Rich 10 College Football Moments of the 2010s

Looking back at the decade, there are numerous moments in college football that resonate in different ways, for better or worse. While it would be impossible to write an article detailing every single college football moment, here is a list detailing the top 10 moments of the decade. Links to view those moments are highlighted in blue or green.

10. Athletes getting paid 

This is a relatively recent development in College football but the way it will change the landscape in the future will likely shape recruiting in the future years. We will likely be looking back on this decision as the key to recruiting as it opens up new opportunities for players which many will likely look to take full advantage of. – Will Hopkins

9. The 2013 “Prayer at Jordan Hare”

While many think of the infamous Iron Bowl that would occur two weeks later, it was this game that could be seen as the first magic moment to happen for the Auburn Tigers late in the college football season. After leading the Georgia Bulldogs 37-17 going into the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs would find their footing on offense and score three touchdowns in the quarter, giving the Bulldogs a 38-37 lead with less than two minutes left in the game. With Auburn in a 4th and 18 situation with 36 seconds left in the game, quarterback Nick Marshall rocketed the football, intended for receiver Ricardo Louis. The ball was overthrown, and with Georgia defensive backs Tray Matthews and Josh-Harvey Clemons both jumping to catch the ball, the ball would deflect off the two and go right into the juggling hands of Louis, taking it home to put Auburn up 43-38 (Auburn failed to convert the two-point try). The score would stand, and Auburn would get their tenth win, setting the stage for a matchup against the Alabama Crimson Tide. How would that go? – Johnny Crane

8. Ole Miss Scandal 

This scandal finds it on this list as it shows how the NCAA has been attempting to crack down on recruiting and academic violations. In 2016, it was found that the Rebels between 2010 and 2016 were accused of paying high school recruits thousands of dollars in addition to their ACT scores being changed in order for them to be eligible to play. These violations overlapped between two Ole Miss head coaches in Houston Nutt and Hugh Freeze. Ole Miss was sanctioned with a two-year postseason ban, scholarship reductions and fines. The final penalty laid the hammer, as 33 wins were vacated from the books, with the wins spanning from 2010 to 2016. While this was not a game or a play, it was a moment that defined how the NCAA would not tolerate corruption. – Johnny Crane

7. Oklahoma State – Iowa State(Nov. 18, 2011)

One game can completely change everything. This decade will likely be remembered for Alabama’s dominance under Saban. Especially during the final years of the BCS Alabama was often a fixture of the final game of the season. The first title would come in 2012 but many forget that Oklahoma State almost had that spot, had they not lost to Iowa State. With this loss Alabama would win 3 out of 5 of the last BCS Championship Bowls and would begin the Playoff era on a strong foot. All of this because of Iowa State, who finished the season 6-7, stunned undefeated and number two ranked Oklahoma State 37-31 in double overtime. This is why we love college football. – Will Hopkins

6. Penn State Scandal(2011)

This is the darkest moment on this list. Joe Paterno was once one of the greatest coaches in college football history but now his legacy will never be the same. The Penn State Scandal rocked the college football world, forever changing the way the once great program will be looked at. This Scandal also changed the way college football will be monitored. Before this, Miami’s recruiting scandal was the poster child of scandals in the sport but now recruiting scandals will be forever overshadowed, which is something that wouldn’t have been thought possible before this decade. The Scandal was mainstream news, being a talking point in many walks of life outside of football and ruining the legacy of one of the greatest coaches the game has ever seen. – Will Hopkins

5. The 74-72 Texas A&M-LSU game(Nov. 24, 2018)

No, this was not a college basketball game. In late November of 2018, both teams clashed and looked to achieve different, yet similar, goals. LSU was looking to achieve its first 10-win season under head coach Ed Orgeron in addition to solidifying a New Year’s Six bowl berth. Under first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher, the Aggies were striving for the possibility to get nine wins on the season for the first time since 2013. Achieving the feat, though, would require the Aggies to beat both LSU and their bowl opponent. The game went back-and-forth during regulation. A premature Gatorade bath was given to Orgeron due to the Tigers believing they achieved a game-clinching interception. After review it was overturned, and in the final play of the game Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond found the end zone to send the game into overtime. Better yet, seven overtimes. After a repeat of back-and-forth scoring and two-point conversions (or the lack thereof of converting them), the Aggies came out on top with the victory. The implications for both teams did not change; LSU still achieved a New Year’s Six bid and got to 10 wins on the year (UCF in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl), while A&M got to nine wins, as they beat NC State in the Gator Bowl. The implications for the entirety of college football though, changed. Starting in 2019, overtime rules with possession of the ball can only go to the fifth overtime, with every overtime after being a two-point conversion battle until one team fails. Never again will there be a “traditional” seven OT game like there was with this one. – Johnny Crane

4. Virginia Tech Retirement Party for a Legend 

It is almost too simple. When you bring up the history of Virginia Tech football, you think of Frank Beamer. After taking over the program in 1987 and rebuilding it from the ground up, the former Murray State head coach sent the Hokies to a bowl game every year from 1993 to his final year in 2015. After announcing he would retire after the 2015 season in November of the same year, the stage was set for the legendary coach to go out on a high note. And going out on a high note he did, as his squad beat the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the Independence Bowl 55-52. For Virginia Tech fans, it was a great and memorable send-off. For all of college football, it was the end of an era, as he was the winningest active coach at the FBS level, finishing with 280 victories. – Johnny Crane

3. Michigan snap(Oct. 17, 2015)

The second year of the playoff brought a lot of twists and turns. Michigan State and Michigan battle of 2015 has been immortalized as one of the moments that college football fans will never forget. Leading late in the game all Michigan needed to do was punt the ball away and prevent a big return. The Michigan Punter Black O’neal mishandled the snap and it was recovered by Jalen Watts-Jackson who returned for a walk-off touchdown that would win the game for the Spartans. This didn’t change anything in the big picture of things but it was a moment unlike anything we had seen before in college football. Additionally, the meme that it brought us of “Shocked Michigan Fan” bumps this moment up a few spots as it became one of the most memorable photos of the decade in sports. – Will Hopkins

2. Clemson-Alabama Final 2017

The Crimson Tide were sitting nice and pretty early through the third quarter in the National Championship, as they increased their lead to 17-7 against the Tigers after Clemson turned over the ball on their first possession. Alabama looked to win their fourth National Championship of the 2010s and their second in a row against the Tigers, as they beat Clemson the year previously. After exchanging blows, the start of the fourth quarter still had the Tide up 24-14. After more punches from both sides, the stage was set, as with two minutes left the Tigers were down 31-28 but had the ball. After driving down the field and a pass interference call, it was first and goal inside the 2-yard line for the Tigers with six seconds left on the clock. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was able to complete the comeback against Alabama by throwing the ball to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow in the end zone with one second left, putting the Tigers up 35-31, which would be the final score in an electric championship game. – Johnny Crane

1. Kick Six(Nov. 30, 2013)

Is there any shock? This moment isn’t just the best moment of the decade but arguably the greatest college football moment of all-time. Chris Davis will be a name that all college football fans will remember because of this single play. With a single second left in a heart pumping Iron Bowl, Davis returned a missed field goal 109 yards, ending Alabama’s unbeaten season and earning Auburn a spot in the SEC championship. This moment also earned Auburn the title of “the team of destiny” with this moment coming just two weeks after “The Prayer at Jordan-Hare.” Auburn would lose the national championship to Florida State but this moment still rings loud every time Auburn and Alabama play, and while the Crimson Tide have the edge in the matchup for this decade, they will never inflict the same amount of pain that the Kick Six gave each fan on that magical night in 2013. – Will Hopkins

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