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5 Greatest Rose Bowls of All Time

5 Greatest Rose Bowls of All Time

The 2006 Rose Bowl between Texas and USC will forever be remembered as one of the greatest college football games ever played

The Grandaddy of Them All won't help decide the national champion this season, but the Rose Bowl between Ohio State and Utah should still be plenty entertaining. (And it's back in Pasadena after being relocated to Arlington, Texas, last season because of the pandemic.) Will it provide us with another instant classic? As you can see below, when it comes to the greatest Rose Bowls of all time, the bar is set pretty high.

5. USC 17, Ohio State 16

Jan. 1, 1980 – Pasadena, Calif.

Top-ranked Ohio State and No. 3 USC basically matched each other score-for-score in this game, but Buckeyes kicker Vlade Janakievski kicked a field goal to put his team up 16-10 with 9:42 to go. Heisman Trophy winner Charles White then put the Trojans on his back, rushing for 73 of the 83 yards of USC's game-winning drive. He capped it off with a one-yard plunge into the end zone for the win and a Rose Bowl-record 247 rushing yards. The Trojans finished second in the polls to Alabama, but White's performance was one for the ages.

4. Northwestern 20, California 14

Jan. 1, 1949 – Pasadena, Calif.

Down 14-13 to unbeaten Cal with less than three minutes to go, Northwestern put together an unusual for that time fast-paced drive that included the only completion of the game and a Statue of Liberty trick play. The drive was capped with another trick play where running back Ed Tunnicliff took a direct snap and ran it 45 yards into the end zone for the win.

3. Ohio State 20, Arizona State 17

Jan. 1, 1997 – Pasadena, Calif.

The Buckeyes led the second-ranked Sun Devils 14-10 in the fourth quarter, but Arizona State came back as it often did during that season. Jake Plummer hit Lenzie Jackson to convert on fourth down. Then on third-and-goal, Plummer ran 11 yards into the end zone to take a 17-14 lead with 1:40 left in the game and the Sun Devils' first national title appeared to be within reach. However, two pass interference calls and two clutch passes from Joe Germaine to Dimitrious Stanley put the Buckeyes on Arizona State's five-yard line. There, Germaine tossed a pass into the flat to David Boston who ran untouched into the end zone for the win with 19 seconds remaining.

2. Georgia 54, Oklahoma 48 (2OT)

Jan. 1, 2018 – Pasadena, Calif.

In this College Football Playoff Semifinal matchup, both teams collectively amassed more than 1,000 yards of offense and were tied 45-45 at the end of regulation. Both kicked field goals in the first overtime. In the second, Georgia's Lorenzo Carter blocked Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert's field goal attempt. Then Bulldog running back Sony Michel took a direct snap on second down and rushed 27 yards for the score and the win. The 102 points are a Rose Bowl record.

1. Texas 41, USC 38

Jan. 4, 2006 – Pasadena, Calif.

Two-time defending national champion USC entered the game with a 34-game win streak, but Texas had won 19 straight as well. Arguably the greatest college football game of all time was a score-fest with six lead changes. Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart hit Dwayne Jarrett with a 22-yard touchdown to take a 38-26 lead with a little less than seven minutes to play. But Texas quarterback Vince Young ran for a 17-yard score with four minutes left and then the Longhorns thwarted USC's fourth-quarter conversion attempt to get the ball back on their own 44-yard line. Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 15 years, you know what happened next. Texas marched down the field and on the fourth-and-5, Young ran untouched eight yards into the end zone for the win with 19 seconds left in the game.

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.