Top 10 best college football games of the past two decades

Alabama v Tennessee
Last years Tennessee vs. Alabama was epic

Here's a look at the best college football games of the past 20 years. Beware, college football is known for its upsets, everybody loves an underdog story and the NCAA has had its fair share of them. Thus, this list will feature many an upset.

Here's our list in no particular order:

Top 10 best college football games of Last 20 Years

#1, Tennessee 52, Alabama 49 (2022)

Tennessee, ranked No. 6, upset top-ranked Alabama in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Volunteers hadn’t beaten the Crimson Tide since 2006, and they did so in fashion. This game will probably be always remembered for what happened afterward: The fans took down a goalpost and threw it into the river.

Tennessee fans tore down a goalpost after the victory.
Tennessee fans tore down a goalpost after the victory.

#2, Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32 (2007)

The Mountaineers, an FCS school, stunned the Wolverines, a top-ranked Big Ten team. Supposedly Michigan paid $400,000 to App State to come play. Appalachian State's win was the first by an FCS school over a ranked FBS team since 1999. Afterward, the Associated Press allowed voting for FCS schools in the national rankings.

Appalachian State will forever remember the victory.
Appalachian State will forever remember the victory.

#3, Stanford 24, USC 23 (2007)

What was happening in 2007? In a South California story, the Cardinal beat a Trojan team that hadn’t lost a home game since 2001, and that happened to be the defending national champions and the No. 1-ranked team in the nation.

The Cardinal have always been the underdogs in the USC and Stanford rivalry.
The Cardinal have always been the underdogs in the USC and Stanford rivalry.

#4, Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42 (2007)

Boise State, a perennial Western Athletic Conference power, upset the Sooners, the No. 8 team in the country, in a Fiesta Bowl that is lauded as the inspiration for the creation of the College Football Playoff.

In a battle that included a 50-yard trick play touchdown on fourth-and-18 to tie the game with 19 seconds left, Adrian Peterson coming off the bench after being sidelined all season due to injury, “The Statue of Liberty” two-point conversion trick play to win it in overtime and a postgame star player-to-cheerleader proposal, Boise State proved it belonged.


#6, Florida 31, Alabama 20 (2009)

Is it an upset? Urban Meyer’s and Tim Tebow’s 13-1 Gators vs. Nick Saban’s 12-0 Crimson Tide? Well, any defeat of Saban at Alabama is an upset. A game in which Florida won the Southeastern championship and cemented Tebow’s legacy, it is more than worthy of being considered one of the best college football games of the 21st century. Besides, many love it when Alabama loses.

Tim Tebow will forever be a Gators legend.
Tim Tebow will forever be a Gators legend.

#7, Georgia Tech 22, Florida State 16 (2015)

The 2-5 Yellow Jackets upset the Seminoles, the No. 2 team in the country that hadn’t lost a regular season game since 2012. The Miracle of Techwood was the high point of an otherwise abysmal season. But the unexpected nature of the affair lands it on our list of the best college football games.

#8, Ohio State 31, Miami 24 (2003)

This is no upset. This was the BCS national championship game. This game will forever be known for a controversial pass interference call in OT. Miami led 24-17 in OT, with the Buckeyes facing 4th-and-3. The Ohio State pass attempt was broken by Glenn Sharpe. Game over, except it wasn't. In came a flag call while the Hurricanes were celebrating. Pass interference.

The Buckeyes scored a rushing TD two plays later and won the game. The rest, as they say, is history, and this game entered our list of the best college football games of the past two decades.

#9, Texas 41, USC 38 (2006)

Another BCS title game in the list of the best college football games, maybe the best game of the BCS era. A star-studded Trojans lineup led by two Heisman winners in Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart was riding a 34-game winning streak and a title in the previous season.

They were dethroned by a Longhorns offense led by QB Vince Young, who had 467 yards of total offense and threw a 4th-and-5 game-winning TD with 19 seconds to spare.

#10, Auburn 34, Alabama 28 (2013)

It's rare to see things go sideways for Alabama coach Nick Saban, but not even he could derail Auburn's luck in 2013. Down 21-7 in the second quarter, the Tigers did the impossible and tied the game at 28-28 with one minute left.


The Crimson Tide had the ball with one second remaining after an out-of-bounds call. Saban, always known to push the envelope, tried a game-winning field goal. But Adam Griffith's 57-yard field goal attempt fell short, falling into the hands of Auburn's Chris Davis.

Davis went 100-plus yards to give Auburn the win. The Tiger's luck would run out in the BCS title game versus Jameis Winston's Florida State Seminoles. Beating Saban's Alabama is a sure way to make our best college football games list.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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