Thursday, August 5, 2010
Every Big 12 team's most-painful loss
By David Ubben
We're counting down this week through the top 50 most-painful losses in the history of college football. Some programs will make multiple appearances. Some will make none.
But every program has a loss that makes fans clench their fists thinking about it. Here are game's with strong cases to be the most painful in each Big 12 team's history.
Baylor -- 27-24 loss to UNLV in 1999
Not much competition here. Baylor had the ball on the UNLV 8-yard line and needed to kneel to win. But it ran a play and UNLV linebacker Tyler Brickell slapped a fumble loose and cornerback Kevin Thomas scooped and scored from 100 yards out in the game's final second to beat the Bears in Waco. Baylor also lost to Boston College the week before on a missed extra point in overtime.
Colorado -- 21-6 loss to Notre Dame in 1990 Orange Bowl
The game was scoreless at halftime, but the Buffaloes gave up a pair of third-quarter touchdowns. Colorado got to within 14-6, but the Fighting Irish used a seven-plus minute touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to take the bowl of oranges back to South Bend.
Iowa State -- 17-14 loss to Missouri in 2004
You read about this one earlier this week: The Cyclones were denied a berth in the Big 12 title game by the Tigers, who capitalized on the Cyclones' walk-on kicker Bret Culberson missing a 24-yard field goal to win the game. An interception in the end zone sent Colorado to the Big 12 title game after Missouri opened the scoring in overtime with a 25-yard field goal.
Kansas -- 15-14 loss to Penn State in the 1968 Orange Bowl
This game came in at No. 38 on our list. Penn State coach Joe Paterno went for two points and the win after a late touchdown, but Kansas annulled an incomplete pass -- by defending it with 12 men. The Nittany Lions punched in a win on the next play from just outside the end zone.
Kansas State -- 36-33 loss to Texas A&M in the 1998 Big 12 championship game
Wildcats coach Bill Snyder carries the title of one of the best coaches never to win a national championship. This game, No. 21 on our list, is a big reason why. Kansas State blew a 27-12 fourth-quarter lead, finished off by an Aggies two-point conversion with 1:05 to play. The Wildcats lost in double overtime and never got to play Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl for a national championship.
Missouri -- 45-38 loss in overtime to Nebraska in 1997 or 33-31 loss to Colorado in 1990
Tough to pick a winner (loser?) between two of the most improbable finishes in college football history. The Nebraska loss, dubbed the "Flea Kicker," only made it to overtime after Matt Davison slid to catch a ball that was kept alive in the end zone by an inadvertent (maybe) kick. The Huskers won in overtime, denying Missouri its first win over the Huskers since 1978. Against Colorado, the rules of football were briefly rewritten to give the Buffaloes a "Fifth Down" to punch the ball into the end zone from the 1-yard line to beat Missouri en route to a national championship.
Nebraska -- 31-30 loss to Miami in the 1984 Orange Bowl
Sometimes the right call doesn't work. Nebraska coach Tom Osborne went for two and the win after bringing the game to within one point with 31 seconds to play. The Huskers rallied from 17-0 and 31-17 deficits, but Nebraska quarterback Turner Gill's pass was tipped away, denying the Huskers a national championship.
Oklahoma -- 35-31 loss to Nebraska in 1971
A game billed as the "Game of the Century," No. 2 Oklahoma took a 31-28 lead over No. 1 Nebraska with seven minutes to play, but the Huskers took the lead back for good with a 12-play, 74-yard drive for the win on Thanksgiving.
Oklahoma State -- 20-10 loss to Colorado in 1976
The Cowboys led 10-6 with two minutes to play and stopped a Colorado drive with an interception deep in their own territory. Oklahoma State fumbled the return and gave the Buffaloes the ball at the 1-yard line, where they took the lead with 43 seconds to play. They also intercepted a pass on the next drive and returned it for a touchdown. The loss cost the Cowboys the tiebreaker in a three-way tie for the Big Eight title and a berth in the Orange Bowl.
Texas -- 10-9 loss to Georgia in the 1984 Cotton Bowl
No. 2 Texas led No. 7 Georgia 9-3 late, and fearing a fake punt, Texas left its defense on the field. Texas DB Craig Curry tried to field the punt anyway but fumbled, giving the Bulldogs the ball on the Texas 23. That game was the same night as Nebraska's loss to Miami in the Orange Bowl, and a Texas win would have likely meant a national title.
Texas A&M -- 31-6 loss to Arkansas in 1975
This game came in at No. 29 on our list. The Aggies were 10-0 and hoping for a Southwest Conference title after 15 losing seasons in 16 years from 1958-73. Arkansas took the game and cost Texas A&M a national title, a league title and a trip to the Cotton Bowl.
Texas Tech -- 65-21 loss to Oklahoma in 2008
The Red Raiders came to Owen Field two weeks removed from an upset win over top-ranked Texas in Lubbock and held both a 10-0 record and the nation's No. 2 ranking. Thirty-five second-quarter points by the No. 5 Sooners ended that and sent Texas Tech to the locker room down 42-7. There'd be no national, Big 12 or even outright Big 12 South title for the Red Raiders in 2008 after a three-way tie atop the Big 12 South kept Texas Tech out of the Big 12 title game. The season finished with a disappointing loss in the Cotton Bowl to Ole Miss, but the Red Raiders beat the Sooners 41-13 in Lubbock the next year, taking out a few of their frustrations.