By Dylan Davis
On January 5, 2006, the college football world seemed to be in a perfect place. The Texas Longhorns and USC Trojans had just played one of the greatest games in the history of the sport, capped off by Vince Young’s 467-yard, 3 touchdown virtuoso evisceration of the Trojan defense. Young scored a touchdown on fourth down with less than 30 seconds left to lead the Longhorns to victory. The 41-38 Texas triumph ended USC’s chance at a three-peat, while extending the Longhorns winning streak to 20 consecutive games. The game featured tne players chosen in the 2006 NFL draft including four of the top ten selections. The game was an instant classic that seemed as if it would never be bettered.
Fast-forward just 361 days to the 2007 Fiesta Bowl between Boise State and Oklahoma. While this game wasn’t a national title bout, the ramifications of the outcome were enormous for the Broncos. With a win, they would further the outcry over non-BCS schools exclusion from the title game. With 4:30 left in the third quarter, it looked as if Boise had the game in hand with a 28-10 lead, but the Sooners stormed back and used a pick-six with just over a minute to play to go up 35-28. What transpired from that point on will forever go down in college football lore as Boise used a hook-and-ladder, wide receiver pass and Statue of Liberty play to score two touchdowns and a two point conversion to take down the favored Sooners in overtime. To top it all off, star running back Ian Johnson proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend on national TV directly following the game. All that was missing was some Michael Bay explosions or someone spontaneously crashing a Chicago parade to make it a perfect Hollywood ending.
With two of the sports greatest moments happening less than a year apart, it seemed as if college football was set to rocket into the stratosphere as far as ratings and fan enjoyment were concerned. The multitude of scandals from the 1980s and 90s were fading into the distant past and teams like SMU and Miami were no longer being recognized by their previous transgressions. It seemed as if all was right with the college football universe. That was about to change.