Weather can be wonderful one time and a spiteful mistress another. The NFL has had its fare share of bad weather games, but what about college? It’s harder to find the bad weather games in college because of so many games being played over such a long period of time. So I have formed the top five bad weather games in college football history, not just solely on the weather, but how it affected the game overall.
5. 1984 Cotton Bowl: Georgia versus Texas
Number two and undefeated Texas took the field in their home state against a 9-1-1 (7) Georgia Bulldog team that was eager to show what they could do on a national stage. In what was practically a home game for the Longhorns, Mother Nature decided to bless the city of Dallas with monsoon like conditions that even the Cotton Bowl’s drainage system could not maintain the rain. Texas held a 9-3 lead in the fourth quarter until Texas defensive back Craig Curry muffed a punt close to his own end zone. Georgia QB John Lastinger ran the ball in from 17 yards out to put the Bulldogs up for good, 10-9.
4. 1985: Oklahoma State versus Oklahoma
This seems fitting because these two meet for the Big 12 Championship Saturday and this game highlights one of the NFL’s all-time greats. The cold and sloppy conditions in Stillwater this day still haunt Cowboy fans. The weather conditions on this day appeared to stop the unstoppable Barry Sanders from doing anything dynamic. Oklahoma wins 13-0, with their defense scoring the game’s only touchdown, and probably the only time Sanders was halted his entire football career.
3. 2000 Independence Bowl: Mississippi State versus Texas A&M
On December 31st, 2000 one of college most memorable football games was played. A freakish snowstorm began just before kickoff, and never let up. This was very rare weather for Shreveport, MS, and even though it was painful to hold on to the ball, these two teams lit up the scoreboard. Plows were used to make the goal lines visible, and the Bulldogs defeated the Aggies in overtime 43-41 to end the last game of the 20th century.
2. 1962 Gotham Bowl: Nebraska versus Miami
The short lived Gotham Bowl, played in New York City, from 1960-1962, was the most failed bowl in history. In 1960 eight teams turned down the bowl invitation. In 1961, Baylor and Utah State played in front of 15,000 fans at the Polo Grounds. 1962 was the year. On a very cold 14 degree day, the Canes took on the Huskers in front of a very enthusiastic crowd of 11,000 fans. Only 6,000 paid to see the game, but it was a classic. Wind gusts reached 65 miles per hour and Nebraska squeaked by Miami, 36-34.
1. 1992 Snow Bowl: Notre Dame versus Penn State
Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions were taking on Lou Holtz’s Fighting Irish in the last game of this historical series rivalry, and it would be a game no one would forget. Did I mention the movie Rudy was being filmed on Notre Dame’s campus that weekend? With a minute remaining, and an inch of snow on the field, Jerome Bettis scored on a pass from Irish quarterback Rick Mirer to pull the Irish within one, 16-15. Holtz decided the game was going to end right there, opting to go for the two point conversion. Notre Dame converted, and the series ended with the Irish winning 17-16.