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Thursday, August 21, 2008
Biggest surprises list missed most obvious Big 12 shocker

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

One of my favorite non-traditional blogs is BleacherReport.com, which always comes up with some off-the-wall stuff about college football history that I find fascinating.

The report's posting today was on the 12 biggest surprise whippings in college football since 1965. Big 12 schools feature prominently on the list with three of the games.

Oklahoma's surprise upset loss to Arkansas in the 1977 season's Orange Bowl is ranked at No. 7. The Sooners were heavily favored, but were stunned by Lou Holtz's Arkansas Razorbacks in a 31-6 thumping.

Nebraska features in the other two stunners, marking upset victories that helped the Cornhuskers claim two undisputed national championships.

According to the list, Nebraska's 38-6 triumph over Alabama in the 1971 season's Orange Bowl was the 11th biggest stunner in history. Funny, I didn't remember that as being an upset. Hadn't the Cornhuskers whipped Oklahoma in the "Battle of the Century" only a few weeks before in a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 teams?

And Nebraska's 62-24 triumph over Florida in the 1995 season's Fiesta Bowl was ranked 12th. That victory stamped the Cornhuskers' mid-1990s domination in college football as a legitimate dynasty in the eyes of most observers.

The list is interesting, but I think left out the most obvious game, and maybe the biggest stunner in Big 12 history. Don't they remember Colorado's 62-36 upset victory over Nebraska in 2001?

Because I'm sure many Nebraska fans still have nightmares of seeing Chris Brown charge through their defense en route to one of his six touchdowns. It remains the defining moment of Craig Bohl's abortive tenure as the Cornhuskers' defensive coordinator.

That victory helped catapult Gary Barnett's team into the Big 12 championship game, where they beat Texas the following week to qualify for the Fiesta Bowl. And despite the big loss, the Cornhuskers made the Rose Bowl, where they were thumped by Miami for the national championship.