In 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 combined, 10 teams ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the AP Poll at the time of kickoff lost during the regular season.
2007 did that 11 times within 56 days, from Oct. 6 to Dec. 1.
Seven of those were No. 2 teams, and three times, both the No. 1 and No. 2 lost in the same weekend, something that hadn’t happened even once in a season since 1996.
The unfolding disaster:
- Pre-Oct. 6: A bunch of weird stuff happens, including FCS Appalachian State winning at No. 5 Michigan, which is either the biggest upset ever or only the second-biggest upset of 2007. Grim omens. We proceed anyway.
- Oct. 6: Preseason No. 1 and current No. 2 USC loses as a 39-point favorite to Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford. A decade later, this will still be considered the biggest Vegas upset of all time.
- Oct. 13: No. 1 LSU loses at Kentucky in triple OT. The Tigers are undefeated in regulation.
- Also Oct. 13: No. 2 Cal loses to Oregon State and plunges to 7-6.
- Oct. 18: No. 2 USF loses to Rutgers. We will never stop reminding you USF reached No. 2 in the country.
- Nov. 3: No. 2 Boston College loses to unranked Florida State, which would vacate this win and others due to NCAA stuff. In some NCAA Alternate Facts Universe, BC is still floating around No. 2.
- Nov. 10: You know that scene in 28 Days Later, when the zombie survivors look up and see a passenger plane overhead, a sign the rest of the world might be oblivious to the island’s plague? That plane is No. 1 Ohio State, riding glorious punts over the gruesome pandemic. Until Illinois clamps onto the Buckeyes as a 15.5-point underdog. The only undefeated teams are now Kansas and Hawaii, meaning we’ve hit 100 percent infestation.
- Nov. 15: No. 2 Oregon loses to Arizona as Heisman favorite Dennis Dixon falls to injury.
- Nov. 23: Les Miles tops LSU’s first triple OT loss as No. 1 by losing in triple OT at home as No. 1 to unranked Arkansas, whose head coach, Houston Nutt, leaves three days later for Ole Miss, where he replaces Ed Orgeron, who eventually replaces ... Les Miles. The Tigers are undefeated in regulation.
- Also Nov. 23: No. 2 Kansas loses to Missouri. We will never stop reminding you Kansas reached No. 2 in the country.
- Dec. 1: No. 1 Missouri, one step from the title game, gets blown out by Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.
- Also Dec. 1: No. 2 West Virginia, one step from the title game, loses as a 28.5-point favorite to archrival Pitt.
It’s hard to overstate how fun 2007 West Virginia was.
The offense scored 40 points per game, ninth-most in the country, despite running 70 percent of the time. White was a magician like Vince Young, throwing for 8 yards an attempt and running for 6.8. He and Slaton each finished above 1,000 yards, with Devine in the 600s. Schmitt was their escort, and Reynaud (with 12 touchdowns) the main option when WVU got bored of running.
The philosophy, per star fullback Owen Schmitt: "just score a bunch of fucking points and win the games."
"I thought our schemes in general were kept very simple, which allowed us as players to not have to think and more so react," Schmitt says. "So what does that do? That lets an athlete be an athlete. You know what I mean? You don’t want an athlete thinking, because that’s gonna slow him down.
"I think we had 12 plays, maybe. Ran ‘em out of like 12 different formations, a couple of motions, different personnels. So we gave you a ton of different looks, but we ran the same plays.
"I think [head coach Rich Rodriguez] is a genius, honestly. Some coaches get it. Some coaches don’t."
The defense was close to as good, led by junior linebackers Reed Williams and Mortty Ivy.
"There was a lot of hype, and then it just seemed like every week, shit was just falling into place. You know what I mean?" Schmitt says. "And teams were losing that needed to lose for us to move up, and it was happening."
WVU climbed from No. 9 in the Week 7 BCS standings to No. 2 by Week 13. A home win as a 28.5-point favorite against 4-7 Pitt in the Backyard Brawl would send the Mountaineers to the BCS Championship.
"And then you get to the fucking last game of the season and blow it," Schmitt says, "against the shittiest fucking team in the fucking world."
On the long list of reasons 2007 was the most bizarre season in the history of our bizarre sport, the Curse of No. 2 is near the top.
The nickname sprouted before the spree had even ended, and after the most gut-wrenching upset of them all, even the losing party had to utter its name.
When asked to explain what happened in West Virginia’s 13-9 loss to Pitt, West Virginia fullback Owen Schmitt said, "The No. 2 curse, apparently."
West Virginia defensive lineman Johnny Dingle said: "I don’t want to talk about that No. 2 curse. It happened."
Toward the end, fans were expecting silliness to erupt every weekend. We got spoiled on carnage.
And even despite that, results like West Virginia, which lost that rivalry upset and then lost its head coach, beating Big 12 champ Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl still kept shocking us.
We knew we were going to be surprised, and 2007 still found ways to surprise.
And all that was far from the only top-10 mayhem. So very far. Everything went stupid. It was awesome.
- Three times, the No. 3 team lost while favored. All three times, it was Oklahoma.
- Only one No. 4 lost, but it was Florida to Auburn as a 17.5-point favorite.
- The No. 5 spot featured four upsets, including Michigan dropping arguably the biggest upset ever.
- A No. 6 lost to an unranked team.
- So did a No. 7, a No. 8, a No. 9 ...
- ... and a team at every other ranking spot through No. 25.
- In the BCS Championship, something had to give: the Curse of No. 2, which required No. 2 LSU to lose, vs. Total Weirdness, which demanded an upset. LSU harnessed the curse and lit up Ohio State’s elite defense, becoming the first two-loss AP champ since 1960.
- The Tigers finished undefeated in regulation.
All the FBS games won by the lower-ranked team in 2007
|Sep. 1||Appalachian State (FCS)||34||No. 5 Michigan||32|
|Sep. 3||Clemson||24||No. 19 Florida State||18|
|Sep. 8||South Carolina||16||No. 11 Georgia||12|
|Sep. 8||USF||26||No. 17 Auburn||23|
|Sep. 8||Washington||24||No. 22 Boise State||10|
|Sep. 15||Kentucky||40||No. 9 Louisville||34|
|Sep. 15||Utah||44||No. 11 UCLA||6|
|Sep. 15||No. 21 Boston College||24||No. 15 Georgia Tech||10|
|Sep. 15||Alabama||41||No. 16 Arkansas||38|
|Sep. 20||Miami||34||No. 20 Texas A&M||17|
|Sep. 22||Michigan||14||No. 10 Penn State||9|
|Sep. 22||No. 22 Georgia||26||No. 16 Alabama||23|
|Sep. 22||Syracuse||38||No. 18 Louisville||35|
|Sep. 28||No. 18 USF||21||No. 5 West Virginia||13|
|Sep. 29||Colorado||27||No. 3 Oklahoma||24|
|Sep. 29||Auburn||20||No. 4 Florida||17|
|Sep. 29||Kansas State||41||No. 7 Texas||21|
|Sep. 29||Maryland||34||No. 10 Rutgers||24|
|Sep. 29||No. 6 Cal||31||No. 11 Oregon||24|
|Sep. 29||Georgia Tech||13||No. 13 Clemson||3|
|Sep. 29||Illinois||27||No. 21 Penn State||20|
|Sep. 29||Florida State||21||No. 22 Alabama||14|
|Oct. 4||No. 11 South Carolina||38||No. 8 Kentucky||23|
|Oct. 6||Stanford||24||No. 2 USC||23|
|Oct. 6||Illinois||31||No. 5 Wisconsin||26|
|Oct. 6||Tennessee||35||No. 12 Georgia||14|
|Oct. 6||No. 20 Cincinnati||28||No. 21 Rutgers||23|
|Oct. 6||Kansas||30||No. 24 Kansas State||24|
|Oct. 11||Wake Forest||24||No. 21 Florida State||21|
|Oct. 13||No. 17 Kentucky||43||No. 1 LSU||37|
|Oct. 13||Oregon State||31||No. 2 Cal||28|
|Oct. 13||Louisville||28||No. 15 Cincinnati||24|
|Oct. 13||Iowa||10||No. 18 Illinois||6|
|Oct. 13||Penn State||38||No. 19 Wisconsin||7|
|Oct. 18||Rutgers||30||No. 2 USF||27|
|Oct. 20||Vanderbilt||17||No. 6 South Carolina||6|
|Oct. 20||No. 14 Florida||45||No. 8 Kentucky||37|
|Oct. 20||UCLA||30||No. 10 Cal||21|
|Oct. 20||Alabama||41||No. 20 Tennessee||17|
|Oct. 20||Pitt||24||No. 23 Cincinnati||17|
|Oct. 20||Oklahoma State||41||No. 25 Kansas State||39|
|Oct. 27||No. 20 Georgia||42||No. 9 Florida||30|
|Oct. 27||UConn||22||No. 11 USF||15|
|Oct. 27||Mississippi State||31||No. 14 Kentucky||14|
|Oct. 27||Tennessee||27||No. 15 South Carolina||24|
|Oct. 27||North Carolina||29||No. 21 Virginia||24|
|Nov. 3||Florida State||27||No. 2 Boston College||17|
|Nov. 3||Cincinnati||38||No. 20 USF||33|
|Nov. 3||Virginia||17||No. 21 Wake Forest||16|
|Nov. 3||Arkansas||48||No. 23 South Carolina||36|
|Nov. 10||Illinois||28||No. 1 Ohio State||21|
|Nov. 10||Maryland||42||No. 8 Boston College||35|
|Nov. 10||Wisconsin||37||No. 13 Michigan||21|
|Nov. 10||Cincinnati||27||No. 16 UConn||3|
|Nov. 10||Mississippi State||17||No. 21 Alabama||12|
|Nov. 15||Arizona||34||No. 2 Oregon||24|
|Nov. 17||Texas Tech||34||No. 3 Oklahoma||27|
|Nov. 17||No. 18 Boston College||20||No. 15 Clemson||17|
|Nov. 22||No. 11 USC||44||No. 7 Arizona State||24|
|Nov. 23||Arkansas||50||No. 1 LSU||48|
|Nov. 23||Texas A&M||38||No. 13 Texas||30|
|Nov. 24||No. 3 Missouri||36||No. 2 Kansas||28|
|Nov. 24||UCLA||16||No. 9 Oregon||0|
|Dec. 1||No. 9 Oklahoma||38||No. 1 Missouri||17|
|Dec. 1||Pitt||13||No. 2 West Virginia||9|
|Dec. 1||Oregon State||38||No. 18 Oregon||31|
|Dec. 23||East Carolina||41||No. 24 Boise State||38|
|Dec. 27||No. 17 Texas||52||No. 12 Arizona State||34|
|Dec. 31||No. 22 Auburn||23||No. 15 Clemson||20|
|Dec. 31||Oregon||56||No. 23 USF||21|
|Jan. 1||Michigan||41||No. 9 Florida||35|
|Jan. 1||Texas Tech||31||No. 21 Virginia||28|
|Jan. 2||No. 11 West Virginia||48||No. 3 Oklahoma||28|
|Jan. 3||No. 8 Kansas||24||No. 5 Virginia Tech||21|
|Jan. 7||No. 2 LSU||38||No. 1 Ohio State||24|