The Top 5 Greatest Upsets in College Football History

By Jaclyn Harris

May 20, 2014

Who doesn’t love a good upset in college football? There’s nothing quite like watching the underdogs come out and lay it all on the line to defeat the big man on the top of the totem pole. The favored team and its fans begin to get nervous as the gap between the scores narrows, and the underdogs’ team and fans erupt with that feeling of sweet, sweet victory that only comes from winning a big game!

It’s in matches like these that we see the most passion behind the plays. We see players wearing their hearts on their sleeves as they put their all into the sport they love. We see the raw emotion of triumph or defeat across the team and fans alike.

There is just nothing comparable to the experience of seeing an upset happen. Fortunately, we as college football fans have been blessed with quite a few historic upsets. From big comebacks, to epic performances, to indescribable plays, these matches have delivered moments, both good and bad depending on which side you represent, that linger in our minds. We then find ourselves wondering who will deliver the next big upset that leaves us all wowed.

But before we begin to speculate on the upsets that might happen in the 2014 college football season, and how these future upsets could impact the big bowl games or the College Football Playoff, let’s take a look at what we believe to be the top five greatest upsets in college football history!

5. Utah vs Alabama (2009)

It was in this 2009 Sugar Bowl performance that Utah really made a name for itself. Alabama was completely favored heading into the match and they were even expected to crush Utah – the game was supposed to be an open and close case.

However, Utah came out hot, scoring on its first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead in the first quarter alone. From there on, it was a relaxed cruise to victory as Alabama never quite could recover. The final score was 31-17.

4. Stanford vs USC (2007)

USC entered this game on a 35-game winning streak and Stanford were 41-point underdogs. However, the Stanford defense was on point forcing USC quarterback John David Booty to throw four interceptions that Stanford was able to capitalize on.

Stanford went on to win the game 24-23.

3. Iowa State vs Oklahoma State (2011)

This upset didn’t come easy – it came from the result of double overtimes! Oklahoma State was ranked number two, with the National Championship game in sight. This title game slipped away from its grasps when Iowa State came to play.

Iowa State was able to force five turnovers to add to their 560 yards of offensive play. After two overtimes, the score stood 37-31, in favor of Iowa State.

2. James Madison vs Virginia Tech (2010)

In this match, Virginia Tech learned that you can’t come out flat against James Madison! JM’s defense came out strong and managed to shut down VT’s offense early. Without being able to recover, James Madison went on to win the match 21-16.

The ironic part? Because of the BCS system in place, Virginia Tech managed to take this loss, lose again against Boise State in the very next game, and still manage to be awarded the ACC title that season.

1. Appalachian State vs Michigan (2007)

Ranked number five at the time, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Michigan would come out and walk all over Appalachian State. However, the Mountaineers were able to keep themselves in the game up until the final minute!

Michigan had a field goal in the final play of the game that would have been a determining factor, but App State’s defense blocked the kick! Appalachian State then went on to win the FCS national title.

What upsets would you add to our list? Share with us in the comments below.

The Underdogs are Coming…

The 2014 college football season is coming with the 2015 College Football Playoff being the end result. Why should this be music to your ears?

  1. The college football season is almost here – who isn’t excited about that?
  2. The College Football Playoff offers possibilities for the underdogs to have a chance at the title! An opportunity that wasn’t visible in the BCS era.

Take a look at how the College Football Playoff will function>>

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