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Midweek Musings: All-Time Favorite Games

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Continuing with the theme of all time favorites, this week a staff member reflects on his favorite games of all time, and asks the audience to do the same.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Last time I mentioned a list of my all-time favorite players, the players that inspired my love for college football and then I asked all of you to list your all time favorites! This week I wanted to reflect on the games that had a similar impact on me. The games that showed me college football is second to none in terms of excitement. I'm going to list the top 10 games that I consider my all-time favorites, the ones that I will never forget. The criteria for this list is as follows:

  • Do your best to not list 10 games that were played by a single team during the same season. For example, do your best not to put 10 games that TCU played last season, unless of course...they were your all-time favorite games.
  • The games have to be ones that were played during your life time. The Stanford vs. Cal game where the band ran onto the field will always be considered one of the most memorable college football games ever, but alas I can't include that one since I was not alive to watch it.
  • Try not to make this a list of strictly, your all-time favorite TCU games, because that is a list for another day.

Alright, here are Jamboogie's all time favorite college football games.

10) 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic

#7 Michigan State - 42

#5 Baylor - 41

I always enjoy talking about a Baylor loss. What was arguably the most ironic game of the entire season, where Baylor blew a 20 point lead to Michigan State, and gave up 21 unanswered points to the Spartans in  the 4th quarter. When Michigan State blocked a Baylor field goal and proceeded to annihilate Baylor kicker Chris Callahan, with 1:15 remaining in the game, I jumped out of my seat and did a full split in the air. I pulled my groin, but oh man was it satisfying to see Michigan State score the go ahead touchdown with 17 seconds left on the clock. While I was rooting for the Big 12 to win as many bowl games as possible, I was more than okay with the way that this game played out.

9) 2010 Iron Bowl

#2 Auburn - 28

#9 Alabama - 27

You can't deny that the SEC has had some of the most memorable games of the 2010's so far. Say what you will about the Kick 6, or the shootout from last year, this Iron Bowl was the best. Referred to as the "Cam-Back" this game had it all. Alabama came out swinging against the Tigers, rolling up the score 21-0 by the end of the first quarter. The game had a mean atmosphere before the first kickoff, when "Take the money and run" was played through the speakers of Bryant-Denny. I remember being able to hear the crowd chant, "scam" over and over and over again whenever Newton was on the field. Down 24-3 at half, I thought, "well Auburn, you had a good run" but I was a little premature with that thought. I'll never forget the fourth down pass to Darvin Adams on the game winning drive. Coming out of half time down 24-3, Auburn outscored the Tide 21 to 3 in the entire second half. Newton threw 3 beautiful touchdown passes and ran for another during the course of the entire game. Given the scandal that had just gotten so much attention, and the jaw dropping finish, it's safe to say that this is my favorite Iron Bowl so far.

(P.S. Gene Chizik will forever go down as the coach that least deserved a national championship).

8) 2012 SEC Championship Game

#2 Alabama - 32

#3 Georgia - 28

All you need to know about this game in two words: Five Yards. First off let me say that the Big 12 is my favorite conference by a long shot, but those of you that absolutely despise the SEC should just watch this game and appreciate it. This game wasn't only the best game in the SEC, it was the best game of the entire 2012 season. This was essentially what the national championship game should've been. This was one of very few games where both teams executed on offense, defense, and special teams and it resulted in an amazing game of football. The first quarter ended with a classic SEC score of 0-0. Then in the second, Georgia took the lead, but Alabama scored 10 unanswered to go into the half with the lead. In the third Georgia went up by 11 thanks to a blocked field goal, but the Tide answered back with a touchdown followed by a two point conversion that would eventually be a huge factor in their win. More lead changes in the fourth, with Alabama making the final score of the game on an A.J. McCarron 44 yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper. At this point I felt like I was going to vomit from the intensity and suspense. With 1:08 left in the game, Georgia took over from their own 15 yard line. The Bulldogs drove all the way down to the 8 yard line and with 9 seconds left Aaron Murray threw a pass that would be tipped by an Alabama defender, and caught by WR Chris Conley unexpectedly. Conley couldn't get out of bounds and was tackled five short yards from the goal line. I was rooting for Georgia like there was no tomorrow during this game, but I won't deny the high level of football that was played by both teams and how exciting it was to watch.

7) Arkansas @ LSU (2007)

Arkansas - 50 (3 OT)

#1 LSU - 48

Remember when I said that Darren McFadden was one of my all time favorite running backs? Well this was the game that cemented his spot on that list. The Arkansas Razorbacks went into the house of the number one team in the country, on the last game of the regular season, and came out victorious four hours later. Those that were watching the game could see the effect that the Death Valley Crowd had on opposing players, when McFadden fumbled the opening kickoff. However, D-Mac would get the last laugh. McFadden rushed for 206 yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, he threw the ball SIX times, and even threw a 34 yard touchdown pass. This game was close from start to finish with the final play being an LSU two point conversion that was picked off by Matterral Wilson. Winning in Death Valley is one the toughest asks in all of college football, and when considering who was on that LSU defensive squad, my mind is even more blown by the heroics of McFadden.

6) Texas @ Texas Tech (2008)

#7 Texas Tech - 39

#1 Texas - 33

Weird things happen in Lubbock, but this was the best thing that has ever happened at Jones AT&T Stadium (excluding the opinion of Texas fans). The words of Brent Musburger, "CRABTREE BREAKS FREE" still echo in my mind to this day. Crabtree made one of the greatest catches of all time, a game winning TD, and created a verb all in one play. This game was a match up of two teams that had yet to taste the sting of defeat that season. The Red Raiders struck first taking a 19-0 lead and things started to look comfortable for Texas Tech. That is until Colt McCoy led the Horns back to take a 33-32 lead. Alas, with 1:29 to go, the Horns left too much time for Pirate Captain Mike Leach to swing his sword. On the last play I thought that Leach would just try to settle for a field goal, but Crabtree had other plans. Six plays later, the most Texas Tech thing possible happened. The ball is snapped with 8 seconds to go, Michael Crabtree catches the ball at the 5 yard line with 4 seconds left, proceeds to tell a Texas defender to stick the eyes of Texas where the sun don't shine, and then explodes into the endzone with 1 second left. The crowd rushes onto the field despite there still being a second left on the game clock, but nobody cares. Bottom Line: the Crabtree catch will always be one of my all time favorite moments in sports.

5) TCU @ West Virginia (2012)

TCU - 39

#23 West Virginia - 28

To be fair, I watched this game before I knew that I'd be taking my talents to Fort Worth, but I knew that TCU had finally made the move to a power 5 conference, taking Texas A&M's place in the Big 12. It was also West Virginia's first season in the Big 12, replacing Mizzou after their departure to the SEC. The quarterback for the Mountaineers was a player by the Name of Geno Smith, a Heisman hopeful early in the season. The opponent, a 6-3 Horned Frogs squad that started out 4-0, but had gone through some drama off the field since then. The Frogs were led by redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin (a future Heisman hopeful). This game was the first in a series of close contests between these two teams. Some highlights included:

  • A touchdown pass thrown by WR Brandon Carter (RIP).
  • A muffed punt returned for a TCU touchdown.
  • A 94 yard TD pass to Josh Boyce.
  • Tavon Austin housing a punt for a WVU touchdown.
  • An interception by Jason Verrett.
  • Jason Verrett blocking a field goal to send the game into double overtime.

However, the most memorable play was when Gary Patterson decided that it was time for the game to come to an end, one way or another. After scoring a touchdown in the second overtime, the Frogs decided to go for 2 instead of kicking the extra point and trying a third overtime. The next play, Boykin rolled out to his right and threw a low ball to Josh Boyce. Boyce (arguably) caught the ball, bringing the game to an exciting end. This game may not have been a title game nor a match up between two ranked teams, but this game was a perfect representation of how fun a college football game can be to watch.

4) 2007 Fiesta Bowl

#9 Boise State - 43 (OT)

#8 Oklahoma - 42

This game was nothing short of magical. The Horned Frog in me wanted to put the 2011 Rose Bowl in this spot, but frankly this game was the first time that I remember where the little guy took down the big guy. Boise State jumped out to 28 to 10 lead, Oklahoma scored 18 unanswered (who was led by one Adrian Peterson)...then a pick 6 let Oklahoma take the lead with 1:02 left. But the Broncos would not go quietly into the night. Driving down the field and on 4th down and 18 yards to go from the fifty yard line...audiences were given the hook and lateral. That was the first real trick play that I had ever seen. When Boise State scored that touchdown with 7 seconds left, I couldn't comprehend what had occurred. I knew it was possible to lateral the ball backwards, but I had never seen it designed into a play like that. I didn't go through that thought process that fast, so my 11 year old brain could only come up with two words, "Holy Sh*t" and that wasn't even the end of the game. Just like in the previous entry on this list, Boise State head coach Chris Petersen decided that it was time to end the game. The ever so famous Statue of Liberty showed that Boise State had one more surprise in its bag of tricks. Oh and the post game was even more sweet, when the player who scored the winning 2 point conversion, proposed to his girlfriend right after the Broncos pulled off the unforgettable win.

3) Texas A&M @ Alabama (2012)

#15 Texas A&M - 29

#1 Alabama - 24

Tears have come out of my face only twice during a college football game and both of those games happen to be on this list. The first time was when A&M's Deshazor Everett picked off A.J. McCarron in the end zone with 1:29 left in the game. This was the game where Johnny Football became a name known nation wide. November 10, 2012 became known as the day that Johnny slayed the Dragon. Jumping out to a 20-0 lead over Alabama, the Aggies looked like they were in full control. Destiny even appeared to be on Manziel's side after he completed one of the greatest plays in college football history. However, one does not simply stroll into the heart of dixieland and expect an easy contest. Alabama started their comeback slowly but surely, blanking the Aggies for two quarters. It was 20-17 at the start of the 4th quarter, but A&M scored a touchdown with about 8 minutes left. There it was...the light at the end of the tunnel...which was quickly extinguished once the kicker missed the extra point. It was at this moment that I was reminded of A&M's numerous 4th quarter chokes from the prior season. "Well somethings never change" I thought to myself. However the Aggies were able to outplay the Tide in the final minutes of the game. Alabama scored to make it 29-24 and then got the ball back with plenty of time to drive for the winning score. The Tide drove the ball all the way down to the goal line, but the Aggies made an epic goal line stand. It was 4th and goal on the two yard line, with only 1:28 left to go. I wanted to hide my eyes, but I just couldn't bring myself to look away. McCarron throws the ball, but the A&M defense made the biggest play of the game and intercepted the ball (forcing an incomplete would've been just as acceptable). Tears came out of my face from shear disbelief, "OH MY GOD THEY DIDN'T CHOKE" I screamed from second story of my house. This game was a program defining win for A&M, and a game that would come to define the college career of Johnny Manziel. Yes Alabama went on to win the national championship that year...but I'll talk about that more in a bit. (Somewhere Marshall is rolling his eyes at this, sipping on whiskey, and watching old episodes of Mad Men).

2) Oklahoma @ Texas Christian University (2014)

#25 TCU - 37

#4 Oklahoma - 33

Games that caused Mason to break down and cry, Volume 2. Coming off a 4-8 season, I had thought that the Frogs would finish at best 9-3 in the conference, but expected more of a 7-5 season. Thankfully I was wrong. During the off-season Patterson went out and acquired offensive minds, Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie, to install the Air Raid offense and be rid of any offensive woes for the Frogs. It paid off immensely. The Frog offense became fun to watch again, and we were actually scoring points! After getting to 3-0 on the season, the Frogs clawed back into the bottom of the polls and were ranked at 25. It was time for conference play to start, and despite playing hot, the first opponent that the Frogs would be facing was a Sooner team that was hyped as a national title contender. Few things other than that game were on my mind during the week leading up to the showdown. We were about to see how good the Frogs really were. Kickoff was at 2:30 pm (CT) and the game was also that year's white out. The student section was HYPED. It was packed and I had to stand sideways on the front row for a majority of the game, but we were loud and it was worth it. With LaDanian Tomlinson there to support his old team, this game just felt like it had everything necessary to be an instant classic before the game even started. Now to talk about the actual game.

The Frogs leaped out to a 14-0 lead in the first, but the Sooners tied it up after two deep balls (the first of many that season) and the game was tight from that moment on. Oklahoma briefly took the lead in the 3rd, but the Frogs were able to respond right back with a touchdown of their own. The game was tied 31-31 at the start of the 4th, and then the longest quarter of all time took place. Within the first minute of the quarter, Paul Dawson made arguably the biggest play of his career, picking off Trevor Knight and taking the ball to the house. The crowd is losing it and I am an emotional wreck with a very horse voice at this moment. Once again though, the extra point gets blocked and Oklahoma returned it for 2. Our defense was playing beyond clutch in the final fifteen minutes, so all our offense had to do was play smart and run down the clock. (Heavy exhale) then memories of last season reared their head when Boykin fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Sooners with 6:55 left. With the crimson and creme on our twenty-one yard line I almost counted the Frogs out of the game, but the defense would not let us go quietly. Two plays later, Chris Hackett jumped in front of the intended receiver and intercepted Trevor Knight on the 10 yard line. I shamelessly admit that I was crying tears of premature joy after this play. Oh my God were we actually going to pull off the upset? Yes, but the game was not over yet, because that would've been to easy for my mental health. LITERALLY THE NEXT PLAY, B.J. Catalon fumbles the ball after running for a first down, once again recovered by Oklahoma at around the 45 yard line. "Eff me" I remember saying, it just seemed like we were not meant to win this game. The Sooners made it to our 21, but the salty Frogs defense made three stops to force a fourth down. So many emotions and thoughts were going through my mind right before this play. It was 4th and 1 and I was praying for a stop. Hand off to Samaje Perine, Marcus Mallet takes out his legs for no gain, turnover on downs. I lost all control of my body, jumping up and down, flailing my arms in all directions.

"Just get the first down" I kept repeating the phrase over and over in my head. TCU goes three and out and punts the ball with only fifty two seconds left. Oklahoma gets to our 45 with five seconds remaining and the Carter was doing everything it could to bring the noise. Ball is snapped, three hours seemed to pass before the ball left Knight's hands. Ball is thrown out of the left of the end-zone, and the game is over. We stormed the field, and announced to the world that the Frogs are back! I lucked out and somehow ended up next to Paul Dawson on the field right as we sang the alma mater. Few moments have topped wrapping my arm around Paul's shoulder pads and screaming the final, "T-C-U" of the alma mater. Did that Oklahoma team turn out to be over hyped? Yes, but I would like to think that it was the Frogs epic win over that team that really put them into a slump that season. This game has absolutely been my favorite game that has taken place in the Carter.

Game that always makes me laugh) 2013 BCS National Championship Game

#2 Alabama - 42

#1 Notre Dame - 14

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA It was 35-0 before Notre Dame scored in the third quarter.

1) 2006 Rose Bowl

#2 Texas - 41

#1 University of Southern California - 38

In what is considered to be one of the greatest college games of all time, if not THE greatest, this game had it all. Yes this feels a little bit like a cop out, but I credit this with being the game that really pushed me to become a die hard college football fan. I remember seeing on TV, once it was announced that it would be Texas facing off against the Trojans in the title game, that the Horns would not be able to put up a fight against the Trojans. It appeared that a lot of people were ready to dismiss Vince Young and his team before the game even started. Ironically, Reggie Bush won the Heisman as Young finished as the runner up. USC had a 34 game winning streak entering that night in January. The Rose Bowl is only twenty eight minutes from USC's coliseum, so the title game was essentially in the Trojans' back yard. This game had it all, celebrities on both sides, high profile players, stellar offensive & defensive lines, and two Heisman finalists. If you haven't watched this game, stop what you are doing, set aside two and a half hours and watch it.

I won't go into detail too much on this game, because well then I'd have to do a play by play of the entire four quarters. USC led 24-23 at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Trojan defense could do nothing to stop Vince Young. Texas opens up the quarter by missing a field goal, then USC drives for a touchdown, and then the fumble/not a fumble controversial call led to a Longhorn field goal. USC scored again, taking a 38-26 lead with 6:42 to go. Texas gets it back to a one possession game with about 4 minutes left, and USC gets to the Texas 45 yard line. Now I don't blame Pete Carrol for going for it on 4th down, since 2 yards and a first down would have all but guaranteed the win. Then a moment that often gets overlooked took place, due to the 4th and 5 play, but the stop that the Texas D got on this play led to the magic that happened next. With only 2:09 left in the game, Vince Young took over and drove down the field. His calm demeanor during this drive made you think that he knew something that we didn't. I've never seen a player with more quiet confidence. You know what happens next, 4th and 5 on USC's 14 yard line and Vince Young runs untouched for the touchdown. Texas gets the 2-point conversion and USC just doesn't have enough time to comeback. Then we get the immortal image of Young standing in front of the crowd as the confetti falls.

This game left me in awe, the noise of the crowd, the big players, the big gambles, the winning drive in the final seconds, and the overall excitement of the game had an impact on me when I was only 10 years of age. Without that game, I don't know if I come to love the sport like I do now. Sadly, this game led to the Texas fan base becoming one of the most obnoxious and bandwagon fan bases of all time. A fan base that still somehow is made up of a majority of fans that are beyond pompous and believe they are entitled to competing for a title every year. Although, after the run from 2005-2009 I don't blame them too much, but c'mon it's time to accept that the talent pool is a lot more spread out and a title winning team takes time to build.

Great games like these leave us with memories that will last forever. Now it is your turn! Again, I want to hear from you the readers, FOW staff, and general fans of the sport. What are your top ten all time favorite games? You don't need to write a novel for each as I have, just a list of 1 to 10 and the name of the bowl games/who played in the games with the years.