Here is my Top Ten College Football Rivalries. And coming in at my #10 spot is…
#10- The Power 5 v. Mid Majors/ FCSS
Yes I know that this is technically not a rivalry, but that’s why I only put them as my #10. But really this “rivalry” was not made until 2007. It was the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. It was football royalty, the Oklahoma Sooners, versus the Cinderella, the Boise State Broncos. By the end of the game, the headline was David has slain The Giant. And you know how much America loves an underdog. It was one of the greatest college football endings of all time.
Let’s go back and revisit the last 0:18 and OT of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
It was 4th and 18 on the 50 yard line for the Broncos and in the last drive, Broncos quarterback Jared Zabransky threw a pick six to break the tie and give the Sooners the 28-35 lead.
The play head coach Chris Peterson called was the hook and lateral and it worked like a charm. Zabranksy threw the hook to Drisan James and then he lateraled it to Jerard Rabb and he took the ball up the left sideline for 35 yards and a score. And after the field goal the game was tied at 35-35 and the game went into OT.
Boise State won the coin toss and elected to give Oklahoma the football first. Oklahoma’s first play was a 25 yard run by no other than current Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson. The extra point was good. The score was now 42-35.
Fast forward to Boise State’s second magical trick play. It was a wide receiver wildcat pass. Zabransky was the original player behind center until he called for motion. He moved to the left and backup wide receiver Vinny Perretta moved behind center. Zabranksy motioned out of the backfield and to the left. Perretta hiked the ball and rolled out to his right. He lofted up a pass to tight end Derek Schouman in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. The score was 42-41.
Coach Peterson elected to go for two. He called up his now famous Statue of Liberty play. Zabranksy, back under center with Ian Johnson in the backfield, had three receivers to his right. He snapped the ball, dropped back, faked the pass with his right hand and then went across his body with the ball in his left hand to hand the ball off to Johnson with the offensive line pulling to the left. He walked in untouched. The two point conversion was good. Boise State won the game 43-42.
That game changed college football forever. And for anyone that thought it was a fluke the next regular season Appalachian State shocked the world.
On September 1st, 2007, the Mountaineers of Appalachian State went to Ann Arbor and beat the Wolverines of Michigan. After a close game throughout, Michigan attempted a field goal for the win. The kick was blocked, and Appalachian State scooped up the ball to clinch the win. The number five ranked Wolverines suffered the worse loss in college football history.
After those two games, FCS and Mid-Majors have never been scared to play Power 5 conferences on any field. Recently, the Citadel Bulldogs went to Williams-Brice Stadium and beat the Gamecocks of South Carolina. The Houston Cougars beat the Florida State Seminoles in the Chic-Fil-A Bowl last season was another example of a non-Power 5 school taking down a powerhouse. When they come on to the field against Power 5 teams, they are playing more than a game. They are playing to show that you don’t have to go to a big team to make a big impact.