Counting down the top five weekends of surprise in the modern era of college football
Sept. 30, 2007
By Eric Sorenson
Special to CSTV.com
Eric Sorenson is a regular contributor to CSTV.com, 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
But the rest of the Top 10 wasn't so lucky.
No. 3 Oklahoma lost at
No. 4 Florida lost at home to Auburn, 20-17.
No. 5 West Virginia lost at
No. 7 Texas lost to
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:
-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
-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
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.
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
No. 7 Arkansas lost at home to unranked
No. 10 Nebraska lost at unranked
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
No. 3 - September 29, 2007
Just yesterday, five teams lost, four of which came against unranked teams.
No. 3 Oklahoma lost at unranked
No. 4 Florida lost at home to unranked
No. 5 West Virginia lost in
No. 7 Texas lost at home to unranked
No. 10 Rutgers lost at home to unranked
It's hard to tell the magnitude of these upsets, considering I already had
OU looks like a team with a lot of ultra-talented youth...in other words, a lot of peaks and valleys is expected.
And I know this is a wild statement, but
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
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. 7 USC lost at unranked UCLA, 29-10.
No. 9 LSU lost at unranked
No. 10 (UPI) TCU lost at home to No. 10 (AP)
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
The Gamecocks really blew it, having known that top-ranked
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. 6 Florida lost in
No. 7 Penn State lost at unranked
No. 10 (UPI)
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.