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Friday, September 5, 2008
Updated: September 25, 9:00 AM ET
The most significant non-BCS victories over BCS schools

By Thomas Neumann
Page 2

What would an analysis of the first decade of BCS vs. non-BCS matchups be without a list of the 10 most significant victories?

Below that, see the complete rankings of non-BCS teams based on numbers of wins over BCS opponents through last season.

CUPCAKE SEASON 2008

Frightful: The 10 biggest BCS bullies

Formidable: The gutsiest BCS teams

Fearless: The 11 most dangerous non-BCS teams

Upsets: The 10 biggest surprise wins of the BCS era

SDSU seeks elusive signature win

Another almost for SDSU at Notre Dame

Stats: Cupcake data on every BCS school

Community: Discuss the BCS bullies

1. Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32
Sept. 1, 2007 at Ann Arbor, Mich.: In an upset for the ages, the No. 5 Wolverines became the first ranked Division I-A team to lose to a I-AA opponent. Appalachian State used the win as a springboard to its third consecutive I-AA title. The Wolverines would finish the season 9-4 with a win over defending BCS champion Florida in the Citrus Bowl, but the shocking loss to the Mountaineers will undoubtedly be better remembered. In the wake of the upset, the Associated Press changed its rules to allow Football Championship Subdivision teams to receive votes for its top 25 poll.

2. Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42
Jan. 1, 2007 at Glendale, Ariz.: The Broncos emptied their bag of tricks to withstand a furious comeback from the Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State forced overtime with a 50-yard touchdown on a hook-and-ladder and famously won on a two-point conversion off the Statue of Liberty play.

3. Utah 35, Pittsburgh 7
Jan. 1, 2005 at Tempe, Ariz.: Behind the passing of Alex Smith, the Utes easily covered the 16-point Fiesta Bowl spread to finish the season 12-0 and become the first team from outside the six power conferences to win a BCS bowl game. Too bad fans didn't get to see them play a better team.

4. TCU 17, Oklahoma 10
Sept. 3, 2005 at Norman, Okla.: The Horned Frogs produced a spectacular defensive effort, holding Adrian Peterson to 63 yards on 22 carries and handing the No. 7 Sooners their first home loss in nearly four years.

5. Louisiana-Monroe 21, Alabama 14
Appalachian State
Is there any doubt that Appalachian State's surprise at the Big House is the stunner of the BCS era?
Nov. 17, 2007 at Tuscaloosa, Ala.: The Crimson Tide turned the ball over four times and lost to a 24½-point underdog during the team's first season under Nick Saban. Earlier in the season, ULM lost to a North Texas team that would finish 2-10.

6. Louisville 26, Florida State 20 (OT)
Sept. 26, 2002 at Louisville, Ky.: The Cardinals outlasted the No. 16 Seminoles in a victory that put the Cardinals on the map and helped launch them from Conference USA into the Big East and membership in the BCS.

7. UNLV 23, Wisconsin 5
Sept. 13, 2003 at Madison, Wis.: Rebels safety Jamaal Brimmer returned a fumble for a touchdown and made two interceptions and 11 tackles as UNLV stunned the No. 15 Badgers. Wisconsin hadn't lost at home when ranked that high since 1959.

8. Utah 44, UCLA 6
Sept. 15, 2007 at Salt Lake City: Darrell Mack scored three touchdowns, and the Utes capitalized on five turnovers to destroy the No. 11 Bruins.

9. Southern Mississippi 21, Nebraska 17
Sept. 11, 2004 in Lincoln, Neb.: The Golden Eagles forced five Cornhuskers turnovers and became the first nonconference team to win in Lincoln since 1991, despite being outgained 476-239.

10. North Dakota State 27, Minnesota 21
Oct. 20, 2007 at Minneapolis: Granted, the Gophers were awful in 2007, finishing 1-11 in 11th place in the Big Ten. Still, this was shocking. North Dakota State wasn't even a full-fledged FCS member yet -- still in the transition process of moving up from Division II -- yet it ran for nearly 400 yards and held onto the ball for nearly 37 minutes.


Here is the complete list of non-BCS Division I-A (Football Bowl Subdivision) programs ranked top to bottom by number of victories against their BCS counterparts during 1998-2007. Ties are broken by winning percentage. Unlike other elements of this package, this list does include bowl games, which often provide the only chance for smaller programs to get a shot at the big boys on a neutral field. The following data represent nonconference games and bowls pairing BCS and non-BCS teams for the period of 1998-2007.


Team                                  Nonconf. rec. Win pct. BCS victims
1. TCU 14-7 .667 Arizona, Baylor (2), Iowa State (2), Northwestern (3), Oklahoma, Vanderbilt (2), Stanford, Texas Tech, USC
2. Utah 14-10 .583 Arizona (2), Cal, Georgia Tech, Indiana (2), Louisville, North Carolina, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Washington State
3. BYU 12-18 .400 Arizona, Arizona State, Cal (2), Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Syracuse, UCLA, Virginia, Washington
4. Fresno State 12-19 .387 Cal, Colorado, Georgia Tech (2), Kansas State (2), Oregon State (2), UCLA, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin
5. East Carolina 12-24 .333 Duke (3), Miami (Fla.), North Carolina, North Carolina State (2), South Carolina, Syracuse, Texas Tech, Virginia, West Virginia
6. Bowling Green 9-13 .409 Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri (2), Northwestern (2), Purdue, Temple (2)
7. Air Force 8-8 .500 Cal, Northwestern (2), Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Washington (3)
8. Toledo 8-13 .381 Kansas, Iowa State, Minnesota, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple (3)
9. Colorado State 7-13 .350 Cal, Colorado (4), Michigan State, Virginia
10. Hawaii 7-14 .333 Alabama, Arizona State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Oregon State, Purdue, Washington
11. Miami (Ohio) 7-18 .280 Cincinnati, Northwestern (2), North Carolina (2), Syracuse, Vanderbilt
12. Southern Miss. 6-22 .214 Alabama, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State (2)
13. Houston 5-15 .250 LSU, Mississippi State (2), North Carolina, Oklahoma State
14. San Jose State 5-22 .185 Illinois, Stanford (4)
15. Boise State 4-12 .250 Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oregon State (2)
16. New Mexico 4-13 .235 Arizona, Baylor, Missouri, Texas Tech
17. Wyoming 4-14 .222 Mississippi (2), UCLA, Virginia
18. Marshall 4-15 .211 Clemson, Kansas State, South Carolina, Temple
18. UNLV 4-15 .211 Arkansas, Baylor, Kansas, Wisconsin
20. Northern Illinois 4-16 .200 Alabama, Iowa State, Maryland, Wake Forest
21. Ohio 4-19 .174 Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Pittsburgh
22. Western Michigan 4-20 .167 Iowa (2), Vanderbilt, Virginia
23. UAB 4-22 .154 Baylor (2), LSU, Mississippi State
24. Tulane 3-12 .200 Mississippi State (2), Rutgers
25. Akron 3-17 .150 North Carolina State, Temple (2)
26. Mid. Tennessee 3-26 .103 Vanderbilt (3)
27. Troy 3-22 .120 Mississippi State, Missouri, Oklahoma State
28. Louisiana Tech 3-30 .091 Alabama, Michigan State, Oklahoma State
29. Nevada 2-11 .154 Northwestern, Washington
30. Memphis 2-20 .091 Mississippi (2)
31. Idaho 2-23 .080 Washington State (2)
32. North Texas 2-25 .074 Baylor, Texas Tech
33. Central Florida 2-27 .069 Alabama, North Carolina State
34. Florida Atlantic 1-12 .077 Minnesota
35. Kent State 1-16 .059 Iowa State
36. Tulsa 1-17 .056 Oklahoma State
37. New Mexico State 1-18 .053 Arizona State
38. SMU 1-18 .053 Kansas
39. Buffalo 1-19 .050 Rutgers
40. Rice 1-20 .048 Duke
41. La.-Monroe 1-25 .038 Alabama
42. San Diego State 1-26 .037 Kansas
43. Florida Intl. 0-11 .000 --
44. UTEP 0-15 .000 --
45. Eastern Michigan 0-17 .000 --
46. Utah State 0-18 .000 --
47. Central Michigan 0-20 .000 --
48. La.-Lafayette 0-22 .000 --
49. Arkansas State 0-25 .000 --
50. Ball State 0-26 .000 --
Navy (ind.) 14-37 .275 Boston College, Connecticut, Duke (4), Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers (2), Stanford, Vanderbilt (2), West Virginia
Army (ind.) 1-19 .050 Baylor

Note: Former Big East member Temple and current Big East members Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville and South Florida aren't tabulated in this study because they weren't BCS conference members during the entire span of 1998-2007. These schools are considered BCS opponents for the years they were Big East members: Temple (1998-2004), Connecticut (2004-07), Cincinnati (2005-07), Louisville (2005-07) and South Florida (2005-07). Additionally, Connecticut counts as a Division I-AA or provisional I-A member through the 2001 season and a non-BCS I-A member in 2002-03. South Florida was a Division I-AA or provisional I-A member through the 2000 season and a non-BCS I-A member during 2001-04. Other schools that moved up to the Division I-A classification from 1998-2007 are classified as I-AA until their first official I-A season.


Thomas Neumann is an editor for Page 2. You can contact him here.