It's the inevitable truth of college football season that September seems a distant memory by the time the bowl matchups are set, but at the same time, the season seems to have gone by all too quickly. There's a reason for this paradox.
In three short months, college football packs in more action, drama, heroics and season-defining two-point conversion tries than we can possibly appreciate all at once. Still, before we wrap up the season, let's take a trip down memory lane -- from Liberty at New Mexico State to New Mexico State at Liberty -- and rank the best games of the season.
15. Old Dominion 49, Virginia Tech 35, Week 4
Old Dominion's 4th-quarter performance helps stun No. 13 Virginia Tech
With 28 points in the fourth quarter, Old Dominion upsets No. 13 Virginia Tech 49-35 behind Blake LaRussa's 495 yards and 4 touchdowns.
OK, so the Hokies turned out to be a 6-6 team, and the stunning upset looks slightly less stunning in retrospect. It's still hard to fathom how Virginia Tech, a 28-point favorite, managed to be so thoroughly dominated by ODU. It was a game that saw Tech's starting QB go down for the year, one of its top defenders booted from the team the next day, and a program-defining moment on its home field for the underdog Monarchs.
14. Oregon State 41, Colorado 34 in OT, Week 9
No, this wasn't a matchup of Pac-12 contenders, and in the end, neither finished better than .500, but this one has to make the list as the most impressive come-from-behind victory of the season. Travon McMillian broke off a 75-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter, and Colorado led 31-3 against the woeful Beavers, who were just 1-6 and hadn't won a conference game since 2016. Easy win, right? Not so much. Oregon State ran off 25 straight points then scored with 29 seconds left to tie the score 34-34. In perfect bad football fashion, the Beavers still botched the PAT, forcing the game to overtime, where Jack Colletto's 1-yard run sealed the win.
13. Penn State 45, Appalachian State 38 in OT, Week 1
Penn State avoids upset, tops App State in OT
No. 10 Penn State ties the game in the final minute of regulation, scores in overtime and gets a big interception to hold off Appalachian State.
Penn State's hopes for a playoff berth nearly ended in Week 1, when App State rallied from down 31-17 in the fourth quarter to take a 38-31 lead with 1 minute, 47 seconds to play. And while the Nittany Lions managed to find the end zone thanks to Trace McSorley to force overtime, where Miles Sanders sealed a win, the game did prove to be a window into the future, where the Mountaineers were one of the most dangerous Group of 5 teams, and Penn State never quite matched expectations.
12. Clemson 27, Syracuse 23, Week 5
Brice comes in for injured Lawrence to lead Clemson comeback
Freshman QB Chase Brice leads Clemson to a 27-23 win over Syracuse after Trevor Lawrence left the game in the second quarter with an injury.
The QB battle between Kelly Bryant and Trevor Lawrence had gone on all offseason and through the first four games of Clemson's campaign. After dominating Georgia Tech the previous week, however, Dabo Swinney finally made the call: Lawrence was Clemson's new starter. The fallout came quickly. Bryant announced he was quitting the team and planned to transfer. Syracuse, which beat Clemson a year earlier, came to Death Valley with something to prove. And in the first half of action, Lawrence was forced from the game with concussion symptoms, leaving freshman Chase Brice, the fourth-string QB on the spring depth chart, to overcome a 16-7 Orange lead. Plenty of drama followed, but nothing bigger than Brice's fourth-down completion to Tee Higgins on a 13-play touchdown drive to win it for the Tigers.
11. Oklahoma 28, Army 21 in OT, Week 4
Oklahoma nabs gut-check OT win over Army
The Sooners were tested at home, but the normally-prolific offense got a lift from the defense to overcome a missed FG at the end of regulation.
You could make a pretty good list of the season's best games by simply running through Oklahoma's schedule. All the drama surrounding the Sooners largely came as a result of its dominant offense and Heisman winner Kyler Murray, but Army proved to be the one team in the country with an answer. Murray threw for just 165 yards -- his only game with less than 200 -- and the Sooners were held to a season low 355 yards by Army's stout D, and neither team dented the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, forcing the game to OT, where CeeDee Lamb's 10-yard TD grab won it.
10. LSU 22, Auburn 21, Week 3
LSU had already pulled an upset over No. 8 Miami, and now the Bayou Bengals were looking to do the same against No. 7 Auburn. Offense was tough to come by for LSU, and midway through the third quarter, Auburn was holding a 21-10 edge. But LSU wasn't rolling over, and Joe Burrow's 71-yard TD pass to Derrick Dillon with 8:18 to play set the stage for a thrilling final drive, when Cole Tracy drilled a 42-yard field goal for the win.
9. Oklahoma 59, West Virginia 56, Week 13
Oklahoma outlasts West Virginia in offensive thriller
Will Grier throws for 539 yards and accounts for five total TDs, but Kyler Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners come out on top 59-56.
Will Grier and Kyler Murray put on an offensive show in this battle for a spot in the Big 12 title game. Grier threw for 539 yards and four touchdowns. Murray totaled 478 yards and four scores of his own. There were six lead changes and just three punts. It was Big 12 football at its finest.
8. Texas 48, Oklahoma 45, Week 6
Texas squeaks by Oklahoma in Red River thriller
Sam Ehlinger runs for three touchdowns and throws two more as Texas overcomes Kyler Murray's four TD passes on a late field goal to defeat Oklahoma 48-45.
The Red River Showdown was played twice this season, and while the Big 12 title game was a fun one, too, the original was still the best. It's probably unfair to say this Sooners loss was Murray's Heisman moment, but it was an incredible performance. Texas was up 45-24 to start the fourth quarter, and then Murray took over, with Oklahoma roaring back to tie the score 45-45 with 2:38 remaining. Turns out, though, Texas wasn't going down that easily, and Sam Ehlinger engineered one final drive that ended with a 40-yard field goal for the win. Texas was back -- for a few weeks at least.
7. Davidson 91, Guilford 61, Week 3
It takes a special kind of awesome for a game between an FCS and a Division III team to make the list, but 22 touchdowns, 152 points and a completely rewritten record book makes the cut. Davidson ran for 685 yards in the game, a new NCAA record and 964 total yards, also a record. Five Davidson players ran for at least 80 yards, and the Wildcats needed to complete just eight passes to put up 91 points. Of course, they also didn't throw an incomplete pass. The three players with a completion averaged 35 yards per attempt.
6. Oklahoma 48, Oklahoma State 47, Week 11
Oklahoma State scores TD, fails on 2-point conversion for win
Oklahoma State pulls within a point on a Taylor Cornelius touchdown pass to Tylan Wallace, elects to go for two but fails.
Our fourth entry from Oklahoma on this list. Seriously, do Sooners fans realize how much fun this year has been? Sure, it probably led several of them to develop drinking problems or spend a few days in the hospital with chest palpitations, but it was fun. And of all the near-misses due to Oklahoma's lackluster D, this is the one that probably defined the season. Taylor Cornelius' 24-yard pass to Tylan Wallace with 1:03 to play pulled Oklahoma State to within one, and Mike Gundy decided to roll the dice. Cornelius' pass to Tre Brown was just out of reach, and the Sooners hung on for the win -- and eventually a spot in the College Football Playoff.
5. Ohio State 27, Penn State 26, Week 5
Haskins leads Ohio State past Penn State
Dwayne Haskins leads a game-winning 96-yard touchdown drive and Penn State fails to convert on fourth down sending Ohio State to a 27-26 win.
The Nittany Lions led 26-14 with eight minutes to play and Ohio State's offense had looked a mess. What transpired next was either heroics on the part of Dwayne Haskins or an epic collapse on the part of Penn State -- or, more likely, a little of both -- but the end result was an elite finish from the Ohio State QB, who led two touchdown drives, including an eight-play, 96-yard march that put the Buckeyes ahead with two minutes to go. Penn State had its shot to win it in the final seconds, but some head-scratching playcalls set up a fourth-down failure that helped the Buckeyes escape with the win.
4. Ohio State 52, Maryland 51 in OT, Week 12
Ohio State survives Maryland in epic OT win
The Buckeyes erased an early deficit to force overtime and escaped with the victory when Maryland failed to convert a 2-point conversion.
Three of the four best games of the season came down to two-point tries, and while this one proved ultimately not to decide the No. 4 team in the playoff, the stakes at the time couldn't have been much higher. Maryland led by as much as 14 in the second half, but the two teams traded blows down the stretch with Ohio State coming from behind to tie three separate times in the fourth quarter, eventually sending it to overtime. In the extra frame, Ohio State scored first, and Maryland answered with a 1-yard TD run. But knowing they hadn't slowed Haskins all game, Terps coach Matt Canada decided to go for two -- and it didn't work. Game over. Ohio State wins, its playoff hopes alive -- for a few more weeks at least.
3. West Virginia 42, Texas 41, Week 10
LSU celebrates too early before overturned call.
Late in the 4th quarter, Texas A&M's Kellen Mond throws an interception. LSU celebrates, but replay overturns the call because Mond's knee was down.
"Want to win the game? Let's go win the f---ing game." And with that, Dana Holgorsen uttered arguably the best quote of the season before West Virginia won one of the best games of the season. Grier had just rallied West Virginia back from a 41-34 deficit, but rather than boot the PAT and head to overtime, the Mountaineers wanted to win it right there. That had been the plan from the moment the drive started, and Holgorsen's words to his QB set up all the drama at the end, where Tom Herman's timeouts added to the tension, and Grier's legs sealed the win.
2. Alabama 35, Georgia 28, SEC championship game
Two teams ranked in the top four, battling for a playoff berth and an SEC title. What could possibly add more drama to that matchup? Enter Jalen Hurts. The one-time Alabama starter had been relegated to the bench, as Tua Tagovailoa's magical season pushed the Crimson Tide to historic highs, but that all nearly came to an unfathomable end when Tagovailoa left the game, trailing by seven, with an ankle injury. Hurts, who'd decided to stick with the Tide despite losing his job, was forced back into the spotlight, and he was terrific. Hurts led Alabama on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, helping the Tide to the SEC championship and the top spot in the playoff. It was the ultimate redemption story, and a perfect mirror to how last season's national championship game unfolded, with Tagovailoa replacing Hurts for the comeback win.
1. Texas A&M 74, LSU 72 in 7 OT, Week 13
Texas A&M tops LSU in record-tying 7 OTs
Texas A&M forces OT on a last-second touchdown then prevails in the seventh overtime, tied for most in FBS history, on a two-point conversion to beat LSU 74-72.
To paraphrase Stefon from "Saturday Night Live," this game had everything: 146 points, seven overtimes, a premature Gatorade bath and that thing where a coach's nephew reportedly gets into a fight with a guy who has a pacemaker.
But the best part of the season's most epic game was that, quite organically, it managed to capture the attention of the entire country. As the rest of the day's big games wrapped, A&M and LSU were still tussling, and by the third overtime, anyone watching college football was glued to this one. It went from a complete afterthought on Rivalry Weekend to the most talked about drama of the season.
And even the endings wouldn't quite end.
LSU thought it had the game won in regulation, so much so that players doused coach Ed Orgeron with Gatorade in celebration. Not so fast. Quartney Davis caught a game-tying TD on the final play after officials put one second back on the clock, and off we went to overtime.
In the seventh overtime period, Texas A&M scored to the tie the game 72-72 and had to go for two, as part of the overtime rules. LSU had missed its two-point try, and it sure looked like A&M would follow suit, but Greedy Williams was flagged for pass interference on the Aggies' first crack at the win. In the do-over, A&M was flagged for a false start, backing the Aggies up for a long attempt, but Kellen Mond found Kendrick Rogers in the end zone and Texas A&M fans flooded the field to celebrate. In the chaotic aftermath, a fight broke out. LSU analyst Steve Kragthorpe, who requires a pacemaker, was reportedly punched in the chest by an A&M staffer -- reported to be Jimbo Fisher's nephew. The incident then escalated into a shouting matching involving numerous players and coaches.
So to recap: 146 points, five two-point conversions, seven overtimes, more than 1,000 total yards, 64 first downs, three cracks at the final play, and one post-game scrum, all wrapped up in a tidy 4 hours, 53 minutes.