College Football Classics: Ranking the Top 10 Games of the Last 10 Years
Part II of the Series: The top 10 games of the last 10 years
These are the games that college football enthusiasts know exactly where they were when it was played. Some of the outcomes changed the landscape of college football as we now know it. Once you get into the presentation, if the smallest of things change then a lot could be different.
- Top 10 QB's
- Top 10 RB's
- Top 10 WR's
- Top 10 National Champions
- Top 10 Coaches (5+ years coached in 10 year span)
Everyone will have a different opinion, which is exactly what this is intended to do. It makes for great conversation.
Let the debate continue!
5 for 5: Mad Hatter and LSU Convert 4th Downs to Down Florida
Before he was eating grass, he sealed his Mad Hatter mantra in this game.
Second Quarter: Ryan Perrilloux 1-yard touchdown run.
Third Quarter: Fake field goal to set up Keilan Williams' 4-yard touchdown run
Fourth Quarter: First, lets start off by saying that the fact it is the fourth quarter has so much irony, it is not even worth delving into.
Flynn 4-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Byrd (10:15 remaining)
On their own side of the field with seven minutes remaining and needing two yards, Jacob Hester bulldozed through and got a first down, by half the length of a football.
On the Florida 6 yard line—third down—Hester, needing one yard, does it again.
I guess the Tigers were tired of all the drama, on Hester's 23rd carry of the night, on almost the same play that had successfully worked twice before, he scored on third down from two yards out.
That's right, the thing the first five plays had in common, they were all on fourth down.
Only Miles, down three, on the Florida 6 yard line, gives the ball to the MVP of the game and probably the season, Jacob Hester.
By the end, even the LSU defense wanted Miles to roll the dice. It was just that much fun. I would say it's Les Miles world and we are simply living in it, but I don't think he is on the same planet as the rest of us.
Pandemonium in Piscataway: Rutgers Upsets Louisville with Last Second FG
Do you remember when Louisville was pretty good with Brian Brohm at the helm, and Bobby Petrino as coach? Yeah, Kragthorpe kind of made me forget also.
But on this Thursday night in 2006, the Louisville Cardinals brought their No. 3 ranking and undefeated record into Piscataway, N.J. to face off against a Heisman Trophy candidate, Ray Rice, and his undefeated Rutgers squad. Their was something special brewing in Rutgers Stadium that night.
Louisville was coming off of a 10 point victory over West Virginia, that had vaulted the Cardinals into the National Championship race. Out of the gate things seemed as though the championship contender was handling business, as it jumped out to a 25-7 lead with a 100-yard return by Jajuan Spillman, in the first half.
That's when the Scarlet Knights just kept chopping the wood and the No. 2 defense in the nation stood strong and didn't allow the high power Cardinals offense another point.
Jeremy Ito connected with a 28-yard last minute field goal, and the win propelled head coach Greg Schiano to most of the National Coach of the Year awards, and it put Piscataway on the map.
Rutgers lost to Cincinnati and West Virginia later in the year but closed out the campaign with the first bowl game win in school history over Kansas State in the inaugural Texas Bowl.
Louisville finished 12-1, won the Orange Bowl and Petrino left for the a short stint in the NFL.
But none of it mattered that night, and on Nov. 9, 2006, Rutgers Stadium replaced Turner Field as the Chop Shop and all 42,000 people showed their appreciation by storming the field, providing one of the most memorable images of the decade.
The Grandaddy of Them All: Texas Beats Michigan to Win 2005 Rose Bowl
This game may be remembered more for setting the stage for the next season. But who cares, it was amazing to watch.
Harrell to Crabtree: Texas Tech Stuns 'Horns with No Time Left
When Harrell went to Crabtree there was no doubt in my mind that he would find the end zone. Mike Leach was his coach after all, and if there is anything I have learned while watching Les Miles, it is that Mike Leach isn't far behind when it comes to pushing the limits and getting away with it.
In the year of the Big 12, this game topped them all.
I think the video says it all.
Razorbacks Upset Top Ranked LSU in 3 OTs: LSU Still Wins National Championship
A beautiful game. An outstanding player. A coach who didn't lose in regulation. A loss by the eventual National Champion, in the last game of regular season. This one had as much in it as any game I have ever witnessed, except for another game on this list (spoiler alert).
Miles had played with fire all season, Florida, Auburn, 3 OT loss to Kentucky and then the best of them all.
With a Glenn Dorsey led defense, Arkansas put up 515 total yards, 383 on the ground and 206 coming from the dynamic Darren McFadden.
What makes the game all that more crazy is that it was in front of 93,000 LSU fans. With the score at 50-48 and LSU forced to go for two, it almost seemed like the rules would bend and the Hatter would have had the option to go for three. It was that kind of season for LSU.
It didn't matter though, as Flynn threw an interception and the game was over. After this game it was questioned whether Miles would leave for Ann Arbor. If Rich Rod and the Mountaineers handle business in the backyard brawl, there may never have been the three year destruction at Michigan. Chaos ensued and then Miles came away with a National Championship, and remained at LSU.
But on that Black Friday, the Wild Hog cemented itself in Arkansas and college football lore.
The Bush Push: Leainart and USC Beat Notre Dame with a Little Help
Funny part about this game is that it is the best win of the Charlie Weis era—in a loss.
All of the pregame "Game of the Century" talk was actually not that far off.
After Brady Quinn put the Irish on top with a touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining, the Green Jersey's that Notre Dame wore for the game seemed to be working their magic as Leinart was sacked for a loss of 10 yards on second down.
Leinart then completed a 11 yard pass to Bush to give the Trojans fourth and nine on their own 26-yard line, with only 1:32 left in the game. The next 1:32 is why this game is so ingrained in our memories.
Leinart knew that he had Dwayne Jarrett was in single coverage and the throw was nothing short of perfect—it was down the sideline to Jarrett barely over the arms of Irish cornerback Ambrose Wooden all the way down to the Irish 13-yard line.
Heisman winner Reggie Bush rushed twice to take the ball to the Irish 2-yard line. Leinart then scrambled toward the sideline, where Irish linebacker Corey Mays caused a Leinart fumble out of bounds. Time was stopped on the field with seven seconds left to play. The Notre Dame scorekeeper however let the clock run to double zeroes.
If it had only stayed that way for the Irish faithful. But, the seven seconds were restored and what happened next was one of the most memorable and criticized play in college football history.
The last play of the game, known simply as "The Bush Push," it appeared as though Leinart had been stopped by the Irish, and that's when Mr. Bush comes into play.
Touchdown. Excessive celebration. Missed Extra Point. Trojans win 34-31. Win vacated. Irish still haven't recovered.
It had that much of an impact.
The Mountaineers Have Just Beaten the Michigan Wolverines
Tebow's groundbreaking Heisman. LSU winning all games in regulation. LSU loses their last regular season game and still wins the National Championship with two losses. None of it beats the first game of 2007, when those boys from Boone, N.C. went and beat the Michigan Wolverines in the biggest stadium in the country.
2007 was a special year for great games. But, this one set the stage.
FCS powerhouse Appalachian State went into the Big House to play the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines. There is no rhyme or reason to any of it. Michigan opens up with the biggest upset in the history of college football and closes by beating Heisman trophy winner, Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators.
I was excited, as was the rest of the nation got to experience Armanti Edwards. As a Georgia Southern Eagle, he made life hell for us in the Southern Conference. In a division that sports names like Jerry Rice, Brian Westbrook and Walter Payton, Armanti Edwards was as dynamic a college player as there was...
It was on full display on that September day.
The call and sheer emotion is incomparable.
The Call: Ohio State Interferes with Canes Hope for a Repeat
Miami's 2001 team was possibly the most loaded team of all time. If you don't believe me, look at any NFL roster. The 2002 team just reloaded and Ken Dorsey was provided another great running back named Willis McGahee. Larry Coker basically brought a lawn chair and pina colada to each game and watched with the rest of America as Miami disposed each team on it's schedule with not much difficulty.
Meanwhile, behind some quarterback named Craig Krentzel and a freshman running back, Maurice Clarett, the Buckeyes found a way to win each game. It wasn't pretty, but they got it done.
This all setup an unbelievable mismatch on paper in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
Nobody seemed to tell Ohio State. In the second overtime, Miami thought it is had stopped Ohio State after a pass to Gamble is incomplete. But then, what seemed like 30 seconds after the play, a yellow flag flies out: Pass Interference. Clarett then runs for a 5-yard touchdown.
Ohio State holds strong and Ken Dorsey's final attempt was incomplete. Buckeyes are National Champs.
Even more ridiculous is that 58 of the 100 players that appeared in the game went on to play in the NFL.
Statue of Liberty: Boise State Goes for 2 and Shocks Oklahoma
Where to start with this one? In my annual Bowl Pick'em I put my most confidence points on this game and Oklahoma. I have never been so happy to wrong in my entire life. This is one of those games where you know exactly where you were when the last minute transpired.
If you were drunk, there was a possibility you sobered up for just a minute and remembered it the next morning.
I knew when I got to the top two games I would be at a loss for words, because this kind of stuff doesn't even work in the backyard, much less against one of the best teams in the country.
Oklahoma scored 25 unanswered points to take its first lead, with just over one minute remaining in the game with pick-six from Broncos quarterback Jared Zabransky.
The teams combined to score 22 points in the final 1:26 of regulation and 15 points in OT.
With 14 seconds, Boise State ran the most improbable hook and lateral in history to perfection.
In the first overtime trailing 42-35, Boise State put quarterback Zabransky in motion, while backup wide receiver Vinny Perretta, lined up as a running back, took the snap and threw a touchdown pass to tight end Derek Schouman to bring Boise State within one point at 42–41.
Then the Statue of Liberty—Zabransky hands it to Ian Johnson to complete the conversion and do the improbable.
Three trick plays to win a BCS game over the Oklahoma Sooners. Then a proposal by none other than Ian Johnson.
Vinsanity: Vince Young Propels Longhorns over Mighty USC
The greatest college football game and most dominant performance by a single individual in a championship game that I can remember.
There is no point in doing a play by play on this game, because if you love or even like college football then there is nothing I can say that you don't already know. This is one year there didn't even need to be a BCS, because everyone knew who the two best teams were. Their stars—Bush, Young and Leinart—were the Heisman finalists and both teams dominated the regular season.
Then Vince Young outplays them and leaves it all on the field. If it was Tennis we would call it Federer-like, if it were soccer we would call it Messi-like, because he did it so effortlessly. With some foolish plays by USC and some big stops by the Longhorn defense, VY simply took over. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. I don't know if I ever will.
This game had two powerhouses and all three Heisman finalists. It left one team left standing and one man left to thank.