ESPN Adds Throwback Thursday: College Football Classics to Primetime Slate; Historic 2006 Rose Bowl Game Featuring No. 2 Texas vs. No. 1 USC Airs This Week

College Football

ESPN Adds Throwback Thursday: College Football Classics to Primetime Slate; Historic 2006 Rose Bowl Game Featuring No. 2 Texas vs. No. 1 USC Airs This Week

  • Longhorns-Trojans National Championship Matchup Voted a Top 10 College Football Game of All-Time
  • An Episode from The American Game Docuseries Precedes Each Throwback Thursday: CFB Classics

ESPN will air encore presentations of classic college football games beginning Thursday, April 2, (8-11 p.m. ET) adding Throwback Thursday: CFB Classics to the network’s primetime slate. Leading into each encore presentation, ESPN will air an episode of The American Game (7-8 p.m.), an 11-part docuseries that debuted as signature ESPN CFB150 programming this past season. Each Thursday,  the college football classic encore presentation and The American Game episode will have common theme, as the docuseries will dive deep into a single, significant subject matter which has helped shape the sport and the game that follows will be an extension of the same subject.

2006 Rose Bowl Game Dubbed Seventh Best College Football Game Ever, One of CFB’s “Game of the Century”
College football fans will relive the 2006 Rose Bowl Game featuring No. 2 Texas and No. 1 USC (January 4, 2006), voted the seventh best game in college football history, in the first rendition of Throwback Thursday: CFB Classics. The Longhorns and Trojans entered the national championship game with the two longest active winning streaks, as Texas had won 19 consecutive games and USC 34 games, which had delivered the school back-to-back national titles in 2003 and 2004. With that backdrop, the much-anticipated matchup was dubbed the sport’s latest “Game of the Century.”

Prior to the encore presentation The American Game: Game of the Century episode will air, as the hour-long program examines this unique college football description and the historic matchups, which have been played under the moniker.

Longhorns-Trojans Featured Some of the Sport’s Best Teams, Players, Coaches and Signature Plays
In addition to the nation’s longest winning streaks, both Texas and USC were 12-0 heading into the national championship game, ranked as the two best teams throughout the duration of the 2005 regular season, and historically, the fifth and 52nd best teams of all-time.  The rosters were full of talent, including Longhorns QB Vince Young and Trojans RB Reggie Bush, both top 100 players in the sport’s history. Both players, along with USC’s Matt Leinart and Texas’ Michael Huff, would be top 10 selections in the 2006 NFL Draft and, overall, more than 20 players from the game would be selected during the same draft. The matchup of head coaches added to the draw, as Texas’ Mack Brown and USC’s Pete Carroll also rank among the sport’s all-time coaches.

The “Game of the Century” would live up the billing, as the greatest play of the decade (2000-09) resulted in the game-winning touchdown for the Longhorns – an eight-yard touchdown run by Young on fourth down with 19 seconds to go.

Fans will also hear the call of legendary play-by-play commentator Keith Jackson, as the 2006 Rose Bowl Game would be his final college football game. Current ESPN reporter Holly Rowe was on the sidelines, along with Todd Harris. Dan Fouts was in the booth with Jackson.

Special Elements around Texas-USC:

  • SportsCenter will air elements on April 2, including interviews with key college football voices and special highlight package following the game
  • Vince Young, Mack Brown and others personalities tied to the 2006 Rose Bowl will provide memories and game insights live during the encore presentation via their own twitter handles; ESPN’s College Football Twitter handle will also amplify the presentation
  • ESPN’s Bottom Line will add to the encore presentation, providing historical context and supplemental information throughout the night.
  • ESPN writers Bill Connelly and Mark Schlabach debate their own greatest games of all time via an article on
  • com will provide a look back at a 2017 article that explored how the two quarterbacks, Young and Leinart, are inextricably linked forever (author: Ryan McGee)
  • ESPNU will delve into the “Game of the Century” theme, re-airing many classic games on April 2. A complete schedule can be found here
  • Longhorn Network will dedicate the day to the 2005 Longhorns, with encore presentations of Texas’ wins over Oklahoma (noon) and Texas A&M (2 p.m.) in the regular season and Colorado in the Big 12 Championship (4 p.m.)

Immediately following the ESPN presentation, the 2006 Rose Bowl will be available on-demand via Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

The American Game: Game of the Century
The “Game of the Century” idiom in college football lexis dates back to the 1935 matchup between undefeated Notre Dame and undefeated Ohio State. Since that showdown in front of more than 81,000 spectators, fans and media alike would repurpose the phrase when a monumental showdown in the sport was on the horizon, signifying the game’s importance. The hour-long program delves into these historic games and examines a phrase that is synonymous with the sport.

Up Next: No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 2 Ohio State from 2016 Season
ESPN’s Throwback Thursday: CFB Classics will continue with an encore presentation of No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 2 Ohio State (8-11 p.m.) from the 2016 season on Thursday, April 16. Preceding the thrilling, multiple overtime matchup, The American Game: Rivalries (7-8 p.m.) examines how the Wolverines-Buckeyes games and many other annual matchups have shaped the history and grown the popularity of the sport. Please note: ESPN programming for April 9 will be announced in the coming days.

ESPN Primetime Programing
Throwback Thursday: College Football Classics adds to ESPN’s primetime slate which includes Monday Night Classics (NFL), MLB Encore Tuesdays, and NBA Wednesday Nights.


Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner


Derek Volner

I work in college sports, which includes football and basketball, with an emphasis on Olympic Sports. Additionally, I handle ESPN’s coverage of high school athletics and recruiting.
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