Anything can happen in college football. Rankings have always been more art than science. Upsets in the big bowl games are bound to happen. Here are some of the greatest ever.
1998 Alamo Bowl
No. 3-ranked, 11-1 Kansas St. vs 8-4 Purdue didn’t look like a promising match. But the Boilermakers had a secret weapon: QB Drew Brees. Purdue won 37-34.
2006 Rose Bowl
The No. 2 Texas Longhorns beat No.1 USC 41-38. The Trojans had a 34 game winning streak and were thought to be unbeatable. But Texas QB Vince Young turned in one of the most awesome performances in college football history.
1984 Orange Bowl
Behind QB Bernie Kosar, No. 4 Miami defeated No. 1 Nebraska, 31-30. This is the game best remembered for legendary Cornhusker coach Tom Osborne’s classy, but doomed, decision not to kick an extra point that would have tied the game 31-31, going for a 2-point conversion instead.
1987 Fiesta Bowl
This was one of those years when nobody was supposed to be able to touch the Miami Hurricanes. But Joe Paterno led defensive powerhouse Penn State to a 14-10 stifling of the ‘Canes in a game that put the Fiesta Bowl on the map.
2003 Fiesta Bowl
The No. 2 Ohio St. Buckeyes defeated the No. 1 Miami Hurricanes, 31-24 in double OT behind the running of QB Craig Krenzel (19 carries, 81 yards, 2 TDs). While it isn’t usually such a huge upset when No. 2 beats No. 1, the Hurricanes had entered the game with a 34 game winning streak.
1978 Cotton Bowl
Led by QB Joe Montana, No. 5 Notre Dame defeated No. 1 Texas 38-10. The Irish won the National Championship for their trouble. Montana would prove quite good at winning championships.
2000 Orange Bowl
No. 8 Michigan QB Tom Brady beat No. 4 Alabama with a 25 yard touchdown pass to TE Shawn Thompson in OT. Brady finished 34-46 for 369 yards and 3 TDs. Then, infamously, he wasn’t drafted into the NFL until the 6th Round. The rest is history.
1978 Orange Bowl
No. 6 Arkansas Backup RB Roland Sales came out of nowhere to set the Orange Bowl rushing record record: 205 yards and 2 TDs on 22 carries, while catching 4 passes for 52 yards. The Razorbacks beat No. 2 Oklahoma, 31-6.
2008 Capital One Bowl
Michigan, unranked in 2008, took down No. 12 Florida with Tim Tebow at QB, 41-35. Maybe the Wolverines’ knowledge that it would be coach Lloyd Carr’s last game gave them an extra push.