College football is infamous for its humongous upsets. Every year, we all look forward to that one weekend when the whole world falls apart, hoping we’ll get a sequel to 2007 in our lifetimes.
So let’s try something fun: keeping a rolling list of the 11 biggest FBS upsets of 2018, based strictly on Vegas point spreads at the time of kickoff.
By the end of the year, I’m betting (Vegas term) some of these will look hilariously outdated, but we should also see at least one or two of the year’s most consequential games on this list. Consider this a fluctuating list of time capsules. Things have changed so much, Maryland beating Texas and Kentucky beating Florida are among those no longer making the cut. Even Purdue stunning Ohio State doesn’t make the list, if we’re strictly going by spreads.
11. Temple, 16-point underdog, won at Maryland in Week 3
If this list went to 25 games, so many teams would appear on it as both upsetters and upsettees, including both teams in this game. It’s as if our sport has such a tiny sample size that we have to wildly overreact to each result.
9. (tie) Eastern Michigan, 17-point underdog, won at Purdue in Week 2
Second straight year with a Big Ten win for EMU.
9. (tie) East Carolina, 17-point underdog, beat North Carolina in Week 2
Days after UNC head coach Larry Fedora said he didn’t remember getting blasted by ECU in 2014, the Pirates gave him another one to forget.
6. Hawaii (tie), 17.5-point underdog, won at Colorado State in Week 0
The season’s third FBS game remains one of the biggest upsets of the whole year. Hawaii had gone 3-9 the year prior, including a home loss to a decent CSU by 30 points.
6. (tie) Wake Forest, 17.5-point underdog, won at No. 14 NC State in Week 11
The ACC Atlantic had a weird number of teams jump into the top 20 of the rankings before this week. Wake provided an adjustment.
6. (tie) Charlotte, 17.5-point underdog, won at FAU in Week 13
This also knocked Lane Kiffin’s team out of bowl season after we all spent a full offseason wondering about his next Power 5 job.
5. Akron, 21-point underdog, won at Northwestern in Week 3
That was the Akron Zips’ first Big Ten win since before “the Akron Zips” or “the Big Ten” existed. And then it got weirder, because Northwestern won the Big Ten West.
4. UNLV, 22.5-point underdog, won at San Diego State in Week 11
UNLV, without NCAA Football prototype dynasty cornerstone Armani Rogers for a month straight, went into San Diego and knocked off one of the Mountain West’s steadiest teams.
3. BYU, 23.5-point underdog, won at No. 6 Wisconsin in Week 3
Remember when this felt like a massive game changer?
2. Oregon State, 24.5-point underdog, won at Colorado in Week 9
And that undersells it! The Beavers came back from 28 down to win in overtime. That’s not even Colorado’s worst collapse this decade, at least?
1. Old Dominion, 28-point underdog, beat No. 13 Virginia Tech in Week 4
ODU was 0-3, but pulled off the first Power 5 win in school history anyway. This wasn’t even their weirdest win of the year, though.