Top 15 Best College Football Games in History | 2022 Ranking

Maybe you needed another reminder: College football is an unpredictable sport. That makes this sport so enjoyable, even how bass-ackward it may be at times due to the way it is run.

We’re currently missing out on the fun. The 2015 season does not begin for another three months. At times like this, we scratch the itch by recalling some of the game’s finest moments.

Alternatively, in this situation, the games themselves. That’s how this topic came to be. Ranking all-time games are always difficult, but we believe we have a good mix of old and new games, shootouts and defensive difficulties, nail-biters, comebacks, and unbelievable endings. Everything was on the table, from regular-season games to national titles.

Here are our picks for the best college football games in history, which have have done proper research on with factors that stood out.

Who Votes on the College Football Playoff Rankings?

The College Football Playoffs selection committee consists of 13 people. It is made up of persons who have worked as coaches, players, college administrators, athletic directors, and journalists. The following are the members:

  • Rob Mullens (chair) (Oregon athletic director)
  • Gary Barta (Iowa athletic director)
  • Frank Beamer (former Virginia Tech head coach)
  • Paola Boivin (Arizona State professor)
  • Joe Castiglione (Oklahoma athletic director)
  • Ken Hatfield (former head coach at three FBS schools)
  • Chris Howard (Robert Morris president)
  • Ronnie Lott (Former Southern California All-American)
  • Terry Mohajir (Arkansas State athletic director)
  • Ray Odierno (Former United States Army Chief of Staff)
  • R.C. Slocum (former Texas A&M head coach)
  • Todd Stansbury (Georgia Tech athletic director)
  • Scott Stricklin (Florida athletic director)

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What will the Committee use to Rank Teams?

Members of the Selection Committee will have a range of material to aid their judgments, including a study of video, data, and their own expertise.

They will place a premium on obvious indicators like win-loss records, schedule strength, conference titles won, head-to-head outcomes, and performances against common opponents.

The playoff group has hired Sport Source Analytics to equip the committee with a data platform. It will also feature general information such as the record of each team’s opponents.

The platform will enable committee members to compare and contrast each squad on every imaginable level.

It should be highlighted that the committee will not rely on a single data point, such as the RPI, which is utilized for NCAA championships.

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What Makes a Game “The Best Game in History”

No. 1 vs No. 2

Some of the matches saw the top two teams in the AP Poll going up against each other, which only occurred 31 times in the whole 20th century. The continuation of a winning streak is frequently at stake, and the victor typically takes home the national title.

The notion of two powerhouse teams on a winning streak going up against one other, sometimes known as “the irresistible force meeting the immovable object,” makes for a spectacle that is rich in drama and intrigue.

Despite the fact that the Bowl Title Series was established with the intention of staging a game between the two best teams in the country at the conclusion of each season, a BCS championship game does not always qualify as the “The Best Game in History” If it weren’t the case, then every single championship game would deserve to be called ” The Best Game in History.”

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Great Players

Individual performances may make all the difference in a close game of college football, despite the fact that the sport is played as a team competition.

They give the Heisman Trophy to the athlete who is regarded as the best in his sport. Another recurring motif in the “Best Game in History ” is a top player having the finest game or best play of his career.

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Unexpected outcome

There is no guarantee that the winner of the ” Best Game in History ” will come out on top.

One thing that draws people to sports is that the results are never known until after the game has been played. The game will stick in your mind if it has a thrilling conclusion.

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Top 15 Best College Football Games in History

Whether it’s a massive upset, a game-winning field goal as time expires, an incredible Hail Mary throw or a fantastic defensive stand or play, a surprising play, or a historical conclusion, the best games of all time will always be remembered. We can’t get enough of gorgeous finishes.

Here are our picks for the top 15 most memorable final college football plays of all time (at least those that resulted in an extra point).

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1. Texas 41, USC 38 (Jan. 4, 2006) 

This takes the top spot on our list of best college football games in History. They made not all BCS national championship games equal. The 2005-06 national championship game between Texas and USC is undoubtedly one of the finest games of the BCS era, if not the best, in terms of star power on the field and finish.

The Trojans had a 34-game winning streak, headed by Heisman Trophy winners Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. The USC dynasty was at its pinnacle at the time.

Longhorns quarterback Vince Young, on the other hand, had other ideas. He had 467 yards of total offense and scored the game-winning touchdown on 4th-and-5 with 19 seconds left.

From start to end, and with the Rose Bowl as the backdrop, this is one of those timeless games.

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2. Auburn 34, Alabama 28 (Nov. 30, 2013)

Auburn’s fortunes nearly ran out in 2013—and I don’t mean that negatively. A team may be good while also having things fall into place. The Tigers were simply more emotional about everything. This is why this made it on our list of best college football games in history.

No event in Auburn’s 2013 national championship game run was more dramatic than the Iron Bowl versus Alabama in what is now known as the “Kick-Six” game. Auburn rallied from a 21-7 deficit in the second quarter, finally trading touchdowns with the Tide to tie the game at 28 with less than one minute remaining.

T.J. Yeldon of Alabama ran what appeared to be the last play of regulation out of bounds, but head coach Nick Saban fought for one second on the clock so that he could try a game-winning field goal. He received his request, but not the desired outcome. Auburn’s Chris Davis blocked Adam Griffith’s 57-yard field goal attempt, who was waiting in the end zone. Auburn won by a score of 34-28 after Davis returned the kick 100 yards the opposite way.

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3. Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42 (Jan. 1, 2007) 

The 2007 Fiesta Bowl was a game for all of college football’s underdogs and is one of the best college football games in history.

Undefeated Boise State was unable to acquire recognition in the BCS rankings, so it had to earn it in the Fiesta Bowl versus college football powerhouse Oklahoma.

After taking an early lead, the Broncos saw their 18-point advantage evaporate in the second half. With one minute remaining, Boise quarterback Jared Zabransky threw a pick-six, giving the Sooners a 35-28 advantage.

But that’s when the magic happened. Boise State would call three of college football’s most iconic plays back-to-back: The hook-and-ladder in overtime, the halfback-option pass, and the Statue of Liberty in regulation.

To top it all off, Broncos running back Ian Johnson proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend immediately following the victory.

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4. Miami (Fla.) 31, Nebraska 30 (Jan. 1, 1984) 

The Orange Bowl between Miami (Fla.) and Nebraska in 1984 will be remembered as the game in which Cornhuskers coach Tom Osborne elected to try for two points rather than a tie—and failed.

During Osborne’s career, the Huskers had many outstanding teams, but the 1983-84 squad was one of his greatest. Turner Gill, Irving Fryar, and Mike Rozier were among the players on the roster. With Howard Schnellenberger, Miami was just beginning its football dynasty.

Nebraska fell early in the game but fought back throughout. A score in the game’s closing minute brought the Huskers to within one point. Instead of going for the tie, Osborne went for two. He desired an outright victory. However, Gill’s ball was intercepted in the end zone, and the Hurricanes’ dynasty had begun.

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5. Ohio State 31, Miami (Fla.) 24 (Jan. 3, 2003)

There has been no more contentious pass interference call in recent memory than the one called in the 2003 BCS national championship game between Miami (Fla.) and Ohio State.

In overtime, the Hurricanes led 24-17, and the Buckeyes faced a game-changing 4th-and-3. Glenn Sharpe, a Canes defensive back, intercepted an Ohio State ball. The game is done.

But it wasn’t over yet. While Miami players rejoiced, a late flag fell on the field. Sharpe, please pass interference. Maurice Clarett, the running back, scored two plays later. In the next overtime series, Ohio State would defeat the star-studded Hurricanes to claim the national title.

This game is one of the best college football games in history.

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6. Boston College 47, Miami (Fla.) 45 (Nov. 23, 1984)

On this late November night at the Orange Bowl, the term “Heisman moment” may have been coined. Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie, who won the honor in 1984, secured his position in college football history with an all-time Hail Mary versus Miami (Fla.).

With six seconds remaining, Flutie took the snap, raced backward, and sent the ball 64 yards to Gerard Phelan. “Hail Flutie” was born as a result. A game worth remembering as one of the best college football games in history.

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7. Cal 25, Stanford 20 (Nov. 20, 1982) 

The old five-lateral play is up there with the finest in terms of unlikely endings. That is why The Big Game between Cal and Stanford in 1982 is regarded as one of the best games in college football history.

It has, at the very least, one of the most recognizable finishes.

Cal returned a squib kick for a score with barely seconds remaining, eluding tacklers and Stanford band members alike. You won’t find a more memorable call than Joe Starkey exclaiming, “Oh, the band is out on the field!”

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8. Notre Dame 35, Houston 34 (Jan. 2, 1979)

This game is one of the best college football games that no one should forget. We’re a little behind the times in terms of news, but we think this Joe Montana kid from Notre Dame has a chance in the NFL.

Do you require proof? Return to the 1979 Cotton Bowl between Notre Dame and Houston. During a chilly Dallas day in early January, the Cougars led 34-12. Montana’s return was even more spectacular, given that she was sick with the illness.

However, it appears that a bowl of chicken soup at halftime was all he need. (The game was called “The Chicken Soup Game” later on.) Montana contributed to Notre Dame’s 35-34 victory by scoring 23 points in the fourth quarter.

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9. Alabama 14, Penn State 7 (Jan. 1, 1979) 

One of the best goal-line stands in college football history occurred on one of the grandest venues.

The 1979 Sugar Bowl between Alabama and Penn State, the country’s top two teams, was a defensive battle. The Tide won the game on a dramatic goal-line stand against the Nittany Lions’ rushing onslaught, which was fitting.

According to, legendary play-by-play announcer Keith Jackson made the memorable call: “Penn State is fourth down and a foot away from a likely national title. Fusina extends his hand to Guman. He did not survive! He did not survive! Alabama made an incredible goal-line stand!”

One landmark series, two renowned shows. The 1979 Sugar Bowl is regarded as one of the greatest bowl games of all time.

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10. Miami (Fla.) 17, Florida State 16 (Nov. 16, 1991)

Perhaps no rivalry had more fuel in the 1990s than Miami’s fights with Florida State. Even though they were not yet ACC opponents, the Florida schools were at the top of the collegiate football globe.

One of the series’ most noteworthy games was the first “wide right,” in which Seminoles kicker Gerry Thomas missed a game-winning field goal. This game is typically one of the best college football games in history.

Fans had no idea “Wide Right” would truly be “Wide Right I,” with other editions to follow. There would also be a “Wide Left,” further compounding Florida State’s woes against the Hurricanes.

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11. Colorado 27, Michigan 26 (Sept. 24, 1994)

You can’t get much better than two Associated Press Top 10 teams meeting in an early-season game, especially when it comes down to the last play.

One of the more memorable finishes in the last 25 years occurred at Ann Arbor between Michigan and Colorado when both teams were near the top of the college football world.

Down 26-21 in the dying seconds, Colorado quarterback Kordell Stewart threw a 64-yard Hail Mary throw that was tipped and landed in the hands of Buffs receiver Michael Westbrook. The play was afterward dubbed “The Miracle at Michigan” and one of the best college football games in history.

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12. Florida 31, Florida State 31 (Nov. 26, 1994)

Yes, there are more Sunshine State rivalry goodies on our top-15 list. This time, it’s the 1994 game between Florida and Florida State, dubbed “The Choke at Doak.”

FSU erased a 31-3 lead with a 28-point fourth-quarter rally to equal Florida for the largest comeback in NCAA history. The two teams would play again in the Sugar Bowl, as they did in 1996. Though FSU couldn’t finish the comeback for a win during the regular season, it carried on in the bowl game.

In New Orleans, the Seminoles defeated the Gators 23-17. This classic is unarguably one of the best college football games in history.

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13. BYU 46, SMU 45 (Dec. 19, 1980)

There was a time when the Holiday Bowl was a major event when BYU and SMU were national powers. All of those variables came together in a perfect storm-like fashion in the 1980 Holiday Bowl, which is regarded as one of the finest comebacks in college football history.

The Mustangs featured Eric Dickerson and Craig James in the backfield, while the Cougars had quarterback Jim McMahon. With four minutes remaining and SMU leading 45-25, McMahon led the Cougars to 21 straight points on three touchdown passes, one onside kick, and a blocked punt.

It remains one of the most unlikely comebacks and best college football games ever.

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14. LSU 33, Kentucky 30 (Nov. 9, 2002)

This was a heartbreaker.

LSU needed a miracle after falling behind Kentucky 30-27 on the road. The Tigers scored one in the form of a Hail Mary, a deflected throw from quarterback Marcus Randall that Devery Henderson grabbed for a 74-yard touchdown.

Kentucky, on the other hand, had already celebrated by dousing head coach Guy Morriss with Gatorade. Wildcats supporters stormed the field after the touchdown, believing they had won—but they hadn’t. The Bluegrass Miracle was complete.

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15. Harvard 29, Yale 29 (Nov. 23, 1968)

Lastly on our list of best college football games in history is Harvard vs Yale. There was a time when the Ivy League reigned supreme in college football. Harvard-Yale was at the center of that cosmos. One of the series’ most memorable games ended in a draw, of all things.

This is one of the few occasions where one team “won” a draw. Later, the 1968 tie between Harvard and Yale would be dubbed “Harvard defeats Yale 29-29.”

This is due to the Crimson scoring 16 points in the final 42 seconds to avert a defeat to their old adversary.

Yale entered the contest with a 16-game winning streak and was rated nationwide in the AP poll.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the biggest comeback in college football history?

Michigan State vs. Northwestern:
Date: Oct. 21, 2006.
Deficit: 35 points.
Score: 38-3.
Time remaining: It is 9:54 in the third quarter. Michigan State not only completed the largest comeback in FBS history in October 2006, but they did so in less than 25 minutes.

What’s the loudest stadium in college football?

A list of the 50 “loudest” college football stadiums in history was unveiled. LSU is the top-ranked team, followed by Penn State, Texas A&M, Washington, and Tennessee.

Has there ever been a 2-0 football game?

In addition, there have been five 2-0 games in NFL history in which only safety was scored. None have occurred since the Chicago Bears defeated the Green Bay Packers 2-0 in 1938.

Has a college football game ever ended in a tie?

Since then, college football has created tiebreaking rules; the last tie game at the highest level was on November 25, 1995, between Wisconsin and Illinois.

Who has the best fans in college football?

LSU. When you travel down to Baton Rouge on a Saturday night, you consider yourself lucky to have escaped with your soul, let alone a healthy (or even triumphant) football team.
Ohio State
Notre Dame

What is the richest college football team?

Texas Tied for Richest College Football Program:
1. Texas (Tie) – $147.
Texas A&M (Tie) – $147M.
Michigan – $139M.
Alabama – $134M.
Ohio State – $132M.
Oklahoma – $129M.
Georgia – $125M.
Notre Dame $120M.


These are the top 15 Best College Football Games in History. Like it or not these games were monumental and deserve a rewatch once in a while. See why we truly love this game.



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