Best College Football Games Ever Played

These are the types of discussions that get sports fans arguing constantly, but they are fun since it is only opinion. I am sure that the ones listed will reflect personally on that fan's team, as well it should. To be considered truly great, the game should be for the highest stakes (with one exception) and with a great finish. Upon this premise, I will proceed with my picks.

Category One - Games Not Involving My Team in Chronological Order

1) 1969 Texas 15 Arkansas 14

Dubbed the "Big Shootout", this one pitted Darrell Royal and Frank Broyles. Arkansas went out to a 14-0 lead, but Texas used a 4th down 44 yard pass to a little known TE named Randy Peschel in the final drive. This game pitted the Texas wishbone against the Arkansas veer.

2) 1971 Nebraska 35 Oklahoma 31

The shame of college football is that this great rivalry is not played anymore. This was a back and forth contest pitting the best two teams. Nebraska scored via a Johnny Rodgers punt return and four Jeff Kinney runs to hold off Oklahoma's vaunted wishbone (believe it was Mildren, Pruett, Crosswhite etc).

3) 1991 Miami 17 FSU 16

This was the first of the "wide right" games that jinxed Bobby Bowden, as Miami cost him several national titles. The entire roster of each team seemingly were pro prospects. This was a great game for at least ten years during this period.

4) Jan 2003 Ohio St 31 Miami 24

This was an overtime thriller in the Fiesta Bowl for the BCS Title. Ohio State was a decided underdog, but gave the talented Hurricanes fits to win a close one. The Buckeyes were aided by a questionable interference call.

5) Jan 2006 Texas 41 USC 38

My bet for the best game ever. This was played in the Rose Bowl for the BCS Title. It featured Regie Bush, Matt Leinert, Vince Young and a whole host of future pros. It went back and forth from the get-go, with Vince Young scoring on a 4th down run late to secure the win. One of the few games that I wanted to go on forever.

6) Jan 2007 (the exception) Boise St 43 OU 42

This Fiesta Bowl was the game that made Boise State a brand name. The heavy underdog Broncos came back from double digits late to force OT, and then pulled out every trick play known for the win. The game ended on a statue of liberty run for a two point conversion.

Category Two - Games Involving My Team

I know this may seem funny, but I have not included the three national title wins (96, 06, 08) in this due to the lack of a dramatic finish.

1) 1997 Florida 32 FSU 29

I was in the Swamp for this thriller. It was the only time in the Spurrier Era where I walked into the stadium knowing a loss was coming. The Head Ball Coach shuttled QBs Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise, and the Gators moved the ball on the Number 1 Seminoles (they were really good that year). FSU jumped to an early lead, scoring on a Fred Taylor fumble, but Taylor returned the favor by scoring on a 50 yard run. After a Sebastian Janekowski FG to make a four point game (still remember his mocking chomp), the Gators scored in three plays. It was the loudest I have ever heard the Swamp.

2) Dec 2008 Florida 31 Alabama 20

You cannot have a list without the SEC Title Game or Tebow, and this one had both. This was Saban's second year and the Tide was unbeaten going into the game. After a tight first half, Bama used that patented running game to seemingly take control of the game. However, Tebow willed his team to victory with two clutch fourth quarter TD drives. It was the happiest I ever was coming out of a stadium.

The two games that made me sick were Lindsay Scott (still cannot watch the play today) and Georgia in 1980 and the choke at Doak in 94 when FSU rallied to tie the Gators scoring 28 points in the 4th quarter (thankfully, no OT at the time).

I do believe that the game last Saturday absolutely belongs on this list.
Original Post
#1 Game of the Century, 1971 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma.

The late great Beano Cook said it well, They can quit playing college football now, they have played the perfect game.

#2 1969 Texas vs. Arkansas

#3 1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State

#4 1987 Penn State vs. Miami

#5 2006 Texas vs. USC

#6 2003 Ohio State vs. Miami

#7 Game of the Century II 1987 Oklahoma vs. Nebraska

Still thinking about my final three votes. Wink

scbeerman, you are correct about OU vs Nebraska. These teams won 4 out of the first 6 National Championships in the '70's. Even though the sheer arrogance at Texas killed this and the Texas vs Texas A&M series after 100+ years, OU and Nebraska will resume playing in 2021. Cool
I forgot about that Miami win over Nebraska as that was an incredible game. That win started the Canes run of four titles in the next ten years. Tom Osbourne could have kicked the PAT to tie the game and get voted #1, but he went for two and Miami stopped it. Good one.
One game that should be included is the 2006 match-up between #1 Ohio State and #2 Michigan. With eventual Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith leading the way, the Buckeyes won 42-39.

This was the first game I can remember where there was a lot of talk about a rematch for the BCS Championship Game (which of course didn't happen).
Originally posted by Rob_Sutherland:
Originally posted by irwin:
How about the 1984 game where Doug Flutie's Hail Mary pass beat Miami?
Miami had gone ahead with a touchdown and Boston College got the ball on its own 22 yard line with 28 seconds to go.



1975 Georgia Tech v Notre Dame
Originally posted by Dick Tree:
One game that should be included is the 2006 match-up between #1 Ohio State and #2 Michigan.

This was the first game I can remember where there was a lot of talk about a rematch for the BCS Championship Game (which of course didn't happen).

Thankfully it didn't happen as Florida clobbered the Ohio State for the NC and USC dominated Michigan in the Rose Bowl. These clearly were not the best two teams that year (which is why I despise NC match-ups with two teams from the same conference). That was a good game though.

Although it broke my heart, the 06 Rose Bowl was my all-time favorite. The 97 Ohio State vs. ASU Rose Bowl was a pretty good one, too.
I know lots of games have been touted as "the game of the century", but around here, that title generally alludes to the 1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State game which ended in a 10-10 tie, where ND went on to claim the AP National Title, even though both teams finished 9-0-1. Neither team played in a bowl game that year, as Notre Dame refused bowl game invites prior to 1969 (my, how times have changed), and Michigan State could not go to the Rose Bowl because the Big Ten had a rule that you couldn't go to the Rose Bowl two years in a row, and Sparty had already gone the previous year.

Pretty much any time you have #1 playing #2, you have a "game of the century".

But as far as entertainment goes, I may be a homer, but you would be hard-pressed to beat BOTH Michigan State vs. Wisconsin games last year.

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