Mack Brown and Vince Young share a moment after winning the 2006 Rose Bowl. (Ralph Barrera / American-Statesman)

BEVO BEAT Football

Texas-USC lands ranks No. 7 on ESPN’s list of the top 150 games in college football history

Posted November 4th, 2019


To Longhorns everywhere, the epic 2006 Rose Bowl clash against USC is the greatest college football game ever. Certainly, many Texas fans believe it’s  the greatest win in program history.

Marvel has created comic book covers inspired by various games on ESPN’s list of the top 150 games in college football history. Courtesy ESPN

But the famed Texas-USC matchup, despite all the star power, two famous coaches and the national championship up for grabs, is a tough sell nationally.

A blue-ribbon panel of 150 voters cutting across the national landscape voted Texas-USC as just the seventh-best game in college football history. In a partnership with Marvel Studios, ESPN conducted the poll as part of the network’s celebration of the 150th year of college football.


Former Texas coach Mack Brown and star quarterback Vince Young will probably have strong disagreements about being left out of the top five.

The famous 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma game tops the list, followed by the 1984 Orange Bowl (Miami-Nebraska). But somehow Appalachian State’s 34-32 upset win over Michigan in 2007 came in third overall.

Doug Flutie’s “Hail Mary” win over Miami in 1984 helped Boston College land fourth on the list. And Penn State’s 14-10 win over Miami at the 1987 Fiesta Bowl was fifth.

Finally, just finishing ahead of Texas-USC was the 1988 Notre Dame-Miami game.

American-Statesman writers Cedric Golden and Suzanne Halliburton and Texas sports information director John Bianco were on the 150-person voting panel.

The 1969 Texas-Arkansas matchup, known as the “Big Shootout,” is ranked 29th overall on the ESPN list.

Overall, Texas appears on the list 12 times. UT’s Rose Bowl win over Michigan at the end of the 2004 season was 49th overall. UT’s win over Nebraska in the 2009 Big 12 championship game checked in at 66th.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email

News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at