Over the years there have been games you just knew would go down in history. Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary to lead Boston College past the Miami Hurricanes in ’84. The infamous Stanford-Cal game that saw the Golden Bears win with the help of the Cardinal band in ’82. So, which games in recent history will be remembered in another 30 years as the best of the era?
The BCS was invented with the hopes of having at least one game like this every year. A shining example of what great college football should be, the game featured two top teams and some of the best players to ever take the field. Toss in six lead changes, late game heroics, and nearly 500 yards of offense from Vince Young and you have a bonafide modern classic. Now if Vince Young and Matt Leinart can turn into the pros everyone thought they’d be when they came out of college then this game will become all the more legendary.
Boise State Broncos vs. Oklahoma Sooners (43-42 Boise State)
It’s hard to get much more exciting than this game was. Big, bad Oklahoma was supposed to show that little upstart with the blue field what big time college football is all about. However, it ended with a series of exciting plays from both squads culminating with a throw back play from their Pop Warner days, the good ol’ Statue of Liberty. If Boise State continues to be one of the best teams in the nation year in and year out this will be remembered as the game that announced their presence with authority!
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Miami Hurricanes (31-30 Notre Dame)
Notre Dame has been involved in so many classic contests it is hard to pick just one. I almost went with the 1990 Colorado-Notre Dame contest that ended with Raghib Ismail returning a punt for the apparent winning touchdown until it was called back because of a penalty. If only the Rocket hadn’t fizzled in the pros (hard to believe he played ’til 2001). The 1988 game with the Hurricanes was actually more exciting and led to the Irish eventually being crowned National Champs; oh yeah—the nickname rocked, ‘Catholics vs. Convicts.’
I like this one because it featured two of the best college football coaches in recent history. Steve Spurrier had to sully his reputation by going to the NFL and then South Carolina, but when he was with the Gators he was one of the best. Bobby Bowden is an institution unto himself; he made Florida State football. One of the many great games these two played had to show up on the list. I went with this one not just because of the 28 point fourth quarter effort to tie the game but because it ended without a loser placing the focus on the tremendous game by both amateur teams.
#1 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #2 Michigan Wolverines (42-39 Ohio State)
Many games like to lay claim to this title, but few can legitimately hold the honor; well, this game is legit. A heated rivalry played annually is bound to create a few classics like this one will surely become. Both were undefeated, both were in the hunt for a national title, and both featured some of the best players in the game as well as two of the top coaches. Ohio State got out to a big lead in the first half, 28-14, but had to fight hard to hold it as the Wolverines rallied with 25 second half points to make the game close in the end.