Upset Alert Brings Back Memories

Appalachian State's win over Michigan has not only been a gift to every heavily favored coach in the nation, it also has people discussing and debating the magnitude of the upset in context with other college football shockers.

Frankly, I have not been able to come up with a game that I think is a bigger upset in college football, but I don't think the Mountaineers' accomplishment ranks up there with the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" or tiny Hollywood Chaminade knocking off Ralph Sampson and Virginia.

But it got me thinking about the biggest upsets the Florida Gators have sprung over the years. I've come up with the five I think are at the top of the list. These are in no particular order.

1960 Georgia Tech ----- It may not seem like a big deal now, but back then Georgia Tech was a powerhouse under Bobby Dodd, and the Gators had not won eight games in any of the previous seven seasons. New Coach Ray Graves, a former Georgia Tech assistant, cemented a legacy in Orange and Blue in just his third game when his Gators upset the 10th-ranked Yellow Jackets, 18-17. Florida won the game in the final minute when Lindy Infante ran for a touchdown and Larry Libertore connected with John McBeth on a two-point conversion pass.

1969 Houston ----- Graves started his final season on the Gator sidelines with a stunner over the No. 7 Cougars. The "Super Sophs" of '69 shocked the world by throwing the ball all over the field in racking up 59 points. I've heard many fans tell of how the crowd kept growing throughout the contest as fans listening to the radio hurried over to the stadium to check out this offensive explosion. John Reaves threw five touchdown passes, three to Tommy Durrance. The Gators would go on to post nine wins and score 343 points.

1980 California ----- I can't remember a season that began with lower expectations than the 1980 campaign. The Gators were coming off a dreadful 0-10-1 season in their first season under Charley Pell, and no one was all that sure about anything with the '80 squad. They opened up in Tampa against a California team that would have been ranked No. 21 if the top-20 was the top 25 in that day. Well, the Gators took the field with a wide open offense under the direction of new coordinator Mike Shanahan and quarterback Bob Hewko. A 41-13 route totally changed the atmosphere surrounding Gator football.

1986 Auburn ----- The Gators were 3-4 with the wins coming over Georgia Southern, Kent State and Rutgers. Quarterback Kerwin Bell was still recovering from a sprained knee, and Auburn came to town ranked No. 5 in the nation. Auburn dominated most of the game despite Bell coming off the bench and led 17-0 in the third quarter. But the Gators scored a touchdown and field goal to get within 17-10, and late in the fourth quarter, Bell hit Rickey Nattiel with a touchdown pass. Galen Hall never hesitated and went for the two point conversion and the win. Bell's famous limp into the end zone followed and the Gators had their stunning upset.

2003 LSU ----- The Gators were 3-3 and staggering after an awful home performance in losing to Ole Miss 20-17. In fact, the record was more than a little deceiving since Florida had beaten two terrible teams (San Jose St., FAMU) and needed a fourth quarter near miracle to defeat Kentucky. LSU on the other hand was unbeaten, ranked No. 6 and had coaching genius in the making Nick Saban on the sidelines. The Gators allowed an 80-yard punt return in the first five minutes, but shut out LSU the rest of the way. Chris Leak threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns, and Florida had a remarkable 19-7 victory.

Those are five that stood out to me? Did I miss your favorite Gator upset? Let me hear about it!


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