The 2020 college football season had several notable upsets. Here were the five biggest.
Perhaps more than any other sport, upsets are one of the main reasons why college football is great.
From Appalachian State vs. Michigan to Stanford and USC in 2007 to that time Bobby Boucher came on at halftime with the Mud Dogs down 27-0 to lead them back to a 30-27 victory in the Bourbon Bowl, upsets are always special.
So before we put the season that was in the rearview mirror, let’s have some fun and look back at the games that shocked, amazed, and also disgusted the sides who were involved while entertaining the rest of us. These were the biggest upsets of the 2020 college football season.
Odds courtesy of FanDuel
5. Michigan State 27 at Michigan (-21.5) 24
In retrospect, this result feels less surprising now given Michigan’s struggles this season, but at the time, no one saw this coming.
The “Little Brother” narrative was already a tired trope after Michigan State had repeatedly proven that they could beat their rivals, but coming into this contest, it did feel like the Spartans had taken a backseat to Michigan this season.
Following head coach Mark Dantonio’s sudden resignation last offseason, Colorado’s Mel Tucker was brought in as a replacement when few other options were available.
The start of the Tucker era was a disaster as Michigan State was stunned at home in their opening game against Rutgers losing 38-27 in an upset that almost made this list. Michigan State turned the ball over seven times as the Scarlet Knights ended a 21-game conference losing streak with their win.
Meanwhile, Michigan and Jim Harbaugh were coming off a convincing opening victory versus a ranked Minnesota team and had hopes of competing for a Big Ten title.
Instead, Michigan State got going with a four-play, 71-yard touchdown drive in their second series and managed to mostly stay a step ahead of the Wolverines for the rest of the game.
The oft-maligned quarterback Rocky Lombardi connected on several deep bombs as he threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Michigan quarterback Joe Milton could sling it too, and although he threw the ball a ton, the Spartan defense bent but did not break.
Most importantly, Michigan State did not turn the ball over once.
Holding a 20-17 lead late in the fourth quarter, Lombardi found running back Connor Heyward as he slipped out for a screen and ran for a touchdown that would be the difference in the game.
Michigan would score a late touchdown, but an onside kick with under a minute was recovered by the Spartans and they ran out the clock.
Michigan thought this would be an easy win, but as Mark Dantonio said, “It’s not over, it’ll never be over”.