It's hard to just pick out only 10 games of the year that stand out among the rest this season, but these games had something for every college football fan and defined why college football is so exciting. — Lisa Horne
Oct. 1: Arkansas 42, Texas A&M 38
Texas A&M had high hopes for a BCS bowl berth in the preseason. So did Arkansas, but the Razorbacks had already lost to Alabama the previous week and really couldn't afford another loss. In the first half, the Aggies dominated and built a 35-17 lead. But in the third quarter, Razorback quarterback Tyler Wilson completed nine of 10 passes in one possession and ended the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Wingo, Jr. to pull the Razorbacks within eight points. Broderick Green's late TD run gave the Razorbacks the win, salvaging a big day for Wilson, who finished with 510 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Sept. 2: Baylor 50, TCU 48
TCU rolled into Waco to face the unranked Baylor Bears in both teams' season opener. Hours later, the two teams had combined for 1,030 total yards, including 665 passing yards and only two turnovers. At the start of the fourth quarter, Baylor held a commanding 24-point lead with TCU inside the Bears' five-yard line. After TCU scored a touchdown, the most improbable series of events occurred. Baylor went three-and-out, TCU scored a touchdown, Baylor went three-and-out and TCU scored another touchdown. Baylor was now clinging to a two-point lead when on their next possession, Robert Griffin III fumbled the ball. TCU kicked a field goal and took a 48-47 lead with less than five minutes left in the game. But a final Baylor field goal with less than a minute left finally sealed the game.
Nov. 5: LSU 9, Alabama 6
The first score of this defensive struggle came with only 3:53 left in the first half — Alabama's Jeremy Shelley kicked a 34-yard field goal that would give the Crimson Tide their first lead of the game. But the Tigers answered with a field goal of their own as time expired in the first half. LSU eventually won, 6-3, without either team scoring a touchdown. Expect the BCS Championship Game to be an entirely different type of game.
Nov. 12: TCU 36, Boise State 35
Most experts picked undefeated Boise State to win since TCU lost quarterback Andy Dalton to the NFL, but quarterback Casey Pachall tied a school record, passing for five touchdowns. Boise State, meanwhile, had to deal with a sense of déjà vu. Last year, the Broncos were knocked out of a BCS bowl berth when they missed a field goal against Nevada in overtime. This year, the 39-yard field goal attempt went wide right as the clock expired and for the second straight year, Boise State was left out in the cold.
Nov. 19: Baylor 45, Oklahoma 38
There were whispers about Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III's chances of winning the Heisman Trophy — he needed a big game to put him near the frontrunners — and playing Oklahoma would be the perfect venue. And he did just that with amazing stats: 479 passing yards and four touchdowns against a team that Baylor had never beaten. Plus, the game itself was a nail-biter. It looked like both teams would need more than 60 minutes as time ticked off the clock, but Griffin rifled a 34-yard pass to Terrance Williams in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with little time to spare.
Sept. 3: Auburn 42, Utah State 38
This game should have been a rout. Instead it was one of the most exciting games of the year as Utah State led the defending national champions Auburn by double-digits twice during the game. And with a little more than three minutes left in the game, the Aggies led the Tigers 38-28. An upset was in the making and the SEC was about to get embarrassed on the opening weekend of the college football season. And then Auburn quarterback Barrett Trotter threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Philip Lutzenkirchen before a second touchdown by Auburn's Michael Dyer finally ended Utah State's upset bid.
Nov. 26: N.C. State 56, Maryland 41
If you're up 41-21 over your opponent after three quarters, chances are you're going to win the game — unless you're Maryland. The Terrapins had this one in the bag on the first play of the fourth quarter when the Wolfpack scored a touchdown to make the game 41-28. In fact, the Wolfpack scored five unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Maryland's defense inexplicably collapsed. Come way back to win a game 56-41? That's a top 10 game of the year and the perfect example of why college football is so exciting. It's also a reason why fans should never leave a game early.
Sept. 10: Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31
With the Big House packed for the first night game at Michigan Stadium, this game had all the signs of a rout as the Fighting Irish led the Wolverines 24-7 after three quarters. But Michigan came storming back and with 30 seconds remaining, all eyes were on Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. On a 2nd-and-10 on his own 20, Robinson completed a 64-yard pass play to Jeremy Gallon. With a fresh set of downs on Notre Dame's 16, the QB completed a miracle comeback, connecting on a 16-yard pass to Roy Roundtree.
Dec. 3: Wisconsin 42, Michigan State 39
The Big Ten Championship game would finally silence the critics who still thought Big Ten football was 3 yards and a cloud of dust. This game had great defense, spectacular offense and highlight-reel plays. The game looked like it would be a blowout as Wisconsin pulled out to a 21-7 first quarter lead before Michigan State came to life in the second quarter, scoring 22 unanswered points. But in the end, it was Wisconsin that prevailed and took home the conference championship trophy.
Oct. 29: Stanford 56, USC 48 (OT)
The Cardinal came into the Coliseum riding a 15-game winning streak and quarterback Andrew Luck was the Heisman Trophy frontrunner. USC was relegated to playing the spoiler role since the Trojans were not eligible to play in the postseason due to NCAA sanctions. But both teams needed more than 60 minutes to settle the score. In the third overtime period, Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor ran into the end zone for a touchdown and Luck's two-point conversion pass was good. USC took the field to respond and running back Curtis McNeal fumbled when he punched it up the middle. The ball squirted into the end zone and Stanford recovered to win the game.