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The 10 biggest CFB point-spread upsets of past 25 years

Howard, a 45.5-point underdog, defeated UNLV 43-40 in 2017. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Coming off of a historic win by Howard over UNLV as a 45.5-point underdog on Saturday, we wanted to get a more comprehensive list of the biggest pointspread upsets.

Here are the 10 biggest college football upsets we've seen in the last 25 years.


1. Howard Bison (+45.5) over UNLV Rebels

Sept. 2, 2017

It's only fitting that the biggest upset in college football history would happen in Las Vegas. For a team to win as 45.5-point underdogs, there needs to be a star performance and Howard's Caylin Newton filled that role. Caylin, brother of Heiman Trophy and NFL MVP winner Cam Newton, ran for 190 yards and two scores, including the final touchdown of the game that gave Howard the three-point win.

Final score: Howard 43, UNLV 40

2. Stanford Cardinal (+40.5) over USC Trojans

Oct. 6, 2007

These two programs were miles apart in terms of success entering this game. After going 1-11 in 2006, Stanford was in its first season under Jim Harbaugh while No. 2 USC was seeking a third national title in five years. The Cardinal hung around thanks to five USC turnovers and eventually made the Trojans pay. Tavita Pritchard's 10-yard touchdown pass to Mark Bradford with less than a minute left gave Stanford the improbable one-point win.

Final score: Stanford 24, USC 23

3. Syracuse Orange (+37) over Louisville Cardinals

Sept. 22, 2007

Syracuse had lost its first three games of the 2007 season by an average of 28.7 points and was taking on a ranked Louisville team that had won 20 straight at home. But none of that mattered on this day. After entering as 37-point underdogs, the Orange took a 38-21 lead in the fourth quarter before holding on to win by three.

Final score: Syracuse 38, Louisville 35

4. Temple Owls (+35.5) over Virginia Tech Hokies

Oct. 17, 1998

The Temple Owls entered this game as massive underdogs for good reason -- they were 0-6 and taking on an undefeated (and nationally ranked) Virginia Tech team in Blacksburg. Temple would actually trail 17-0 before pulling off one of college football's most unlikely stunners. The Owls scored 28 of the game's final 35 points to knock of the 14th-ranked Hokies.

Final score: Temple 28, Virginia Tech 24

5. Texas State Bobcats (+35) over Houston Cougars

Sept. 1, 2012

Texas State was playing its first game after moving up the FBS level and wasn't given much a shot to compete against Houston, a team that had gone 13-1 the season before. But this wasn't the same Cougars team. The Bobcats won by 17 as five-touchdown underdogs, making them the only team on this list to win by double-digits.

Final score: Texas State 30, Houston 13

6. Central Michigan Chippewas (+34.5) over Western Michigan Broncos

Nov. 11, 2000

It's safe to say no one saw this one coming. Central Michigan entered having lost seven straight games while Western Michigan had won eight straight. But that's why they play the games, and the underdog Chippewas won by four over their in-state rivals.

Final score: Central Michigan 21, Western Michigan 17

7. Liberty Flames (+34) over Baylor Bears

Sept. 2, 2017

This would be one of two huge upsets to go down on the first Saturday of September in 2017. Baylor had won its previous nine games against FCS teams by an average of 46.3 points per game, but couldn't stop Liberty in this one. Quarterback Stephen Calvert threw for 447 yards and three touchdowns as he led the Flames to a shootout win as 34-point underdogs.

Final score: Liberty 48, Baylor 45

8. James Madison Dukes (+33.5) over Virginia Tech Hokies

Sept. 11, 2010

Five days earlier, Virginia Tech had lost to No. 3 Boise State in a Labor Day classic but didn't expect much trouble as 33.5-point favorites against James Madison. After the Hokies led 16-7 early in the third quarter, they would allow the Dukes to score the final 14 points of the game. With the win, James Madison joined Appalachian State as the only FCS teams at the time to have beaten a ranked FBS team.

Final score: James Madison 21, Virginia Tech 16

9. Appalachian State Mountaineers (+33) over Michigan Wolverines

Sept. 1, 2007

In one of college football's most memorable upsets, two-time defending FCS champion Appalachian State stunned No. 5 Michigan as 33-point underdogs in "The Big House". After Julian Rauch's 24-yard field goal put the Mountaineers up by two with 26 seconds left, the Wolverines would get one last shot to win it. But in a play that will always haunt Michigan fans, Jason Gingell's 37-yard kick to win it was blocked -- and the rest was history.

Final score: Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32

10. North Texas Mean Green (+32) over Texas Tech Red Raiders

Sept. 20, 1997

The oddsmakers expected Texas Tech to roll over North Texas in its final nonconference game before Big 12 play, but the Mean Green refused to follow that script. In a game of runs, North Texas trailed 10-0, and then led 24-13, before allowing the Red Raiders to take a 27-24 lead. But with just over a minute left, Mean Green quarterback Jason Mills threw a 15-yard touchdown to cap off the shocking upset.

Final score: North Texas 30, Texas Tech 27