Shake-Up Saturdays

Counting down the top five weekends of surprise in the modern era of college football

Sept. 30, 2007

College Football Recap: Week 5

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> Run & Shoot: USF Knocks Off West Virginia  |  Maryland Takes Down Rutgers  |  Badgers Squeak By
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By Eric Sorenson

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Eric Sorenson is a regular contributor to, covering football, basketball & baseball. E-mail here!


The cross-hairs are still red hot.


Top-ranked USC could've made this the most improbable college football weekend in history, had the Trojans fumbled, penalized and malaised their way just one or two more times and lost at Washington. Instead, the Men of Troy escaped with a 27-24 win in Seattle in a game that ended at 11:45 p.m. eastern time.




But the rest of the Top 10 wasn't so lucky.


No. 3 Oklahoma lost at Colorado, 27-24.

No. 4 Florida lost at home to Auburn, 20-17.

No. 5 West Virginia lost at South Florida, 21-13 on Friday night.

No. 7 Texas lost to Kansas State once again, 41-24.

No. 10 Rutgers lost at home to Maryland, 34-24.


That's five of the top 10 falling by the wayside. And we were THAT close to having an unprecedented six teams draw Ls this weekend, something that has never happened in modern college football history.


Just to show you how wild this weekend was, this is only the seventh time in the modern history of the polls (since they've expanded to 20 teams) that there have been five teams in the top 10 lose in the same weekend.


Counting down, here are the biggest shakeup weekends in the modern era of college football:


Honorable Mentions:


-November 3 and 10 of 1990.

For the first time ever, four top 10 teams lose in back-to-back weekends. That includes No. 1 Virginia's infamous loss to No. 16 Georgia Tech, who would go on to win the national title.


-October 27, 2002

No. 3 Virginia Tech, No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 5 Georgia and No. 10 N.C. State all lost to unranked teams.


-November 20, 1993

No. 1 Notre Dame lost to No. 15 Boston College on a last-play field goal. But also, No. 4 Miami lost to West Virginia and No. 5 Ohio State lost to unranked Michigan, 28-0.


-November 19, 1966

The famous `play-for-the-tie' game where No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan State tied, 10-10.


Also, because of bye-weeks and No. 6 Arkansas and No. 7 USC losing, that meant No. 8 UCLA was the highest ranked team to win that day.


No. 5 - September 11, 1976


Four Top 10 teams lost and one tied, four of which came against unranked teams.


No. 1 Nebraska tied at unranked LSU, 6-6.

No. 3 Arizona State lost to No. 17 UCLA, 28-10.

No. 6 Alabama lost in Birmingham to unranked Ole Miss, 10-7.

No. 7 Texas lost at unranked Boston College, 14-13.

No. 8 USC lost at home to unranked Missouri, 45-26.


Thanks to pre-season polls (even back then they should've been outlawed), this was probably more of a product of teams being over-rated going into the season.


ASU finished 12-0 and No. 2 the year before in '75, then finished '76 at 4-7.


Texas finished 5-5-1 and Nebraska ended up with three losses and a tie in `76.


Roller-coaster Missouri started its season giving SC its only loss of the year. In fact, Al Onofrio's Tigers were quite possibly the most interesting team in college football history, having beaten four Top 10 teams during the season, but went bowl-less at 6-5 overall.


No. 4 - October 11, 2003


Five Top 10 losses, three of which came against unranked teams.


No. 3 Ohio State lost at No. 23 Wisconsin, 17-10.

No. 5 Florida State lost at No. 2 Miami, 22-14.

No. 6 LSU lost to unranked Florida, 19-7.

No. 7 Arkansas lost at home to unranked Auburn, 10-3.

No. 10 Nebraska lost at unranked Missouri, 41-24.


This was the last time that there have been five Top 10 losses in a single weekend.


The ironic part about this was that LSU, despite losing at home to a team that finished 8-5, would go on to win out the rest of the way and earn a share of the national championship with a 21-14 win over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Of the five victims on this particular weekend, only Arkansas ended up the season unranked, at 9-4.


No. 3 - September 29, 2007


Just yesterday, five teams lost, four of which came against unranked teams.


No. 3 Oklahoma lost at unranked Colorado, 27-24.

No. 4 Florida lost at home to unranked Auburn, 20-17.

No. 5 West Virginia lost in Tampa to No. 18 South Florida 21-13, (Friday night)

No. 7 Texas lost at home to unranked Kansas State, 41-24.

No. 10 Rutgers lost at home to unranked Maryland, 34-24.


It's hard to tell the magnitude of these upsets, considering I already had Texas and Rutgers on my "Fraud" list prior to this weekend to begin with.


OU looks like a team with a lot of ultra-talented other words, a lot of peaks and valleys is expected.


And I know this is a wild statement, but South Florida may just be a national title contender before all is said and done.


Still, this was four losses to unranked teams. Special mention to Ron Prince's crew, winning its second in a row against the Horns, this time in Austin.


No. 2 - November 17, 1984


Five Top 10 teams lost, four of which came against unranked teams.


No. 1 Nebraska lost at home to No. 6 Oklahoma, 17-7.

No. 2 South Carolina lost in Annapolis to unranked Navy, 38-21.

No. 7 USC lost at unranked UCLA, 29-10.

No. 9 LSU lost at unranked Mississippi State, 16-14.

No. 10 (UPI) TCU lost at home to No. 10 (AP) Texas, 44-23.


One of the main reasons this loss-fest is so high on the list is because it was a heartbreaking weekend for many reasons, particularly for the long-suffering fans of South Carolina and TCU.


The Gamecocks really blew it, having known that top-ranked Nebraska had lost earlier in the day and with the door opened for them to take over the top spot. But the fire-ant defense just didn't show up against the Midshipmen, for some reason.


TCU had won just 10 games in the previous 15 seasons, but after an 8-1 start under the infectiously enthusiastic Jim Wacker, the Longhorns showed the Frogs no quarter.


It checks in at No. 2 here, but what was the biggest reason this was the most heartbreaking weekend for all college football fans? Because THIS was the weekend that allowed a weak-sister BYU team to ascend to No. 1 and win the "national title."


No. 1 - November 9, 1974


The five Top 10 teams who lost did so all to unranked teams and in the last month of the season.


No. 1 Ohio State lost at unranked Michigan State, 16-13.

No. 4 Texas A&M lost at unranked SMU, 18-14.

No. 6 Florida lost in Jacksonville against unranked Georgia, 17-16.

No. 7 Penn State lost at unranked North Carolina State, 17-12.

No. 10 (UPI) Texas lost at unranked Baylor, 34-24.


Michigan State did the biggest damage of all, having not had a seven-win season since 1966 before handing the Bucks their first regular season loss, ironically enough since a previous trip to East Lansing in 1972.


OSU, who had an unbeaten streak of 19 games, ended up the season at No. 3. Looking back, this actually ended up being a weeding out of crybabies, because four of the above teams ended up the season outside the Top 10.