2000s: Top 10 College Football Upsets
Kansas State 35, Oklahoma 7
Oklahoma's vaunted defense had carried it to a 12-0 season and No. 1 ranking, but upset-minded Kansas State shredded the normally stingy unit. Ell Roberson threw four touchdown passes and Darren Sproles recorded 235 rushing yards, and the Sooners, who had trailed for all of six minutes the entire season, found themselves on the wrong side of a blowout. They didn't fare much better on offense, as constant pressure from K-State's front four led to a two interception, zero touchdown effort from Heisman contender Jason White. The win earned the Wildcats their first BCS berth and put the Sooners' national title-game worth in doubt, but they ultimately earned the berth over eventual co-champion USC.
Colorado 62, Nebraska 36
Colorado entered the game having lost its last nine contests against Nebraska. This time, though, the Buffs bested the Cornhusker's Blackshirts D, racking up 380 rushing yards and 582 total yards. Colorado registered three early scores, and after that the Chris Brown show began. The tailback registered rushing touchdowns of 12, one and 36 yards before the half, then put the game away by scoring three more touchdowns over a 189-second span in the fourth quarter. The 'Huskers didn't have long to sulk, though; Colorado went on to upset Texas in the Big 12 title game, catapulting Nebraska back into the championship mix.
Tennessee 34, Florida 32
When the nation's No. 4 team beats the nation's No. 2 team, it rarely qualifies as an upset worth remembering. But the Florida-Tennessee rivalry doesn't always obey the rules. When the fourth-ranked Volunteers traveled to the Swamp to take on the second-ranked Gators in 2001, they did so preparing to conquer two foes: Florida, and history. The Gators controlled their own national title-game destiny, but Tennessee's Travis Stephens ran for 226 yards and two scores and the Vols stopped the Gators' two-point conversion attempt with 70 seconds remaining, securing their first win in Gainesville since 1971.
Navy 46, Notre Dame 44
All sports have their streaks. Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 straight games. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their first 26 contests. And, beginning in 1963, Notre Dame beat Navy on the gridiron 43 straight times. But in 2007, with the Irish off to a shocking 1-7 start and desperate for a W, the automatic string of victories ceased. Notre Dame had done little to generate confidence in its first eight games, but even after losses to its two other biggest rivals, Michigan and USC, a loss to Navy seemed incomprehensible. After trading scores all game, the Midshipmen completed their two-point conversion attempt in the third OT; the Irish did not. The longest winning streak by one team over another in college football history ended.
Louisville 26, Florida State 20
Louisville, then still a member of Conference USA, played host to No. 4 Florida State as the remnants of Tropical Storm Isidore poured down on Cardinal Stadium. The Seminoles built a 13-6 halftime lead, but Dave Ragone and the Cardinals charged back to force overtime. On the first play in OT, Louisville's Anthony Floyd intercepted FSU quarterback Chris Rix near the goal line. With the pressure to answer a score removed, Henry Miller broke off a game-winning 25-yard touchdown run to seal the upset. In 2004, C-USA voted the win the greatest moment in the conference's first decade of existence.
Stanford 24, USC 23
By now, USC's habit of losing a game it shouldn't to an inferior Pac-10 team has become old hat. But when 41-point underdog Stanford knocked off No. 2 USC in Los Angeles, it shocked the football world. With time winding down, Cardinal QB Tavita Pritchard faced a critical fourth-and-20. But with some 85,000 Trojans fans roaring, Pritchard, making his first career start, couldn't hear the play call. Improvising, he connected with Richard Sherman to keep the drive alive. He found fourth down magic again with 49 ticks left, connecting with Mark Bradford for the winning score.
Pitt 13, West Virginia 9
Pitt was out of bowl contention. West Virginia stood poised for a national title-game berth. The No. 2 Mountaineers entered the 100th Backyard Brawl as 28-point favorites, but the Season of the Upset had one curveball left to throw. The offensively potent Mountaineers squandered two early scoring opportunities, missing short field goals, and lost all chance at regaining their mojo when quarterback and sparkplug Pat White dislocated his thumb in the second quarter. The group that came in averaging 42 points managed just nine on a season-low 183 total yards, and became the sixth No. 2 team to fall that season. The loss opened the door for Ohio State to play for the national title, and forced West Virginia to settle for the consolation prize, the Fiesta Bowl.
Utah 31, Alabama 17
Alabama surged to a No. 1 ranking after a 12-0 regular season, but a loss to Florida in the SEC title game cost the Tide a berth in the BCS Championship Game. Instead, Nick Saban's squad headed to the Sugar Bowl to play Mountain West champ Utah, itself deprived a shot at the national championship despite a perfect record. Utes QB Brian Johnson penetrated Alabama's stout defense, passing for 336 yards and three touchdowns and leading Utah to a definitive 31-17 win over a team that, but for one stumble, would have played for the national championship.
Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42
Many questioned whether Boise, playing an oft-ridiculed schedule, deserved its No. 9 ranking and BCS berth. The Broncos needed three Fiesta Bowl miracles to prove they did. Boise built a 28-10 lead through three-plus quarters, but 25 unanswered points from the Sooners, including 15 in the final 1:26 of regulation, quickly turned that into a 35-28 deficit. With seven seconds left and its upset bid seemingly over, Boise converted a 50-yard hook-and-ladder player to force overtime. The Sooners scored first, but Boise answered on a fourth-down touchdown pass from wide receiver Vinny Perretta, then gambled its season by attempting a two-point conversion for the win. The successful Statue of Liberty play sealed a great upset and classic game.
Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32
No. 5 Michigan entered 2007 with national title expectations, but one of the greatest David versus Goliath moments in college football history quickly derailed those dreams. The Wolverines returned stars Chad Henne, Mike Hart and Jake Long, but the Mountaineers neutralized that star power with a four-touchdown effort from dual-threat quarterback Armanti Edwards and a last-second field goal block. It was the first win for an FCS (then Division I-AA) team over a Top 25 AP team since the Division I subdivisions were created in 1978.