The 5 best college bowl games in the last 40 years

Dec 31, 2015, 11:49 AM | Updated: May 19, 2016, 9:18 am
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Each year, college football fans eagerly look forward to bowl games — the reward for teams that do well during the regular season. Over the years there have been plenty of blowouts, but there have also been some incredible, amazing contests that linger in the memory of fans for decades.

To ensure you don’t miss out on any of this season’s bowls, make sure to watch and record the games with CenturyLink’s Prism TV system. While some might argue this year’s Alamo Bowl and Cactus Bowl might be one for the books, the Championship Game on January 11th should be fun to watch.

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2007 Fiesta Bowl: Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42 (overtime)

This game could be the definition of college bowl game excitement. Although the Sooners were heavy favorites, the Broncos dominated the early part of the game. Finally, in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma scored 25 straight points and took a 35-28 advantage with just over a minute to play. Boise State scored on a trick play with 18 seconds left to tie the game.

Oklahoma scored a touchdown and an extra point in overtime, and the Broncos also got a touchdown on another gimmick play. Instead of kicking the extra point to go to another overtime, Boise State opted for a two-point try and the win. The Broncos scored on another trick play — a variation of the legendary Statue of Liberty play.

During the post-game festivities, Bronco running back Ian Johnson proposed to his girlfriend, Boise State’s head cheerleader, on live TV at the 50-yard line. A Hollywood script writer could not have devised more drama.

CenturyLink_TV_Bowl_Games (1)1997 Rose Bowl: Ohio State 20, Arizona State 17

Jake “The Snake” Plummer quarterbacked the Sun Devils to a No. 2 ranking prior to the game. A win would likely mean a national championship for ASU. Most experts agreed OSU had less talent, but they managed to hold a lead for much of the game. ESPN notes ASU took a 17-13 advantage in the fourth quarter when Plummer scampered for an 11-yard touchdown with 1:40 remaining. But sophomore backup Buckeye signal caller Joe Germaine led a 65-yard drive and threw a touchdown pass to Davis Boston with 19 seconds left to secure the victory.

CenturyLink_TV_Bowl_Games (2)1984 Orange Bowl: Miami 31, Nebraska 30

The top-ranked Cornhuskers were 12-0 coming into the game. Averaging 52 points a game, some were calling them the greatest college team ever. The Hurricanes were up for the challenge and led 17-0 after the first quarter. Miami QB Bernie Kosar had his team ahead 31-17 in the fourth, but Nebraska rallied with two touchdowns to get them within a point.

Instead of kicking the extra point to tie, Cornhusker coach Tom Osbourne elected to go for a two-point conversion attempt that failed.

“We wanted an undefeated season and a clear-cut championship. I don’t think we should go for the tie in that case. It never entered my head.”

CenturyLink_TV_Bowl_Games (4)1980 Holiday Bowl: BYU 46, SMU 45

This bowl game had no real national significance, but because of a late fourth-quarter comeback by the BYU Cougars, it has ever after been called the “Miracle Bowl” and ESPN ranks it fourth on its list of all-time best bowl games. BYU scored 21 points in the final 2:33 and secured the school’s first-ever bowl win with no time on the clock. Some college and professional legends played in the game, including Jim McMahon, Eric Dickerson and Craig James. Footballnation.com reports “McMahon’s 433 yards and MVP performance in a game that is still one of the best of all time after more than 30 years.”

CenturyLink_TV_Bowl_Games (5)1980 Rose Bowl: USC 17, Ohio State 16

Legendary USC coach John Robinson upped his Rose Bowl record to 3-0 with this win. With USC trailing 16-10, in the final drive Trojan running back Charles White gained 70 yards on six carries, reports rosebowlhistory.org. White ran roughshod over the Buckeyes in the game, racking up 247 yards in 39 carries. The win kept Ohio State from an undefeated season and a national championship.

Some years there are no memorable bowl games. For 2015, there were a few nail biters. Make sure you don’t miss any of the action with CenturyLink’s Prism TV system.

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Flint Stephens, Writer for Brandforge

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The 5 best college bowl games in the last 40 years