This is part of the 2009 in review group writing project. To find out more about this project, please check out Daily Blog Tips.
With the regular season behind us, it is time to take a quick look at the biggest games of the seasons. Some of these games defined a team, some destroyed an otherwise perfect season, and some served to create more controversy in the current BCS system. Some of these were close games, others simply played a major role in the final polls. No matter who the game was between, or how big it seemed at the time, these games directly altered the college football world this season. So, without further ado, here are the top ten football games from 2009 (bowl games don't count):
10) September 3: Boise State 19, Oregon 8
In the first game of the 2009 season, Oregon met up with the constant BCS-buster Boise State. Not only did they throw down on the field, but they also threw down in a nice little boxing match after the game. LaGarrette Blount 'punch heard round the world' removed one of Oregon's best running backs for the season (well, until they decided to change that) and set them off to a bad start on the year. For Boise, the game helped to launch yet another undefeated season and another BCS bowl game. Though the game didn't harm Oregon too much, it seemed as though it was a major loss at the time.
9) September 19: Washington 16, USC 13
One week after beating Ohio State in a close match in The ‘Shoe, USC had an easy cupcake on their schedule. Washington took offense to that and decided to take USC out of the national championship picture. For yet another year, the Trojans lost a game that they should have won right after taking out a larger program. Though this game didn't affect the Pac-10 at the time, it started the downside of Pete Carroll's program, finishing at 8-4 and putting them in a mid-level bowl game.
8) December 5: Cincinnati 45, Pittsburgh 44
While everybody knew that this game would decide the winner of the Big East and a automatic BCS bid, nobody knew that it would be this close. Pitt took an early 21-point lead, but then squandered it in the second half. This game cemented Cincinnati's place in the BCS hierarchy, left them undefeated for the season, and helped to create more BCS controversy. If Cincinnati wins their bowl game, their win against Pitt will cause more calls for a playoff.
7) November 14: Ohio State 27, Iowa 24
While the Big Ten has no conference championship, this game equated to it. Whichever school won would have at least a share of it, and would win all the tie breakers. Basically, the winner of this game went to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. Not only was this an important game, but it was extremely close. OSU won in overtime, allowing me, and thousands of my closest friends, to rush the field. For the first time since 1997, Ohio State booked its ticket to the Rose Bowl.
6) November 14: Stanford 55, USC 21
While OSU and Iowa were slugging it out, there was this. Though the game between these two Pac-Ten teams didn't do much in the standings, it greatly effected USC's season. Not only was this their third loss (their most since 2001, Carroll’s first year), but it also knocked them out of the running to be champions of the conference. For the first time in almost a decade, USC no longer was the best team out west. Oh, and for OSU fans, Stanford going for the two-point conversion with a huge big was a refreshing reminder of how great rivalries can be.
5) September 5: BYU 14, Oklahoma 13
In one game, the entire football world got turned on its head. The 2009 national championship runner up was beaten in the first week at home. Their star quarterback and defending Heisman winner Sam Bradford, was taken out for most of the season. Oklahoma showed why games are not played on paper and why preseason polls are useless.
4) December 3: Oregon 37, Oregon State 33
Whoever schedules Oregon's games is a genius. First, they schedule a game against Boise State on a Thursday, when nothing else is on, and it has huge implications. Next, they schedule the Civil War on another Thursday, making it the biggest event of the night. Nobody expected this game to decide the Pac-10 champion, but it did. With a win, Oregon booked their ticket to the Rose Bowl, where they will be playing against Ohio State (for the eighth time ever, and OSU has won all seven previous meetings).
3) December 5: Texas 13, Nebraska 12
In what was supposed to be a pushover, Texas entered the Big Twelve Championship game expecting to leave it undefeated and with a ticket to the National Championship game. Nebraska, on the other hand, felt that they had a shot to win. Frankly, Nebraska outplayed Texas and almost earned a BCS bowl bid. Alas, that was not the case, as a last second (literally) field goal kept Texas in the ranks of the undefeated. However, the closeness of the championship game brought about more controversy, as several commentators feel that TCU is a better team.
2) November 7: Northwestern 17, Iowa 10
While I am sure that this ranking for this game is in controversy, nobody can deny the importance of this one. Iowa was perfect and entered the game as a heavy favorite, looking to continue their barely-winning pattern. Northwestern was struggling, having almost lost to 0-12 Eastern Michigan two months earlier. When Iowa's starting QB Ricky Stanzi was taken out with an injury, the whole game plan went in the gutter.
1) December 5: Alabama 32, Florida 13
This game, obviously, was the most important one of the season. Two undefeated teams entered, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, and only one left. A rematch from last season's championship, Alabama and Florida once again decidied who would go to the BCS National Championship. Alabama absolutely slaughtered Florida, making Tim Tebow cry in the process (I love this fact). There is no question about it, any game that decides one member of the National Championship game, and perhaps the Heisman, is clearly the best game of the season.
There you have it folks. These were the top ten college football games from the 2009 season, and they were a huge factor throughout the year. Seasons were made and broken during these games, and controversy was created several times. While I might have missed some of the big games, I feel that most of the important ones were represented. Disagree? Well, then tell me what games were more important in the comments section.