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Midweek Musings: The Humbling Loss

Every great program has them, every fan hates them, but they make sports that much better.


It's been a few weeks since I've done one of these, but after Robert Morris defeated Kentucky in the first round of the NIT last night, I started thinking about all of the bad sports losses teams suffered this year, and in years past.

It's never a good feeling as a fan when you witness your team lose to someone that they absolutely had no business losing to. It's gut wrenching. It's disgusting. It makes you reevaluate everything.

That's what Kentucky fans are doing this morning. They're pissed, dogging players and calling for Calipari's head (which would make my Memphis fan buddies very happy). Sure, this wasn't a championship caliber team, being just a shell of the team that won it all one year ago, but they weren't supposed to lose last night.

Just like we weren't supposed to beat Kansas (or Oklahoma).

Or just like Arkansas Pine-Bluff's baseball team wasn't supposed to have us all reeling.

So, with that in mind, I've gone back into the annals of history to find some of the worst losses in college athletics to create a Top 10 list, if you will.

10. 2013 (basketball) - TCU defeats #5 Kansas 62-55.

Okay, okay. We could sit and argue all day as to whether or not this is one of the greatest upsets of all time, but bear with me. This is the single greatest win in the history of TCU basketball, and easily one of the worst losses Kansas has ever suffered, regular season or otherwise.

While it didn't keep the Jayhawks from earning a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament, many argued that it should have. The RIP disparity at the time the two teams played was almost double what the difference is when a 1-seed plays a 16-seed in the tournament.

You guys, it was a pretty big deal.

9. 2004 (basketball) - Santa Clara defeats North Carolina 77-66.

North Carolina lost four games that season, but none worse than a double-digit loss to a sub .500 team in Santa Clara. To think, the Tar Heels won the championship that season...

8. 2007 (football ) - Louisiana Monroe defeats Alabama 21-14.

Sure, this wasn't the greatest season in Alabama history, but come on. Saban lost to ULM? That has to make Arkansas fans feel better, right? Probably not. They still lost to Louisiana Monroe.

7. 2009 (basketball ) - Le Moyne defeats Syracuse 82-79.

A storied basketball program like Syracuse should never, ever lose to a D-II program. Ever. Ever. Ever. But that's what they did, when they were ranked #25 in the nation. Sure, it was an exhibition game, but still. Syracuse made it to the Sweet 16 that year.

6. 1997 (basketball) - Coppin State defeats South Carolina 78-65.

15-seed Coppin State had never won a game in the NCAA Tournament. They certainly weren't expected to beat 2-seed South Carolina, but that's what they did, and they beat them like a drum. Still one of the best upsets in tournament history.

5. 1942 (football) - Holy Cross defeats Boston College 55-12.

Boston College was 8-0 and on track to win a national championship. Holy Cross was 4-4-1 and on track to be forgotten. B.C. had only allowed 19 points all year, and four of their victories had been shutouts. Then, out of nowhere, Holy Cross hung 55 points on the Eagles and completely crushed their title hopes.

4. 2007 (football) - Stanford defeats USC 24-23.

USC was a 41 point favorite in this game. A 41 point favorite. TCU beat Stanford in Palo Alto that year 38-36 to drop the Cardinal to 2-4 on the season. Stanford would finish 4-8 on the year. USC would recover to go 11-2 and win the Rose Bowl over Illinois. Definitely one of the most shocking wins in college football history.

3. 2006 (basketball) - George Mason defeats UConn 86-84 (OT).

Sure, George Mason had made it to the Elite 8 at this point, but did any of us really expect them to beat UConn? After this win, I was fully on the GMU bandwagon, and was totally bummed when they lost in their next game.

2. 1966 (basketball) - Texas Western defeats #5 Kentucky 72-65.

This game not only started the end of Adolph Rupp's coaching career at Kentucky, but it broke all sorts of racial barriers along the way. This historic Texas Western (now UTEP) team was the first team to win a championship starting all black players.

1. 2006 (football) - Appalachian State defeats Michigan (34-32).

Ranked #5 to start the season, the Wolverines simply saw Appalachian State as a stepping stone to conference play and a potential BCS National Championship. Instead, a blocked field goal to clinch the win sent the Mountaineers into college football lore.

Honorable Mention: 1916 - Rice defeats SMU 146-3 (in football).

Wow. Just wow.

What games stand out in your mind as being big upsets, TCU or otherwise?