Every SEC team’s most shocking upset loss in the 21st century
Upsets are one of the most exciting things about college football.
These upsets continually remind us how unpredictable the sport is and how any team can be beaten on any given day. That’s great for the sport, but it still serves as a heartbreaking experience for teams and fans.
Each SEC team has both pulled off shocking upsets and fallen victim to them in recent years, but it’s usually the losses that leave us with our collective jaw on the floor.
Here’s a look at every team’s most shocking upset loss since 2000:
Date: November 17, 2007
How it happened: In head coach Nick Saban’s first season at Alabama, the Tide came into this 6-4, but the losses were to SEC and ACC powerhouses. No one expected to see their beloved Crimson Tide fall to a team that was supposed to be a cupcake. Alabama entered the game as the 24-point favorite, but the “cupcake” team took care of business in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Tide turned over the ball four times, and many promising fourth-quarter drives were turned back with Alabama only down by a touchdown. That was it for the Tide, and Saban would suffer what is still considered his worst loss at Alabama. However, something good — for Alabama fans, at least — came out of this shocking loss. The Process was born, and Crimson Tide nation bought stock.
Date: September 8, 2012
Result: 34-31 in OT
How it happened: The SEC had to start giving Louisiana-Monroe more credit. In the 2012 season opener, the Warhawks traveled to Little Rock to take on No. 8 Arkansas, and they stunned the 21-point favorite. Louisiana-Monroe scored first, but Arkansas came back with a 28-0 scoring run, appearing to have put it away. That was until the Warkawks went on a scoring run of their own, 21-0, taking the teams into overtime. The Razorbacks couldn’t capitalize and came away from their possession with just a field goal. Warhawks QB Kolton Browning sealed the deal with a 16-yard touchdown run. Arkansas went into a tailspin with this loss, losing seven of the following 10 games, including a 52-0 routing by Alabama in the following week.
Date: October 4, 2008
How it happened: When you try to think about recent Auburn upsets, you may realize that most of them were better described as simply upsetting. The Tigers have been either high or low, but they have not often been surprised. Auburn was coming off a top 15 season under Tommy Tuberville in 2007, and after going 4-1 to start 2008, the Tigers found themselves in the No. 13 spot. They were confident as they traveled to Nashville to face No. 19 Vanderbilt. Yes, Vanderbilt was ranked, too. Auburn breezed through to start and went up 13-0 in the first quarter, missing what would turn out to be a costly extra point. Commodores backup QB Mackenzi Adams stole the show, going 13-of-23 for 153 yards and 2 TDs, and thanks to the miss by Auburn, those seemingly small numbers were all Vanderbilt needed to stun the Tigers.
Date: November 23, 2013
Opponent: Georgia Southern
How it happened: The Gators had lost their previous five games, including a shocking fall to Vanderbilt at home, but this game against Georgia Southern was supposed to be a given. It was supposed to be their final win in what had turned into a very disappointing season. They would face No. 2 Florida State the following week, but there wasn’t much hope surrounding that matchup. The Gators were a four-touchdown favorite when the Eagles walked into The Swamp, but they were just embarrassed when the Eagles walked out. Georgia Southern handed Florida its first ever loss to an FCS team, and it still stands as the team’s only loss to an FCS team. The Gators started off well enough, leading 10-0 early in the second quarter, but they just couldn’t generate any offense or stop the Eagles’ triple option offense. This was just one of the many unforgivable losses that led to then-Gators head coach Will Muschamp getting the boot from Gainesville.
Date: October 14, 2006
How it happened: The failed blackout game against Alabama was also in consideration here. We say failed because when Alabama fans caught wind of Georgia’s intention, they all showed up in black, too, making the crowd more encouraging than intimidating to the Crimson Tide. In 2006, the No. 16 Bulldogs welcomed the unranked Commodores to Sanford Stadium without any thought of being upset by the underdog. But when Vanderbilt left Athens, it did so with a surprise win. Georgia was up 10-0 with just a few minutes left in the first half, but then the two teams started trading scores before Vanderbilt’s late field goal was the difference. In one of Mark Richt’s worst losses, Georgia failed on a crucial 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter that may have helped its chances.
Date: October 27, 2007
Opponent: Mississippi State
How it happened: In 2011, the stars aligned for Kentucky. The Wildcats beat in-state rival No. 9 Louisville, shocked the No. 1 LSU Tigers — who later went on to win the national championship— in overtime, and they even beat Florida State in the Music City Bowl. They were 8-5 on the season, but all of their losses came at the hands of ranked SEC teams. Except for one. Just two weeks after toppling the Bayou Bengals, No. 14 Kentucky welcomed Mississippi State to Lexington, and the unranked Bulldogs crushed the Wildcats. Mississippi State scored first, and even though the Wildcats matched them just a few minutes later, the Bulldogs scored 17 unanswered points as the upset quickly became apparent. UK went 1-2 in the SEC games following this matchup to end the season 3-5 in conference play.
Date: November 14, 2015
How it happened: No. 9 LSU was coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Tide in which Derrick Henry basically snatched that Heisman Trophy from the hands of Leonard Fournette. But that loss wasn’t so much of a surprise. So the Tigers were ready to shake it off and take care of business against the unranked Razorbacks. Or so we thought. The Hogs went on a 21-0 tear before allowing LSU to score its first touchdown late in the first half. The Tigers offense was more productive in the second half, but there was no catching up. Arkansas left Death Valley with a huge notch in its belt, and LSU was left with nothing but disappointment, shock and broken hearts.
Date: November 29, 2014
Opponent: Ole Miss
How it happened: The Bulldogs were flying high at No. 4 when they took on the No. 18 Rebels in rivalry week. Mississippi State seemed to be on its way to the inaugural College Football Playoff until Ole Miss crushed that dream. The Bulldogs kept it close for as long as they could, but the Rebels offense just kept churning. Playoff hopes were dashed as rivalry week struck again.
Date: September 26, 2015
How it happened: Missouri has only been in the SEC for four years, but it has already been on both sides of some shocking upsets. For the most part, the first three seasons held low expectations for the Tigers, but after making two trips to the SEC Championship Game, they were on everyone’s radar. But the Tigers had a rough 2015 off the field, and that undoubtedly affected their on-field performance. No. 25 Missouri was still fairly unproven on the season when it traveled to Commonwealth Stadium, but it was decidedly knocked off by a hungry, unranked Kentucky team. Missouri struck first, but the Wildcats responded with a touchdown of their own. The two teams continued to trade scores, but the difference was that while the Tigers were scoring field goals, Kentucky was getting into the end zone.
Date: September 4, 2010
Opponent: Jacksonville State University
How it happened: Sure, the loss to unranked Memphis in 2015 was a tough upset for the Rebels, but Memphis wasn’t all that bad, and it was actually a popular prediction. But the JSU Gamecocks? That game was supposed to be a lock. The season opener against JSU was full of surprises. Ole Miss jumped on top fast and big in the first half, pulling ahead 31-10 before holding JSU to just a field goal in the third quarter. But in the fourth quarter, it was the Gamecocks who held the Rebels to just 3 points, while scoring 21 of their own. The two traded scores in the first overtime, and Ole Miss scored first in the second overtime, before JSU clinched the win with a successful 2-point conversion. This upset has been the one and only FCS loss in history for the Rebels.
Date: October 4, 2014
How it happened: The loss to The Citadel in 2015 was up there, but it’s hard to say whether or not that was shocking after the season South Carolina had. But in 2014, the Gamecocks started the season 3-2, including a big win over No. 6 Georgia. Their only losses came to a ranked Texas A&M team in the season opener and a heartbreaker against Missouri, which would later play Alabama for the SEC championship. South Carolina was the heavy favorite heading into the game against the Wildcats, and there were no surprises at first. South Carolina jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but it didn’t last long. Wildcats RB Jojo Kemp barreled through the Gamecocks defense for 131 yards and 3 TDs to lead his team to the surprising win over South Carolina.
Date: October 20, 2007
How it happened: The No. 20 Vols rolled into Tide country 4-2 but feeling good. A couple early losses to highly ranked teams were somewhat avenged by a 35-14 win over No. 12 Georgia. Meanwhile, despite the NCAA violations and coaching struggles Alabama had faced in the previous years, things were finally looking up. This was Saban’s first Third Saturday in October, and his big name, along with the big hopes of Alabama fans, served to only magnify the already huge rivalry. The Tide opened up the game with a surprise onside kick that led to a field goal. Tennessee kept it close as Alabama went into halftime up 24-17. The second half was another story. The Tide came out to an energized home crowd and outscored the Vols 17-0 in the second half, resulting in the biggest Rammer Jammer ever. If you were at the game, you know it shook the packed Bryant-Denny Stadium. If you watched it at home, you know it completely drowned out the television announcers.
Date: November 7, 2015
How it happened: Like Missouri, Texas A&M has only been in the SEC since 2012, but that doesn’t mean the Aggies have escaped the upsets. When the unranked Tigers came to Kyle Field to face the No. 25 Aggies, no one expected anything other than a blowout. But all of the sudden, Auburn was up 20-3. It looked like the Aggies might make a comeback late in the third quarter when QB Jake Hubenak connected with WR Speedy Noil to cut Auburn’s lead to 10. But it wasn’t enough to stop the blood loss, and Auburn scored 6 more points to put the icing on the cake.
Date: October 17, 2015
Opponent: South Carolina
How it happened: Surprisingly, Vandy wasn’t the Vegas favorite for this game (you never thought you’d be surprised that Vanderbilt was the underdog, did you?). The Gamecocks were a 7-point favorite at the beginning of the week, and then they dropped to just a 3-point favorite once former head coach Steve Spurrier announced his retirement. Vanderbilt was far from its best in 2015, but South Carolina was simply atrocious. In the first quarter, the Gamecocks could score nothing but field goals, and the Commodores could score nothing at all. The Vanderbilt offense finally showed signs of life and went ahead 10-6 in the third quarter, but it wouldn’t score again after that. South Carolina went on a 13-0 run to finish off the Commodores, giving the Gamecocks their final win of the season.