The easy ones have been eliminated ... only the tough choices remain as we determine the greatest BYU football game ever.

It's all up to you.

This semifinal matchup features the champion of the Bowl Region, the No. 2 seed, and the champion of the Road/Neutral Region, also a No. 2 seed.

It's the Miracle Bowl squaring off against the 1984 win over No. 3-ranked Pitt.

Which one will move on and which one will be eliminated? Be sure to cast your vote in the poll on the right side of the screen to decide which of these was the greater moment for BYU football.

Here's a look at today's matchup:

Bowl Region Champion (No. 2 seed)

BYU 46, SMU 45 (1980 Holiday Bowl)

Records and rankings (entering the game): BYU 11-1 (No. 14/15), SMU 8-3 (No. 19/19)

What happened: In one of the truly epic rallies in college football history, the relentless SMU running attack of Eric Dickerson and Craig James pushed the Mustangs to a 45-25 lead with just four minutes left in the game. The Cougars came all the way back, however, helped by an onside-kick recovery and a blocked punt.

Signature play: As time expired, BYU QB Jim McMahon launched a “Hail Mary” pass into the end zone, where somehow it got through three Mustang defenders and into the arms of BYU tight end Clay Brown. Kirk Gunther’s extra point gave the Cougars the “Miracle Bowl” victory.

What it meant: The “Miracle Bowl” win was the first ever for BYU in a bowl game as the Cougars had lost in their first four tries. It is considered one of the classic games of all time.


Road/Neutral Region Champion (No. 2 seed)

BYU 20, Pitt 14 (1984)

Records and AP ranking (entering the game): BYU 0-0 (NR), Pitt 0-0 (No. 3)

What happened: The Cougars headed east for the first live football broadcast on ESPN as they took on the talented Panthers. BYU had a tough time with Pitt’s Chris Dolman but the Cougar defense kept them in the game. BYU quarterback Robbie Bosco tossed a pair of interceptions that led to Panther touchdowns, but then rallied the Cougars in the fourth quarter.

Signature play: Bosco found Adam Haysbert deep down the middle of the field for a 50-yard touchdown with 1:37 left in the game to give BYU the lead.

What it meant: Cougar alum and ESPN football commentator Trevor Matich called the Pitt game the best ever because he said BYU went into the game not knowing how good it could be but left thinking it could be something special. That victory propelled BYU into the national consciousness and eventually to a national title.


Jared Lloyd's Take

ESPN's Trevor Matich won't agree with me here. I know he loved the Pitt win and I appreciate why, but how can it hope to challenge the Miracle Bowl? The Jim McMahon-led rally is going to move on.

The Pick: BYU 46, SMU 45 (1980 Holiday Bowl)

jared-lloyd
-- Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd is also the beat writer for the BYU football team, the columnist for the Cougar men’s basketball team and covers a variety of Utah Valley high school athletics. He can be followed on Twitter at @JaredrLloyd.
Read more from  Jared Lloyd here.
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