There are two kinds of great games. One is the kind you see coming, an epic matchup between titanic powers with great athletes, a national championship game or a game with title implications pitting evenly matched competitors against each other. That's Southern Cal vs. Texas in the 2005 Rose Bowl, Michigan vs. Ohio State in 2006, Florida vs. Alabama this year.
Then there are the sleepers, the games that start as blowouts or sleepy affairs before something changes -- momentum shifts, both teams find their offense at the same time, an unanticipated play gives the game a sudden electricity.
Sometimes, a disappointing Georgia program being run into the ground by Jim Donnan collides with Purdue taking a one-season break from its Joe Tiller-led revival, and you get the second overtime in bowl history, an MVP from the losing team and 22 Outback Bowl records either tied or broken.
You get the 2000 Outback Bowl.
Jim Donnan actually waited 55 years to coach a team in the Oahu Bowl, but the Outback would do in a pinch.
On one side, you had Donnan, under pressure for a dismal end to the season, including losses to archrivals Auburn, Florida and Georgia Tech -- the latter due in part to a faux fumble on a play that never should have been called -- and in the three of the last four games, no less. The Dawgs had gone from 6-1 with faint national title hopes to 7-4 with faint hopes of remaining ranked at the end of the season.
On the other side was Tiller, whose Boilermakers had muddled their way through the worst of his first three years on the Purdue sideline. Yes, Purdue had defeated 10-2 Michigan State, but it had also lost to 6-6 Ohio State. who would not go to a bowl that year.
The game looked to be over at halftime. Drew Brees -- picking up where Georgia Tech's Joe Hamilton had left off -- carved up the Dawg's secondary, throwing four touchdowns in the first 20 minutes of the game, staking the Boilermakers to a 25-0 lead after a missed extra point and a pair of missed two-point conversions.
Georgia suddenly found its offense in that second quarter, though, and reeled off 25 straight points to tie the game -- at the time, the biggest comeback in bowl history. Meanwhile, things went from bad to worse for Travis Dorsch, who would end up missing three field goals as well, to bring his "missed points" total for the game to 10. Georgia's Hap Hines had better luck on the day, and converted the winning kick in overtime for the 28-25 victory.
Despite calling the signals for the losing team, Brees would be named MVP after completing 36-of-60 for 378 yards, 4 TDs and an INT. Georgia's Quincy Carter was by no means bad, passing for one score and running for another while going 20-of-33 for 243 yards and no picks.
Georgia would finish the season moving up to 14th in both polls while Purdue fell to 25th in the AP and out of the USA Today/ESPN poll.
But the programs were really headed in precisely the opposite direction -- Georgia would go to the Oahu Bowl the following season, leading to Donnan's firing. Tiller would guide Purdue to its first share of the Big Ten title since 1967. (The Boilermakers would lose the Rose Bowl to Washington, 34-24.)
They would meet again in 2004 in the Capital One Bowl. Georgia would take a 24-10 lead to the locker room before allowing Purdue to score 17 points in the fourth and tie the game. (In what must have seemed like uncomfortable echoes of the past to Georgia fans, Purdue was able to tie the game because of a fumble following an ill-advised run play in the waning seconds of the game.)
Georgia would win that game as well, 34-27. Mark Richt's Bulldogs would end the season with double-digit wins and ranked in the Top 10 for the second time in as many years. This time, it was no illusion. Richt's team would repeat those accomplishments three times in the next five seasons.