I read this piece/excerpt from Bill Connelly's big college football love letter on the SBN Mothership today, and it inspired me to think about my 10 favorite college football games ever. Here they are:
1. September 15, 2007 Kentucky 40, Louisville 34
After rolling up 50 points in the first two games of the season against more or less hapless opponents, Kentucky fans were nervous about this game. Louisville had essentially done the same thing up to this point in the season, but they were a Top 10 team. It was a tense, high scoring, back and forth affair until Stevie Johnson ran a slant and go for the second or third time in the game. No one was there to cover him when he waltzed into the end zone and the stadium exploded.
2. October 13, 2007 Kentucky 43, Louisiana State 37
LSU was awesome in 2007. Spencer Hall, then known as Orson Swindle, described the LSU defense as a werewolf with a chainsaw for a d**k. And they were ridiculous. But Andre Woodson burned up the edges with passes to Stevie Johnson and Keenan Burton all day, including a dagger in the fourth quarter that left juuuust enough time for LSU to play for a tie. A few minutes later, Jacob Hester tried to continue the game on one of Les Miles' patented fourth down plays with a run up the gut, only to be absolutely stoned by Braxton Kelley. I was at my best friends' wedding at the time and watched most of the game on a four inch screen, jumping up and down on table cloths and generally making an ass of myself. No regrets.
Kentucky doesn't have a lot of memorable games other than these two for me, so from here on out it gets a little dark.
3. November 9, 2002 Kentucky 30, Louisiana State 33
The "Bluegrass Miracle" game. What a horrible name for a gut wrenching game. It was the day after my 21st birthday, so I tailgated for the game but felt too awful to go to the stadium, so I went back and watched it on TV at my house on State Street. When the fourth quarter was halfway over, I remember thinking, "We're gonna win, I have to go see this in person!" so a buddy of mine and I sprinted over to the stadium, through the gates, and into the LSU fan section, then onto the field only to see Devery Henderson catch a ball that should never have been caught. Ugh. I wish I could have thrown up on the field, but my body was seriously lacking in fluid of any kind at that point so it's probably best that I didn't.
4. November 2, 2003 Kentucky 63, Arkansas 71
Not a basketball score, oddly enough. I was so hammered I don't remember any of the first three and a half quarters of this game, but I remember the end and the overtime. Jared Lorenzen is still my favorite quarterback to ever play at Kentucky, mostly because of this game. He absolutely willed his way through six overtimes against Matt Jones's Razorbacks, and I'm convinced the only reason we couldn't go to the eighth period was because JLo was too tired to stand up. I remember just before the first overtime started and the team was headed into the tunnel, fans everywhere were leaving the stadium (this being Kentucky football and all). A friend of mine was standing near the rail in the student section and heard Lorenzen yell to the crowd: "Where are y'all goin'? You're gonna miss a hell of a game!" Even though we lost, he was right.
5. November 5, 2011 Alabama 6, Louisiana State 9
I don't care what the score says, this was one of the most awesome displays of college football talent I've ever seen. I love a points bonanza as much as anyone, but this game was different. I've never seen two better defenses in my life.
6. January 4, 2006 Texas 41, Southern Cal 38
Vince Young was an otherworldly talent back then. I don't think I'd ever seen a quarterback that could run and throw, and this was about the same time the spread really came into vogue nationally. Also, USC had won like umpteen bowl games and unfairly took the mythical national championship from both Auburn and LSU earlier in the decade, so I was glad to see them get their comeuppance.
7. November 26, 2011 Kentucky 10, Tennessee 7
This was not a good football game, but Kentucky was never going to beat Tennessee playing good football. Instead, the Cats trotted out a fourth year wide receiver at quarterback to take the place of the other three injured QBs at the tail end of a basically dead season and kept the ball out of a bad Vols team for 60 minutes. A shining star in an otherwise poor season.
8. September 29, 2007 Florida 17, Auburn 20
This game, for reasons unknown, has always been fun for me to watch. In this particular iteration, Florida was a world-beater and ranked fourth going in, while Auburn was unranked and starting to stagnate under Tommy Tuberville. Then, in typical Tuberville fashion, the WarTigers beat the Gators in the Swamp basically by kicking a bunch of field goals. It was really entertaining.
9. November 9, 2006 Rutgers 28, Louisville 25
Pure schadenfreude, yes. But watching a kicker ruin Bobby Petrino's run for the crystal football was pretty awesome.
10. September 21, 1996 Kentucky 3, Indiana 0
Okay, this was not a good game. It was absolutely terrible. But it's one of the few that Kentucky won when I was a kid, and one of the few wins I got to see in person, so it makes my list.