College Football The Biggest College Bowl Game Upsets Ever  

Blake Edwards
Originally by
14.7k votes 4.4k voters 72.9k views 29 items

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
1,527 383
Ranker Video
Boise State 43 - Oklahoma 42

2
772 339
Ranker Video
Utah 31 - Alabama 17

3
1,022 410
Ranker Video
Tennessee 35 - Miami 7

4
197 86
Ranker Video
maccyjg added 1990 Liberty Bowl Air Force 23, Ohio State 11

5
339 308
Ranker Video
Penn State 14 - Miami 10

6
429 358
Ranker Video
West Virginia 48 - Oklahoma 28

7
288 315
Ranker Video
Ohio State 31 - Miami 24

8
65 38
Ranker Video
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
289 314
Ranker Video
West Virginia 38 - Georgia 35

10
150 145
1990 Orange Bowl is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Biggest College Bowl Game Upsets Ever
mdillinger88 added 1990 Orange Bowl Colorado 10 Notre Dame 9

11
257 237
Ranker Video
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
335 339
Ranker Video
2011 Rose Bowl TCU 21 - Wisconsin 19

13
185 180
Ranker Video
buster_d added Oklahoma vs Kentucky

14
132 117
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
284 314
Ranker Video
Texas 41 - USC 38

16
180 194
Ranker Video
Ozarkbilly added 1978 Orange Bowl Ark. 31 - Okla. 6

17
47 28
Ranker Video
John Sayer added

18
31 26
Ranker Video
WilliamThomasDoro added 2012 sugar bowl Louisville: 30; Florida: 20

19
193 265
Ranker Video
East Carolina 41 - Boise State 38

20
268 342
Ranker Video
2007 BCS National Championship Game Florida 41 - Ohio State 14

21
188 251
Ranker Video
Michigan 41 - Florida 35

22
157 227
Ranker Video
Michigan 35 - Alabama 34

23
108 194
Ranker Video
Georgia 10 - Texas 9

24
127 219
1997 Sugar Bowl is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Biggest College Bowl Game Upsets Ever
Florida 52 - Florida State 20

25
106 184
Ranker Video
Purdue 37 - Kansas State 34

26
105 227
Ranker Video
Notre Dame 39 - Florida 28

27
95 206
Ranker Video
California 52 - Virginia Tech 49

28
110 200
Ranker Video
Wisconsin 38 - UCLA 31

29
38 182
Ranker Video
LSU 47 - Illinois 34