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How we got one of the greatest college football games ever | The 2006 Rose Bowl

USC versus Texas was great, and so much more than we remember.

The Rose Bowl. USC versus Texas.

We remember how it ends. We might still recall the big plays that got us there. We definitely know Vince Young had an incredible night, and Reggie Bush’s lateral might have been a forward pass. And yet a game that ended in such spectacular fashion managed to overshadow itself, and we’ve forgotten many of the little details that made it so unforgettable.

After a few years of controversial finishes in college football (co-national champions in 2003, five undefeated schools in 2004), the sport redeemed itself in 2005 by pitting the only two undefeated teams in FBS in the national championship. USC and Texas extended long winning streaks from the previous year, and were the only teams to be ranked 1 or 2 by any poll since the preseason. And on January 4th, 2006, they played a game that somehow surpassed its unbelievable hype.

If so many moments hadn’t bounced the right way, we might never have seen a finish that might as well have been scripted for “Friday Night Lights.” Turnovers, fourth downs, reviews, a lack of reviews — it’s all there, and it all combined to give us one of the greatest college football games ever.

It deserves a deep rewind.