Well, the championship game was a disappointment. I lost $15 (I bet one more person than I remembered), and the game wasn’t even close. Ohio State’s 84 yards of total offense made overcoming Florida’s offensive onslaught an impossibility. The Gator defensive line dominated all night long, and Troy Smith never remembered how to throw on the run (I told you they should have given the Heisman to Vince Young). The first quarter loss of Ted Ginn, Jr. didn’t help the Buckeyes, either.
I can’t really say I enjoyed this season of college football as much as 2005. The “Bush Push” USC-Notre Dame game and the “Vince Young vs. USC” national championship will forever be etched in my memory. Still, there were some games I’ll remember in the years to come. To close out the season, here are my five most memorable matchups of the year:
5. Michigan State 41, Northwestern 38. This game was great for its historical significance rather than its importance to the course of the season. Michigan State overcame a record deficit of 35 points to beat the Wildcats, kicking the final field goal with 0:18 left on the game clock. The next weekend the Spartans were dominated by Indiana, but hey, at least they made history!
4. Texas 22, Nebraska 20. This game was played in snow. Sophomore walk-on Ryan Bailey kicked the game-winning field goal for the Longhorns with 0:23 on the clock after Nebraska foolishly fumbled away an upset. Vince Young was walking the sidelines. Those elements make for a pretty awesome game.
3. Auburn 27, Florida 17. A week after falling to Arkansas, the Tigers rebounded with a primetime thriller. Down 11-17 off of a safety and two field goals, Auburn’s defense lifted the team, which never scored an offensive touchdown, over the national-champions-to-be in the second half. Any game where ne’er-do-well Tre’ Smith flips into the end zone for a touchdown (congrats on the Pontiac Game Changing Performance, Tre’) is an instant classic. I still believe God was on our side that night.
2. Florida 17, South Carolina 16. South Carolina sent scares into a lot of SEC opponents this year, but none was as big as their near-upset in Gainesville. Spurrier’s Gamecocks were a field goal away from ruining the Gators’ title game hopes when Jarvis Moss blocked Ryan Succop, who has the funniest name of any kicker in the nation. The block wouldn’t be noteworthy were it not for Moss’ block of an extra point and another blocked field goal in the first half. Steve Spurrier probably threw a visor out of the stadium afterwards.
1. Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42. I missed all but the opening minutes of this one. From what I’ve heard, this one ranks up there with the wild finishes of history. With 1:02 left in the game, Oklahoma returned an interception to go up by a touchdown. With 0:07 left, Boise State scored on a hook-and-ladder play from 35 yards out. After a Sooner touchdown in overtime, Boise State scored and decided to go for two. They brilliantly executed the backyard football-esque Statue of Liberty play to win. To top it all off, Bronco tailback Ian Johnson proposed to his girlfriend on national television moments after scoring the winning conversion.
To all the people who read this column during the season, thank you. I appreciated all the comments, positive and negative, that many of you posted at the ends of my articles. Have fun waiting for August to arrive!