Today, we will have a discussion about the 10 Best Crazy Weather College Football Games of the BCS and in American football.
Getting lost in the beautiful words of the best sports writer America has ever known, you can see the picture of a nice autumn afternoon.
There’s something about college football in cold weather that brings back memories of different places where games were played and fame was earned, even in not-so-great conditions.
Bad weather is a game-changer for people who bet on who will win and by how much in sports.
Rain can make fumbling hard. Wind affects kicking and passing. Heavy snow makes it tough for both teams.
It’s not fair to think that all games played in bad weather need lots of writing about what happened that day.
And there isn’t a real list of every game played in bad weather since the 1869 game between Rutgers and Princeton started football’s history.
Other schools like BYU, Colorado State, and Utah have bad weather games each year without much attention for their efforts.
But on the other hand, there are a few college football games played in really tough conditions that deserve special talk.
For some, the weather was worse than for others. In a few games, how big the game was or the surprising result made it really exciting.
When it gets colder, the days get shorter, and stories around the fireplace start. Remember the memories and stories about the Riders on the Storm.
1. Oregon State 3, Southern California 0: Nov. 11, 1967
On a rainy Veterans Day in Corvallis, Oregon, the Beavers welcomed the top-ranked Southern California team.
Governors Ronald Reagan and Tom McCall, along with 10 generals and admirals, came to watch this memorable game that had so many fans, some even standing outside the stands.
The USC team was really strong and intimidating. A sports journal called Sporting News ranked the ’67 Trojans as the 9th best team of the whole 20th century.
Even California Governor Ronald Reagan came to support USC. He was very sure they would win, so he bet that he’d personally pick a whole box of fresh oranges and send it to the Oregon governor if the Trojans lost.
The team from USC, known as the Men of Troy, had amazing players like O.J. Simpson, Ron Yary, and Tim Rossovich.
Oregon State had a few tricks up their sleeve as well. They had won their last six games of the previous season and had confidence in their strong running game led by fullback Bill “Earthquake” Enyart.
Earthquake became well-known in his second year when he was one of the best linebackers in the conference. In 1967, he was among the top three fullbacks in the country, along with Larry Csonka from Syracuse and Ronnie Jenkins from Georgia.
Even though the field was really muddy because of an inch of rain, O.J. Simpson still rushed for 188 yards on 33 carries.
The Beaver defense was strong, letting the Trojans get past the middle of the field only twice after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Oregon State’s kicker Mike Haggard (no relation to Merle and definitely not from Muskogee) kicked a 30-yard field goal. That was the only score of the day.
Even after the tough loss, Simpson stayed composed and promised that they’d win the next week against UCLA.
Southern California did win the city showdown and later played in the Rose Bowl. In the final poll, they were named national champions.
As for the Oregon State Beavers, they finished 7-2-1 and ranked No. 7.
The Oregon State Mud Bowl was the only regular season loss in O.J. Simpson’s entire college career.
There’s no proof that Governor Reagan ever sent those oranges. Maybe he thought someone else in Sacramento would take care of it.
2. Michigan 9, Ohio State 3: Nov. 25, 1950
The most famous game played in bad weather is often called “The Snow Bowl,” and it’s been known by that name for more than 50 years.
On Thanksgiving weekend more than 50 years ago, the Wolverines went to Columbus, but they found a foot of snow on the field and even deeper drifts in other places.
The temperature during the game was just five degrees, and the wind was blowing at 40 miles per hour.
Despite these incredibly tough conditions, over 50,000 fans still came to watch the game.
Vic Janowicz, a great player from the Buckeyes, did an impressive job by running, kicking, and playing all over the difficult field.
When the game was over, Janowicz showed the coaches his hands, which were almost frozen.
Instead of immediately getting medical help, he said, “I knew what I wanted to do, but my body wouldn’t let me do it on this field.”
Even though they didn’t make a single first down, the Wolverines showed that they were the better team in bad weather that day. They beat the Buckeyes in a game that had 45 punts.
It was a remarkable game that fans still remember vividly even after six decades.
3. Nebraska 36, Miami 34: Dec. 15, 1962
The absolute worst weather conditions for a bowl game happened during the Gotham Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York City. This was the second and final time this not-so-popular event took place.
There were strong rumors in the city that the bowl was having money problems. As it turned out, those rumors were true.
Nebraska’s coach, Bob Devaney, didn’t allow his players to leave the plane until the money they were promised for playing was deposited into the team’s bank account. Coach Devaney was really tough in negotiations.
Miami’s remarkable quarterback, George Mira, who was only 5’9″ tall, put on an impressive performance despite facing incredibly strong winds of up to 65 miles per hour and a temperature of just 14 degrees.
Even though they sold 6,000 tickets, fewer than 2,000 fans actually came to the game. The terrible weather and a newspaper strike meant that there wasn’t much promotion for the event.
Despite all the challenges, the game was a very exciting shootout.
In the end, the Hurricanes lost to the bigger and more ground-focused Cornhuskers, even though Miami’s All-American Mira managed to pass for 321 yards.
4. Mississippi State 43, Texas A&M 41 (OT): Dec. 31, 2000
Even though some old-time fans of Buckeye and Michigan teams might not like to admit it, a more recent game is taking the place of their beloved Thanksgiving weekend blizzard game as the new “Snow Bowl.”
This game was really interesting. It was between the Mississippi State Bulldogs, coached by Jackie Sherrill, and the Texas A&M team, led by his former assistant R.C. Slocum.
The game was truly amazing and was decided by a blocked extra point due to the weather. This led to a situation where the Bulldogs got the ball and scored the winning touchdown in overtime.
The snow began falling on New Year’s Eve in Shreveport, and it just didn’t stop (you can see it in the picture above).
Even though much of the game seemed like it was played behind a curtain of snow, it was an exciting game from start to finish.
5. Washington State 42, Washington 23: Nov. 21, 1992
The famous Northwest showdown, called the Apple Cup, has seen its fair share of extreme weather battles.
One game that’s often discussed happened in late fall 1992 in Pullman.
The Cougars’ home, Martin Stadium, was hit by a snowstorm with strong 20-knot winds and incredibly cold temperatures, feeling like minus 18 degrees due to the wind.
The Huskies, who were defending co-national champions, had a great 9-1 record thanks to Napoleon Kaufman’s running and quarterback Mark Brunell’s throws.
The Cougars entered with a 7-3 record and were led by impressive quarterback Drew Bledsoe and their forward-thinking coach, Mike Price.
The halftime score was 7-6 for the Huskies, showing how both teams struggled with the tough weather conditions.
But everything changed in the third quarter when Washington State scored 29 points and settled the game.
Bledsoe ended with 259 passing yards and led the Cougars to a total of 476 offensive yards.
The Wazzu defense limited the Huskies’ star runner, Kaufman, to just 45 rushing yards.
Bledsoe’s big hands handled the ball well in the snow, making his throws faster and giving the football better spin compared to Brunell’s passes.
Even though the Husky quarterback did his best in the snowy conditions, the difference at the quarterback position made all the difference in deciding the game.
6. Syracuse 7, Colgate 0: Nov. 15, 1947
A lesser-known game played in bad weather happened between the teams called the Orangemen and Red Raiders.
This game happened so long ago that the schools now go by Orange and Raiders—changing the former name because it was offensive to some and outdated.
The Archbold Stadium in Syracuse was a strong home field due to the always-changing weather in that part of New York.
Although the Orange have a proud football history, they’ve been on the losing side in their 65-game series against nearby Colgate.
In a game covered in snow from a heavy white storm, a small player named Slivers Slovenski from Syracuse, who was 5’8″ and 150 pounds, managed to escape during the scoreless game. He did a fake punt and ran 65 yards for a touchdown to win against Colgate.
7. Notre Dame 17, Penn State 16: Nov. 14, 1992
Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions, with a 6-3 record, went to South Bend to play against a strong Irish team led by coach Lou Holtz.
By the end of the game, there was more than an inch of snow on the field. On top of that, the filming of the movie Rudy during the week around the campus made things feel very strange.
Notre Dame was having a great season at 10-1-1 but found themselves behind 16-9 late in the game.
The quarterback, Rick Mirer, saw that the fullback Jerome Bettis was wide open in an open area, and he ran for a touchdown, making the difference just one point.
Looking at the snowy sky as he thought about whether to go for a two-point conversion, the man known as “The Gambler” long before Tommy Tuberville became a coach, said the words his quarterback wanted to hear.
He said, “Go for it, Rick.”
The Irish made the conversion, won 17-16, and got ready for the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day.
8. West Virginia 13, South Florida 7: Dec. 6, 2008
In this game, the talented Mountaineer quarterback Pat White played his last match in Morgantown.
Fans were told to wear white clothes as a tribute to the senior quarterback.
They were welcomed by a snowstorm that covered the whole field in white. It seemed like a good sign.
The Mountaineers managed to win against the warm-weather USF Bulls, with White gaining 141 yards from passing and 40 yards from rushing in his last home game.
9. Clemson 7, South Carolina 6: Nov. 25, 1972
You might expect a place named Death Valley to be mostly dry and warm, but that wasn’t true on this terrible day.
Despite the intense rivalry, the temperature stayed at a chilly 33 degrees, and heavy rain poured down all day, making the scene grimy and unpleasant.
If the BC-Va Tech game was like a monsoon, this game was more like Noah’s flood.
It’s impressive how both sets of fans stayed strong, as no one left the stadium until the game was over.
Interestingly, very few people remember anything specific about this game except for being wet and cold all day.
10. Boston College 14, Virginia Tech 10: Oct. 25, 2007
The rain started falling. Oh, it another worst Weather College Football game.
Football fans across the USA have an old saying: “When things get tough, tough people step up.”
This phrase perfectly describes the determined Eagle quarterback Matt Ryan, who played incredibly well despite heavy rain.
Standing at 6’5″ and weighing 224 pounds, Ryan threw for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone.
Thanks to his performance, BC maintained its No. 2 national ranking and improved its record to 8-0 for the season.
Fans of Va. Tech won’t forget the way Ryan stood strong, much like the Colossus of Rhodes, as he analyzed the Va. Tech defense for weaknesses and led the Eagles to victory.
11. Iowa 24, Penn State 23: Nov. 8, 2008
While they were on their way to competing for the BCS championship, the undefeated Nittany Lions were stopped by the bowl-bound Hawkeyes in Iowa City.
Facing a strong wind that affected the offensive strategy for both teams all day, Coach Joe Paterno’s players couldn’t perform when they needed to in the fourth quarter.
The Hawkeyes seized the opportunity to win by erasing a 23-14 lead held by Penn State with just 10 minutes left in the game.
Iowa managed to kick the winning field goal with only one second left in the game.
Even though they had a possession advantage of 36 minutes to 24 minutes, the Nittany Lions, ranked No. 3, couldn’t feel too good about their performance. They did well, but not well enough to win in the tough weather conditions.
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