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Hartselle Enquirer

Ranking the five best games this season

As the 2016-17 college football season ends, it is time to rank the top five games of the season. Keep in mind this article was written before the National Championship game.

Number 5. Ohio State and Michigan. Circumstances and drama helped make this game special. A top five ranking and a chance at a playoff berth only intensified what is already one of the nation’s top rivalry games. The game was a slow defensive struggle in the middle but picked up in the end when it went to double overtime. Michigan was just inches away from stopping Ohio State on fourth down and securing a playoff spot, only to see the Buckeyes race into the end zone for the win on the very next play.

Number 4. Texas A&M vs. Tennessee: Before their late season meltdown, Tennessee was playing the nation’s most exciting football. The Texas A&M game looked like it was just going to be the next in a string of thrilling second half comebacks for the Volunteers. Tennessee erased a 28-7 deficit and six turnovers to comeback in the fourth quarter. The Aggies could’ve put the game away but the Vols chased down Trayveon Williams and punched the ball out from behind to regain possession. Tennessee sent the game into double overtime but a final seventh turnover sealed the win for Texas A&M.

Number 3. Notre Dame vs. Texas: This game didn’t end up being as big as it looked then, but it was quite the roller coaster when it happened. This game featured everything from a huge comeback to a blocked and returned PAT that tied the game late. Texas eventually pulled out the win 50-47 in double overtime. Unfortunately, both teams ended up with losing records and Texas’ coach was fired. However, I choose to remember it as the thriller it was.

Number 2. Clemson vs. Louisville: Another game that was bigger at the time, this is still one of the top games of the season. Two top five teams led by two Heisman finalists in a primetime game, what more could you ask for. This game saw Clemson take a 28-10 lead at halftime only to see future Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson lead a thrilling second half comeback. However, the Cardinals came up just a yard short in the Clemson red zone and the Tigers took the win 42-36 and used the game as a catapult to their second straight national championship appearance.

Number 1. USC vs. Penn State in the Rose Bowl: No one saw this matchup coming as rough starts to the season led to rumors that both coaches would be fired. However, nobody was playing better than these two at the end of the season and it showed as the two teams combined for 98 points and 1,040 yards of offense. A back and forth affair that saw USC take a 13-0 lead and then Penn State score four touchdowns on four plays later reached its climax when USC tied the game with a minute and twenty seconds left. USC then picked off Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley and kicked a field goal to win 52-49.