The wild affair that occurred in Pasadena yesterday at the Rose Bowl immediately goes into the record books as one of the top five all-time great college football bowl games. Numerous records were set and, when all was said and done, the USC Trojans outlasted the Penn State Nittany Lions, 52-49, in a game that lasted nearly four-and-a-half hours.
Nobody will ask me, but I list this game as the third all-time greatest game in college football history. The number one game was the 2007 Fiesta Bowl in Arizona when the upstart Boise State Broncos stunned the legendary famous Oklahoma Sooners, 43-42, in overtime. It wasn’t so much that the Broncos won the game…that would have been enough of a shocker. It was how they won it. Trailing the Sooners, 42-35, Boise State pulled a trick play to score a touchdown and pull to within one point of sending the game into a second overtime. Broncos coach, Chris Petersen, decided he wanted to end the game right then and there. Using the old “Statue of Liberty” play, the Broncos caught the Sooners napping and won the game.
Second on my list of top five games is the 2006 Rose Bowl between Texas and USC. That is when Longhorns QB Vince Young scored a touchdown on the final play of the game to give Texas a 41-38 win over the Trojans.
Last night’s game goes down as number three. USC trailed Penn State, 49-35, going into the fourth quarter. The Nittany Lions were the best team in college football scoring fourth quarter points. The Trojans defense not only shut them down, they shut them out! Matt Boormeester, the junior place-kicker for USC, had missed two field goals that would have made the game a lot less exciting. He got redemption, however, as he drilled the game winner from 46 yards out to cap an unbelievable comeback.
Number four on my list was the 2003 BCS championship game where Ohio State defeated Miami of Florida, 31-24, in double overtime. The game was tied, 17-17, at the end of regulation. Each team scored a touchdown in the first overtime. There was a controversial pass interference call that led to the second overtime when Buckeyes RB Maurice Clarett scored to give Ohio State the lead. Miami had a first and goal but could not score the tying TD and the Buckeyes prevailed.
Finally, the game that is forever being called “The Chicken Soup” game: the 1979 Cotton Bowl (certainly a classic!) between Notre Dame and Houston. This was the signature game for Irish QB Joe Montana. Because of unusually cold weather in Dallas, Texas (the city had its worst ice storm in 30 years), the Cotton Bowl game was adversely affected. Montana had the flu and remained in the locker room at half time and, supposedly, had a bowl of chicken soup. He rallied his health and came back out to lead the Irish to an improbable 35-34 win over the Cougars.
Well, those are my top five college football bowl games of all time. I would love to hear what yours are!