|For one magical night in Los Angeles, Stanford's Tavita Pritchard was at the center of college football. (Getty Images)|
The choice for the biggest upset of the past five years of college football is an easy one: Appalachian State 34,
But it's worth remembering that the Mountaineers' victory set the table for what proved to be an epically chaotic season in 2007, and four years' worth of headline-making upsets to follow--including what would prove to be the biggest upset in the history of Vegas point-spreads, the first-ever FCS upset of a future BCS conference champion, and arguably the sport's greatest program of all-time falling to a school that's never made a bowl appearance.
Here's our list of the 10 biggest of those upsets:
1. Stanford 24, USC 23, Oct. 6 2007. The Cardinal: 1-11 in 2006, 1-3 to start the season, coming off of a 41-3 loss to
And that, in turn, is how a game passes into West Coast football legend as the biggest Vegas upset of all time. Buoyed by Trojan quarterback John David Booty's four interceptions (the third of which set the Cardinal up in Trojan territory with 2:50 to play), Stanford trailed just 23-17 in the dying seconds. But Pritchard had to convert a 4th-and-20 to keep the game-winning drive alive, then had to find receiver Mark Bradford on 4th-and-goal from the 10 for the decisive score--and an upset many would argue was even more unfathomable than Appalachian State's.
2. Pitt 13, West
But Rich Rodriguez's team never recovered from an early thumb injury to Pat White, sputtering on offense to the final whistle and watching the program's best-ever shot at BCS glory -- and, as it turned out, the entire Rodriguez era -- disappear into the Morgantown night.
3. James Madison 21,
The lesson? No matter how good you are or who you're playing, scheduling two college football games within six days -- the No. 13 Hokies had lost to
Of course, five turnovers and 568 yards allowed on the road have a tendency to even things out just a bit. Even so, it's also easy to forget that all the Cowboys needed to escape with their BCS dreams intact was a 37-yard field goal at the end of regulation from the reliable
On the flip side, at the time,
9. Jacksonville State 49, Ole Miss 48 (2 OT), Sept. 4, 2010. If not for Ole Miss's collapse to 4-8 this season, this Week 1 surprise might qualify as the SEC's version of Appalachian State-Michigan. As is, it's still worth recalling that the
And now, one bonus entry:
Other games considered: No. 17