College Football The Biggest College Bowl Game Upsets Ever  

Blake Edwards
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The biggest college bowl game upsets include dozens of college football games that defied all expert predictions and shocked the country. One fine NCAA Football team went in with every expectation of bringing home a victory but they either failed or were simply overpowered by their opponent and went home upset. These games might not have played out how everyone expected, but more often than not it made these games even more exciting.

Even before NCAA Division I football started using the Bowl Championship Series, at the end of each season teams play in bowl games rather than participate in a standard playoff system. To become eligible, teams must win at least half of their games but even after that requirement is met, the bowl game match-ups are still up to the sponsors. Normally, this creates games with well-matched opponents but sometimes, especially in these cases, one team enters as a clear favorite. In case you haven't already guessed, sometimes that favorite crashes and burns.

That was the case for all of these bowl game upsets but just like some bowl games are more meaningful than others, some of these upsets are more memorable as well. Take the 2007 BCS National Championship Game for example. The top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes entered with a win streak of 19 games and were the clear-cut favorite against the Florida Gators. Head coach Urban Meyer and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow never got that memo as they ran right over the Buckeyes 41-14 to win the National Championship.

Other games have not come with national championship consequences but that didn't make the upset any easier to deal with for the losing players. Close games, such as those who go into overtime, are especially tough for the upset players, such as the 2000 Sugar Bowl between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Michigan Wolverines. Then-Michigan quarterback Tom Brady led the Wolverines back from two 14-point deficits to force overtime but it was a missed field goal from the Alabama kicker in the extra session that cost the Crimson Tide the game.

Whether teams are heavily favored to win a college bowl game and lose or dominate the entire contest only to fall from one bad play, these college bowl game upsets will be remembered as the best of the best.
list ordered by

1
1,552 387
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Boise State 43 - Oklahoma 42

2
785 343
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Utah 31 - Alabama 17

3
1,028 419
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Tennessee 35 - Miami 7

4
204 92
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maccyjg added 1990 Liberty Bowl Air Force 23, Ohio State 11

5
347 312
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Penn State 14 - Miami 10

6
434 364
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West Virginia 48 - Oklahoma 28

7
294 320
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Ohio State 31 - Miami 24

8
68 41
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NickMarica added 1995 SUGAR BOWL Virginia Tech 28, Texas 10. Virtually no one gave Tech a chance in this game, and they outplayed Texas....

9
155 146
1990 Orange Bowl is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Biggest College Bowl Game Upsets Ever
mdillinger88 added 1990 Orange Bowl Colorado 10 Notre Dame 9

10
293 315
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West Virginia 38 - Georgia 35

11
258 241
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Ozarkbilly added 1978 Orange Bowl Arkansas 31 - Oklahoma 6 6th ranked Arkansas upsets 2nd ranked Oklahoma, Arkansas is an '18 point underdog' in this game. Lou Holtz in his 1st year as head coach at Arkansas pulls off the upset! Roland Sales and Ron Calcagni in the first period and shut down the Sooners' offense for a 31-6 Orange Bowl victory.

12
341 340
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2011 Rose Bowl TCU 21 - Wisconsin 19

13
186 183
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buster_d added Oklahoma vs Kentucky

14
134 120
1975 fiesta bowl is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Biggest College Bowl Game Upsets Ever
dldewitt added 1975 fiesta bowl arizona state 17 - oklahoma 14

15
290 317
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Texas 41 - USC 38

16
52 29
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John Sayer added

17
180 198
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Ozarkbilly added 1978 Orange Bowl Ark. 31 - Okla. 6

18
34 28
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WilliamThomasDoro added 2012 sugar bowl Louisville: 30; Florida: 20

19
194 268
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East Carolina 41 - Boise State 38

20
270 345
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2007 BCS National Championship Game Florida 41 - Ohio State 14

21
189 254
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Michigan 41 - Florida 35

22
159 229
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Michigan 35 - Alabama 34

23
109 197
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Georgia 10 - Texas 9

24
129 221
1997 Sugar Bowl is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Biggest College Bowl Game Upsets Ever
Florida 52 - Florida State 20

25
107 230
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Notre Dame 39 - Florida 28