1977: Clemson 31, South Carolina 27
The Battle of the Palmetto State provided us the rivalry's most iconic moment in 1977.
Clemson would jump out to an early 24-0 lead only to see South Carolina storm back from obvious defeat to make it a ball game. South Carolina's quarterback, Ron Bass ("Sunshine" from Remember the Titans) had done the unthinkable and hit Phil Logan with a 40 yard touchdown pass to go up 27-24. With only 1:48 left, it looked like the end for Clemson's 'Cinderella' season. But the Tigers were not done. Clemson quarterback, Steve Fuller would lead his team down the field in no time and with less than a minute to go, Clemson wide out, Jerry Butler, would make a diving backwards touchdown catch to give the Tigers the victory. The game would later be known as 'The Catch.'
1990: USC 45, UCLA 42
The battle for the Victory Bell has never failed to impress. The rivalry has often featured Heisman winners, conference titles on the line, last second finishes, etc. But no other USC-UCLA match-up has ever had a shootout and finish like the 1990 game provided.
Most experts choose 'The Game of the Century,' from 1967 where No. 4 USC took on No. 1 UCLA and it was a battle for a title and a Heisman between USC's O.J. Simpson and UCLA's Gary Beban; Simpson would run for a late 64 yard touchdown to topple the Bruins.
But it wasn't as entertaining as the 1990 game which would be known as 'The Shootout.' The game featured USC's Todd Marinovich and UCLA's Tommy Maddox. Both teams combined for six touchdowns in the fourth quarter. UCLA scored with a little over a minute remaining but it proved to be too much time for the Trojans. With 16 seconds remaining, Marinovich threw to back the of the endzone where Johnnie Morton made a diving catch for the win.
1994: Florida 31, Florida State 31
The 1994 cross-state rivalry game between the Gators and the Seminoles would go down as the most memorable in the series' history. Both teams entered at 9-1 when Florida traveled to Doak Campbell Stadium. Lead by future Heisman winning quarterback, Danny Wuerfell, Florida jumped out to a 31-3 lead with less than 14 minutes go to in the game. With lead in hand, Florida coach, Steve Spurrier ran a conservative offense and a prevent defense. They paid for it.
Florida State operated out of the shotgun for the majority of the 4th quarter and behind the arm of Danny Kanell, the 'Noles methodically started to move down the field and chip away at the Gators' lead. Florida State would score back-to-back touchdowns, Kanell scrambled for a touchdown run, cutting the lead to 7 with 5:25 to go. After a Wuerfell interception, the Seminoles looked to tie or win the game. Kanell hit Warrick Dunn for a 37 yard gain. A few plays later, Florida State's Rock Preston would rush to the endzone. With no overtime in college football, Florida State coach, Bobby Bowden, was faced with the decision to go for the tie or to try for two. Despite all of the assistants pleading with Bowden to go for the win, he opted for the tie and settled for the moral victory.
Both teams would meet again that season in the 1995 Sugar Bowl, which was coined 'The Fifth Quarter in the French Quarter.' Florida State would prevail 23-17.
2009: Alabama 26, Auburn 21
The Alabama-Auburn rivalry may be the most unhealthy and intense rivalry in college football. The hatred is so intense that it became a focal point of an ESPN film titled 'Roll Tide War Eagle.' The rivalry has provided some iconic moments though, such as the Auburn blocked punt touchdown in '72, Bo Jackson's 'over the top' in '82, and 'The Kick' in '85, when Bama's kicker nailed a 52 yard field goal for the win. In fact, the winner of the last four Iron Bowl's have went on to win the national championship. But the most iconic game has to be the 2009 battle.
Alabama entered the contest ranked No. 2 with national championship aspirations. Auburn came in with a 7-4 record hoping to ruin the Tide's quest for their first championship since 1992. Auburn would jump out to a 14-0 lead, putting the Tide back on their heels. With Auburn shutting down running back and eventual Heisman winner, Mark Ingram, and a 21-20 4th quarter lead, it appeared the stars were aligning for the upset. But with 8:27 left in the game, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy would lead, what Bama fans have come to know as, 'The Drive.' McElroy completed his final seven attempts with his last pass being a 4 yard game winning touchdown to Roy Upchurch. Alabama would go on to win the national championship.
2006 Ohio State 42, Michigan 39
Arguably college football's most prestigious rivalry, Ohio State-Michigan has always been rich with emotion and mythology. No two teams or fan bases take pride in their hatred for each other quite like Buckeyes and Wolverines fans do. That is why no other game in this series history had more on the line than it did in the 2006 match-up in Columbus.
For the first time, Ohio State and Michigan would enter the season finale undefeated while ranked No. 1 and No. 2, with the winner moving on to the BCS national championship.
Both teams would battle back and forth in an unusual high scoring game. Heisman winner, Troy Smith's four touchdowns to lead the Buckeyes proved to be too much for the team up north despite a Michigan touchdown to trim the lead to three with two minutes to go. Ohio State would run out the clock on the next possession, giving them bragging rights and another conference title.