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Monday, 6 October 2014

The Biggest ShakeUp Weekends in College Football History

The cross-hairs are still red hot. 


Five Top 10 teams bit the dust this weekend. And ninth-ranked Notre Dame could've made this the most improbable college football weekend in history, had they not found paydirt on a last-second 4th-and-11 pass to the corner of the end zone vs. Stanford. Instead, the Golden Domers escaped with a 17-14 win in South Bend. 


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


No. 2 Oregon lost at home to Arizona, 31-24. 

No. 3 Alabama lost at Ole Miss 23-17.

No. 4 Oklahoma lost at TCU 37-33.

No. 6 Texas A&M lost at Mississippi State, 48-31.

No. 8 UCLA lost at home to Utah 30-28.


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 eighth 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. 


With that in mind, prior to this weekend, here are...

The Biggest Shakeup Weekends in the Modern Era of College Football:




5- September 11, 1976

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


No. 1 Nebraska was 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. For example, ASU, who finished 12-0 and No. 2 in '75, finished this season at 4-7, Texas finished 5-5-1 and Nebraska ended up with three losses and a tie. 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.




4- October 11, 2003

Five Top 10 losses, three of which came to teams not ranked in the Top 25.


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.


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. There was some high-quality in this list of losers since of the five victims on this particular weekend, only Arkansas would go on to end up the season unranked, at 9-4.




3- September 29, 2007

Five teams lost, four of which come 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.


Prior to yesterday, this was the last time there have been five Top 10 losses in a single weekend. As you might recall, 2007 was one of the dead-nuts craziest seasons in college football history. Like, drunk uncle crazy. It is the only time in the modern era that the eventual national champion would end up with two losses. That would be LSU, who would go into the Sugar Bowl matchup with once-beaten Ohio State and take down the Buckeyes 38-24. So this day's carnage was just par for the course in this crazy season of action. 



2- November 17, 1984

Five Top 10 teams lost, including 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 Carolina and TCU. The Gamecocks really blew it, having known that top-ranked Nebraska had lost earlier in the day and opened the door for them to take over the top spot. But the fire-ant defense just didn't show up against the Midshipmen, for some reason. And 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. 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."




1- November 9, 1974

All five Top 10 teams lost to unranked teams in the second weekend of 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 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 since a 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. 



Honorable Mentions:


- November 3rd and 10th 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. But also because of bye-weeks and No. 6 Arkansas and No. 7 USC losing, that means No. 8 UCLA was the highest ranked team to win that day.



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