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Nov 7, 2014 3:59 AM

Rating the Nation: Best bowls of BCS era

The Associated Press

Two undefeated traditional powerhouses. One of the longest winning streaks in college football history on the line as well as a chance for the first three-peat in college football history.

The 2006 Rose Bowl had all that and more, and it lived up to the hype.

Ahead of the college football season, The Associated Press asked its panel of voters in the Top 25 poll to weigh in on the best bowl games during the Bowl Championship Series era.

The BCS championship game after the 2005 season was voted No. 1, followed by three other memorable postseason games.

1. 2006 Rose Bowl, Texas 41, Southern California 38.

The top-ranked Trojans with Heisman winners Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush had won 36 straight games and were trying to become the first team win three straight AP national titles. Vince Young, the Heisman runner-up that season to Bush, and the second-ranked and unbeaten Longhorns would have none of it. Young put together one of the great bowl performances of all time with 467 total yards (200 rushing) and a 9-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left on fourth down to give Texas the lead, and ultimately, its first national title since 1970.

1. 2007 Fiesta Bowl, Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42, OT

The night the Boise State Broncos won the hearts of college football fans. Boise State pulled the upset of Adrian Peterson and the Sooners with a bagful of trick plays, capped by a Statue of Liberty for the winning 2-point conversion. And just when it seemed as if it couldn't get more storybook, Boise State running back Ian Johnson proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend on the field after scoring the winning points.

1. 2003 Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State 31, Miami 24, 2OT

No. 1 Miami was romping toward its second straight national championship, with a roster over flowing with NFL talent such as Willis McGahee, Andre Johnson and Sean Taylor. The Buckeyes had star freshman Maurice Clarett, who made a remarkable strip of Taylor after the star safety had made an interception in the end zone and returned it out. A pass interference, debated to this day, gave Ohio State a second chance to tie the game in overtime. Clarett gave Ohio State a lead with a TD run in the second OT and the Buckeyes made the stop for their first national title since 1968.

1. 2014 BCS Title game, Florida State 34, Auburn 31.

The Tigers jumped out to a 21-3 first-half lead on Heisman winner Jameis Winston and the Seminoles. No. 1 Florida State stormed back and the teams provided one of the most exciting final 5 minutes in college football history, with 24 points and three lead changes. Winston connected with Kelvin Benjamin on a 2-yard TD pass with 13 seconds left to give Florida State the win in the final BCS championship game.


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