As ESPN.com winds down its top 50 most-painful losses in college football history, it’s a good time to enter the ACC’s own personal house of horrors. Don’t worry, fall camp is beginning and there is only optimism around the corner. Until then, here’s a look at the most-painful loss for each school in the conference. Disagree? Feel free to drop some hurt in the specially designated House of Pain mailbag. I’ll print some of your comments tomorrow in a separate post.
Holy Cross 55, Boston College 12, Nov. 28, 1942
It was the only week BC had ever been ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press. The Eagles were undefeated, and the defense had allowed just 19 points in eight games. Nearby Holy Cross, though, was undaunted, despite its 4-4-1 record. The teams met in a packed Fenway Park and the upset was such a shocker that Boston College canceled a victory party at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub. Wise move -- the club burned down that night, killing 492 people.
No. 48 Boston College 20, Clemson 17 Nov. 17, 2007
Clemson trailed Boston College 20-17 in Death Valley with about a minute to play. On first-and-10 on the Eagles’ 45, receiver Aaron Kelly began to slip near the goal line and dropped a near-perfect pass from Cullen Harper a yard from the end zone. Had he made the catch, the Tigers would have won the Atlantic Division and had a chance to play for the school’s first ACC title since 1991. BC finished 6-2 in the division while the Tigers placed second at 5-3.
USC 7, Duke 3, Jan. 2, 1939
This was the best team Duke ever had, one of just three since 1920 to go undefeated, untied and unscored upon. Under the direction of coach Wallace Wade, the Blue Devils took a 3-0 lead into the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl and seemed to have the upper hand against USC backup quarterback Doyle Nave. But Nave completed four straight passes to “Antelope” Al Krueger, the last for the winning touchdown with a minute remaining.
Miami 17, Florida State 16, Nov. 16, 1991
This was the original Wide Right. The Seminoles were ranked No. 1 all season and led 16-7 in the fourth quarter. Miami rallied, though, and FSU had three minutes remaining to catch up. The Noles got as close as the Miami 17 in the final minute, and kicker Gerry Thomas came on for a 34-yard attempt. It went barely outside the right upright. Blame the NCAA: it had narrowed the goal posts by 4 feet, 10 inches.
Florida State 29, Georgia Tech 24, Oct. 17, 1992
It was Bill Lewis’ first season and Charlie Ward’s coming-out party. Georgia Tech was 4-1 entering the game, but Florida State rallied in the fourth quarter and returned an onside kick for a touchdown. The Jackets gave up 22 points in the fourth quarter. That started the slide to a 5-6 season. And another 5-6 season. And a 1-10 disaster.
Virginia 34, Maryland 30, Nov. 20, 1999
Lamont Jordan had 37 carries for 306 yards and two touchdowns, and his efforts were in vein. Maryland rallied for a 30-27 lead in the final moments of the fourth quarter in the home finale. All Randall Jones, a former safety who was in at quarterback, had to do was run out the clock. Instead, he ran the option to the short side of the field where he was pushed out of bounds. Virginia got possession with 1:12 to go and needed just 46 seconds to march downfield and score.
Ohio State 31, Miami 24 (2 OT), Jan. 3, 2003
Miami corner Glenn Sharpe had broken up a pass from Craig Krenzel to Michael Jenkins. Fireworks went off. The Hurricanes celebrated -- albeit prematurely. Field judge Terry Porter called pass interference and three plays later, Krenzel scored from the 1 to force a second overtime. The Buckeyes won, 31-24, after freshman tailback Maurice Clarett scored on a 5-yard run and the defense stood strong from inside its own 2.
Virginia 20, North Carolina 17, Nov. 16, 1996
UNC was 8-1, and the Tar Heels needed only to beat Virginia and rival Duke for a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. They seemed to be on their way in Charlottesville with a 17-3 lead and possession on first-and-goal at the Virginia 9. Instead, quarterback Chris Keldorf threw an interception to Antwan Harris, who returned it 95 yards for a touchdown. UVA converted a pair of fourth-down plays to score the tying touchdown. Rafael Garcia kicked the game-winning 32-yard field goal with 39 seconds left.
Penn State 9, NC State 7, Nov. 10, 1979
After NC State took a 7-6 lead with less than a minute to play, Penn State converted a fourth-and-27 with 18 seconds on the clock. Penn State quarterback Dayle Tate hit Terry Rakowsky, who had never caught a pass in a college game, on a 37-yard pass against NC State All-America cornerback Woodrow Wilson. Tate followed with two incomplete passes, but one second remained on the clock. It was just enough time for kicker Herb Menhardt to seal the win.
Michigan 18, Virginia 17, Aug. 26, 1995; Texas 17, Virginia 16, Oct. 21 1995
It was a double whammy for the Cavaliers, who lost on the last play of the game in both contests. Against Michigan, in Lloyd Carr’s first game, Virginia led 17-0 in the fourth quarter. On the last play, Scott Dreisbach threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Mercury Hayes for the Wolverines’ win. Against Texas, Virginia kicked a 56-yard field goal with 3:12 remaining for a 16-14 lead. Texas answered with a 50-yard field goal as time expired. Despite the losses, it was one of UVA’s best teams.
Florida State 46, Virginia Tech 29, Jan. 4, 2000
Virginia Tech fought back to lead 29-28 heading into the fourth quarter. Michael Vick led the Hokies to 22 unanswered points, but Virginia Tech was held scoreless in the fourth. Florida State ended the game with 18 straight points. The Hokies outgained Florida State 503 to 359 in total yards. Vick was just 19, but Bobby Bowden said he "played like a man."
Appalachian State 34, Wake Forest 34, Nov. 19, 1988
All Wake Forest had to do to earn a rare bowl appearance was defeat FCS opponent Appalachian State in the final game. Independence Bowl reps were on hand to extend an invitation, but couldn’t justify one after the tie.