The 4 Biggest BCS-Era Fiesta Bowl Upsets: Does Boise State Earn Top Honors?

Zac WatneCorrespondent IIDecember 21, 2011

The 4 Biggest BCS-Era Fiesta Bowl Upsets: Does Boise State Earn Top Honors?

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    There have been many great Fiesta Bowl games since the inception of the BCS, but which was the greatest of them all?

    With non-AQ (automatic qualifiers) team breaking into the national spotlight in Arizona, there is bound to be at least one surprise victory on the list, but where do they fall?

    There may not be a consensus among all sports fans, but one game stands out above them all as the biggest Fiesta Bowl upset of the BCS era. Come see which matchup takes the top spot. 

#4: No. 6 Boise State Beats No. 4 TCU, 17-10, 2010

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    In a rematch from the previous year’s Poinsettia Bowl, these two conference champions clashed again with BCS eyes on them in the first-ever BCS game played between two non-AQ teams.

    Boise State had been a part of a dramatic victory three years earlier against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl and again came out victorious, this time against an unbeaten TCU squad that was looking for it’s first BCS victory.

    The Broncos relied on a key trick play when Boise State’s punter, Kyle Brotzman, threw a 30-yard pass on 4th-and-9 to help lead to Boise to a go-ahead touchdown in the final quarter.

#3: No. 9 West Virginia Beats No. 4 Oklahoma, 48-28, 2008

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    Not only did the Mountaineers beat a team ranked five spots ahead of them (and as seven-point underdogs), they did so by plastering the Sooners with 48 points, while accumulating 349 rushing yards.

    This 20-point victory came on the heels of then-head coach Rich Rodriguez accepting a position at the University of Michigan, something that many thought would distract the Mountaineers in this matchup.

    That proved not to be the case and West Virginia pulled away from Oklahoma with 28 points in the second half.

#2: No. 8 Boise State over No. 10 Oklahoma, 43-42, 2007 (Double OT)

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    Though there are many that may disagree with this game not being No. 1 on this list, the stakes for this game simply do not reach that of the top pick in this category.

    Trick plays highlighted the ending of this game as Boise State eked out a victory and carved their own piece of BCS history by shocking Adrian Peterson and the Sooners in double overtime.

    Though this was not the first time a non-AQ had come out victorious in the Fiesta Bowl (Utah beat Pittsburgh 35-7 in 2005).

    Oklahoma was a much more formidable opponent than Pitt was for Utah, and this game was the catalyst for the Broncos breaking into the national spotlight.

#1: No. 2 Ohio State Beats No. 1 Miami, 31-24, in 2OT, 2003

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    The defending champs from Miami entered the 2003 national championship game on a 34-game winning streak.

    It took two overtimes for the Ohio State Buckeyes to squeeze out a victory.

    This was Ohio State’s first national championship since 1970 and served to help revitalize the program under Jim Tressel, who's since departed.

    It is hard to top the first national championship game to go into overtime.

    The game featured power running from Maurice Clarett (Buckeyes) and Willis McGahee (Hurricanes) and solid defense highlighted by Ohio State’s four play goal-line stand on their own 2-yard line in the second overtime.

    Though more recent games are easier to remember, and thus placed on a higher pedestal, the Ohio State victory over a powerhouse Miami program rightfully earns top honors in BCS era Fiesta Bowl upset lore.