If you don’t already know, college football is unpredictable. When this game is played the wrong way at times, even though it’s fun.
We’re not having fun right now. This year’s season starts more than three months away. This happens when we look back at some of the best parts of the game to feed the itch.
Or, in this case, the games. That’s how this subject came to be. When it comes to ranking all-time games, it can be hard. We think we have a good mix of older and newer games, shootouts and defensive battles, nail-biters, comebacks, and improbable endings. Everything, from regular-season games to the national championships, was being thought about.
If you agree with us, these games have to be some of the best in the history of college football, right? Right.
Ohio State 42, Michigan 39
Today, it doesn’t seem like 10 years ago that Ohio State and Michigan were fighting for a spot in the national championship game.
People said that even though Ohio State won, they should play each other in the national championship game again. This would be a matchup between two of the best teams in the country. (Of course, this wasn’t true. There is a good chance that Ohio State would lose the national championship and that Michigan would lose to USC in the Rose Bowl.
The game also had high stakes. There had never been a time in the rivalry’s history when both teams were ranked No. 1. The Buckeyes took an early lead and kept Michigan at bay for the rest of the second half, which was a good game.
Colorado 33, Missouri 31
Many of the games on this list get attention because of what was at stake. If the national championships or major bowl wins were at stake, they were usually at stake. Because of an officiating mistake, the 1990 game between Colorado and Missouri is on this list, but not because it was a great game to watch.
The “Fifth Down Game” was born.
Colorado was down 31-27 to Missouri at the end of the game. They had a 1st-and-goal in the last minute of the game. When the Buffs threw the ball away and tried to run, they called their last timeout. However, the chain crew didn’t change the down, and the officials didn’t know about it either way. Another run and another spike didn’t work out. After that, Colorado ran the ball for a touchdown on a quarterback sneak.
Even the question of whether he crossed the goal line or not was a hot-button subject. When the Buffs got an extra point and scored, they won 33-31.
Baylor 61, TCU 58
When it comes to rivalries, Baylor-TCU has a lot of history that isn’t talked about as much as it should. The show has become more dramatic and relevant to the country in recent years, though. When the Bears beat the Texas Longhorns 50-48 in Waco in 2011, it made Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III a real contender for the Heisman (he would go on to win the award that year).
But even that game couldn’t be better than what happened three years after that.
After being down 58-37 with less than 12 minutes to go, Baylor scored 21 unanswered points in about seven minutes to tie the game and win the game. After Chris Callahan kicked a 28-yard field goal with time running out, the Bears came from behind to beat the Vikings.
Adding to the drama, Baylor and TCU both won the Big 12, but neither made the first playoff field.
Florida State 18, Nebraska 16
When Nebraska and Florida State played for the national title in the 1994 Orange Bowl, neither Tom Osborne nor Bobby Bowden had a national championship ring. This is very unusual. He came out on top. It was a nail-biter right up until the end.
When the game was close to over, Byron Bennett hit a field goal for the Huskers to give them the lead. However, the next kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Seminoles a good field goal chance. He then made a field goal with 21 seconds to go, giving FSU an 18-16 lead.
When the clock ran out, Bennett missed a 45-yard field goal that would have won the game for Nebraska.
Texas 15, Arkansas 14
Those were the good old days. Texas-Arkansas was one of the first rivalries that was lost when the conference was reorganised. In 1969, the two played in a game that was called “Game of the Century.” This was one of many games that had that title. They played in 1969.
The Razorbacks had a 14-0 lead going into the fourth quarter, so they were going to win. Even so, the Longhorns scored a touchdown and made a two-point conversion, which made the game 14-8. Head coach Darrell Royal didn’t want to go for the tie, though. It was fourth down with less than five minutes to go, and Texas decided to go for it. They threw a pass that would lead to the game-winning score.
Richard Nixon then said that Texas was the national champion (back when national champions were announced before bowl season), much to the annoyance of Penn State, who had not lost a game.
Auburn 43, Georgia 38
There are times when you need a good luck charm. Auburn got a few of these as it made its way to the BCS championship game in 2013. One of them came in mid-November, one game before the “Kick-Six” (more on that later).
On 4th-and-18, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall threw a “Hail Mary” pass to Ricardo Louis. He had just a few seconds left and was down by one point. The ball was actually thrown, which turned out to be a good thing. The ball was tipped, and it fell right into the hands of Louis, who ran the rest of the way for a 73-yard score.
Auburn had a big lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs scored 21 straight points. It was, however, one of the best catches of the season.
The band played on: Nov. 20, 1982, California 25, Stanford 20
A last-minute drive by John Elway, a field goal, a squib kick, five laterals, and then a touchdown must be on any list of the best football games ever played. It was more than that. Stanford’s marching band thought it had won the game when California kept the play going with laterals. Finally, the last player to touch the ball ran over a trumpet player as he made his way to the end zone for an unlikely victory.
God only knows if any of this would have made a difference in today’s world of instant replays and do-overs, but it’s hard to say. But that’s not the fault of anyone who played in this weird football moment.
Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 2, 1987: Penn State 14, Miami 10
In the end, Miami had 445 yards more than Penn State, but only 162. There were five interceptions in the fourth quarter by the Penn State defence, including the game-winning one by LB Shane Conlin. Vinny Testaverde was tricked into throwing five of them, including the game-winning one. This may have been a case of a great team getting too much attention. Almost all of the people who know a lot about football thought that Miami was going to beat Penn State. Las Vegas had them favoured by at least eight points, too.
It can be hard not to be sucked into the sensationalism at some point. Joe Paterno is a master at this kind of thing. It cost Jimmy Johnson his second national title while giving Joe Paterno his second at State College.