamper into the end zone to win the 2006 Rose Bowl to the epic "Statue of Liberty" drawn up by Boise State's Chris Petersen, BCS bowl games have been the site of some of sports' greatest moments.

    This article assesses the greatest BCS bowl games of the past 10 years.

10) TCU vs. Wisconsin (2011 Rose Bowl)

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    Heading into the game, nobody was giving Andy Dalton and the TCU Horned Frogs respect. Many ESPN analysts were predicting that Wisconsin's superb running game headlined by John Clay and Montee Ball would win this game for the Badgers.

    However, the Horned Frogs had other plans.

    TCU took a 14-10 lead with 36 seconds remaining in the first quarter and did not relinquish their lead for the rest of the game. The big play of the game occurred in the fourth quarter with two minutes remaining, when Tank Carder swatted away Wisconsin's two-point conversion attempt, keeping the score at 21-19.

    The Horned Frogs went on to win the game by that score.

9) Texas vs. Ohio State (2009 Fiesta Bowl)

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    Texas fans felt robbed after the Oklahoma Sooners made the national championship game, even though the Longhorns beat them at the Red River Rivalry. With the No. 3 ranking in the BCS, Colt McCoy and company had to settle for the Fiesta Bowl.

    Texas led for most of the third and fourth quarters before yielding a 15-yard Boom Herron touchdown run with 2:05 remaining. The rest of the game is history.

    Colt McCoy led his Longhorn offense down the field and shocked the Buckeyes with a 26-yard strike to Quan Cosby to win the game for Texas 24-21.

8) Ohio State vs. Arkansas (2011 Sugar Bowl)

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    On December 22nd in 2010, several Ohio State football players—including Boom Herron, DeVier Posey and Terrell Pryor—were found to have traded autographs for tattoos, therefore violating NCAA policies. However, all three played in this January thriller.

    After taking a 28-10 lead at the end of the second half, Ohio State needed to withstand an epic Arkansas comeback, which was almost capped by a blocked punt, which should have been scored by Alex Tejada, who inexplicably just fell on the ball instead of scoring an easy touchdown.

    Unfortunately for Razorback fans, Ryan Mallett threw a interception to end the game, giving Ohio State a 31-26 win.

7) Penn State vs. Florida State (2006 Orange Bowl)

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    This game centered around the two greatest coaches in Division I history: Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden. Penn State headed into the game as heavy favorites, due in part to their No. 3 ranking in the BCS in comparison to Florida State's No. 22 ranking.

    This Orange Bowl classic is remembered for the many missed field goals between the two kickers, as both missed chances in the first overtime.

    After the Seminoles' kicker missed a 38-yard attempt, Penn State's Kevin Kelly hit a 29-yard field goal in the third overtime, giving the Nittany Lions a 26-23 win.

6) Auburn vs. Oregon (2011 National Championship Game)

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    Oregon vs. Auburn was one of the most hyped national championship games in recent memory, as both teams were easily the two best in the country and possessed two of the most dynamic players in Cam Newton and LaMichael James.

    At the end of the first half the score was 16-11, highlighted by Cam Newton's beautiful 35-yard touchdown pass to Kodi Burns.

    With 2:33 left in the game, Darron Thomas found Jeff Maehl to tie the game on a two-point conversion, putting the game and ball in Cam Newton's hands.

    Following this comeback spawned one of the most bizarre plays in college football history. 

    Michael Dyer, Auburn's freshman running back, looked to be apparently down after a six-yard gain, but he promptly stood up and instead ran for 30 more yards. Auburn slowly moved down the field and won the game with a field goal as time expired, closing out a 22-19 win.

5) West Virginia vs. Georgia (2006 Sugar Bowl)

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    Heading into this game, nobody was giving the West Virginia Mountaineers a chance against the SEC-proven Georgia Bulldogs. I mean, the game was being played in the Georgia Dome. Man, they were wrong.

    The Mountaineers jumped out to a shocking 28-0 lead to begin the second quarter, only to see Georgia cut that lead to 17 to end the first half.

    However, Steve Slaton's Sugar Bowl record-setting night of 204 yards and three rushing touchdowns silenced the pro-Georgia crowd and gave the Mountaineers a stunning 38-35 win.

    The key play happened when West Virginia punter Kyle Brady converted a fourth down with 1:36 remaining, therefore eliminating Georgia's chance at tying or winning the game.

4) Texas vs. Michigan (2005 Rose Bowl)

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    Heading into this contest, many thought that the Aaron Rodgers-led California Golden Bears were snubbed a Rose Bowl bid when the Texas Longhorns were given their place instead. This Rose Bowl represents Vince Young's coming out party in its truest sense.

    To open the second half, Young scored on a 60-yard touchdown run, putting the Longhorns up 21-14.

    However, Chad Henne hooked up with both Steve Breaston and Braylon Edwards and along with a field goal, the Wolverines led 31-21 heading into the final quarter.

    Young gave Texas the lead with 4:56 left, only to see his lead evaporate after Garrett Rivas' field goal with 3:04 left. However, Young led Texas down the field, setting up for a 37-yard field goal by Dusty Mangum to win the game 38-37.

    Young had a startling five touchdowns on the game, including four on the ground along with 192 yards rushing.

3) Ohio State vs. Miami (2003 Fiesta Bowl/National Championship)

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    Miami was considered unbeatable heading into this contest, having won a national title and 33 straight games over those past three seasons. However, a young Jim Tressel proved everyone wrong when he lead Ohio State to a 24-21 win in an epic overtime thriller.

    The Hurricanes kicked a field goal as regulation expired, putting the game into overtime at a 17-17 deadlock.

    With the Buckeyes trailing 21-14 in overtime, the game appeared to be over after Craig Krenzel's pass to Chris Gamble appeared incomplete, causing Miami players to storm the field.

    However, pass interference was called, and Ohio State later scored on their possession. After freshman stud Maurice Clarett scored in the second overtime, Miami failed to reach the end zone, turning the ball over on downs to end the game.

    This game is also famous for Willis McGahee's gruesome left knee injury in the fourth quarter, which not only might have cost Miami the game, but it also lowered his draft stock in that year's draft.

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

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    This game is probably the greatest upset in BCS bowl history. Nobody thought Boise State had a chance at Oklahoma, who had All-American running back Adrian Peterson healthy and better than ever.

    But the Broncos hung tough after losing an early lead and triumphed over the Sooners 43-42 on a shocking two-point conversion in overtime.

    With 1:02 remaining in the game and the scored tied at 28, Jared Zabransky inexplicably threw a "Pick 6" to Marcus Walker, giving Oklahoma a 35-28 advantage after the Sooners had tied the game only 24 seconds before. 

    Instead of faltering, Boise State scored on a stunning 50-yard "hook and ladder" touchdown on 4th-and-18, sending the game into overtime.

    However, things got even crazier.

    With Adrian Peterson scoring on the first play of overtime, Boise State responded with a touchdown of their own. Instead of kicking the field goal, Chris Petersen drew up a "Statue of Liberty" play, winning the game on a two-point conversion 43-42 in overtime.

1) Texas vs. USC (2006 Rose Bowl/National Championship)

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    Possibly the greatest game in college football history.

    From the Heisman controversy, where many believed that Vince Young should have won the Heisman over Reggie Bush, to the Trojans' quest at winning a third straight national championship, this game had it all. This game was even legendary Keith Jackson's last game as a college football announcer!

    While the game went back and forth throughout, the fourth quarter was truly legendary. Reggie Bush reached the end zone for the first time to open the period, giving the Trojans a 31-23 lead.

    After the Longhorns made the lead five, Matt Lineart found Dwyane Jarrett, giving the Trojans a 12-point lead with 6:42 remaining. This is when Vince Young came alive.

    Young scored on a 17-yard touchdown run with just over four minutes remaining, making the lead five once more.

    With a 4th-and-2 on their 45-yard line and only 2:09 remaining, Pete Carroll gambled and lost, giving Young over two minutes to score the game-winning touchdown.

    After methodically moving his Longhorns down the field, Young scored on one of the most iconic plays in college football history. I'll let you watch and hear Keith Jackson's call.

    In the end, the Longhorns won this epic game 41-38, stunning the pro-USC crowd.

Your Opinion

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    What are some other games that you think should be on this list? Do you think the order is wrong?

    Respond in the comments section.