WINSTON SALEM, NC - OCTOBER 15: Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Frank Beamer talks to Wake Forest Demon Deacons head coach Jim Grobe prior to their game at BB&T Field on October 15, 2011 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. The Hokies defeated the Demon Deacons 38-17.
Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images

The Worst College Football Games Ever Played

College football has produced some all-time classic games, but it's also had some of the most unwatchable football ever displayed.

College football is a beautiful sport. One day, it seems like every top 10 team is on upset watch against lesser opponents, shaking the foundation of what the postseason is expected to look like. The next weekend, all of the projected matchups end exactly as expected and there's no exciting drama. You never know what you'll get when you turn on the TV on any given Saturday. Yet, the uncertainty of the sport is why people love it.

Who could've expected Appalachian State to upset No. 1 Michigan in 2007? Or Stanford snapping USC's six-year home winning streak in 2007? Or James Madison, as 35-point underdogs, upsetting Virginia Tech at home in 2010? And who can forget the insane offensive output during Pac-12 After Dark? Behind the NFL, college football appears to be the second most popular sport in the United States. With as many college football games that are on television on a weekly basis, the question comes up almost every week: Is this the worst college football game ever?

There are many nominations for this title. Maybe a ridiculous blowout that was supposed to be an exciting game? Maybe an incredibly low-scoring affair? What games are able to make a claim as "Worst College Football Game of All-Time"?

The Cotton Bowl Classic

Miami Hurricanes vs. Texas Longhorns, 1991

The Miami Hurricanes came into the 1990 season as the defending national champions, and many experts picked them to win the championship once again that year. But things did not exactly go the Hurricanes' way, losing their first game of the season at BYU. The Hurricanes began to rebound before dropping their second game of the season, at Notre Dame, during the third weekend of October. The Hurricanes' title hopes were effectively extinguished. Despite this, Miami rattled off five straight wins to secure their spot in the 1991 Cotton Bowl Classic in their final season as an independent team. Meanwhile, the Texas Longhorns opened the season ranked 23rd and had no major hopes of competing for a top spot in the country. A loss to Colorado in the second game of the season further proved that point. However, Texas regained some fire after upsetting No. 4 Oklahoma the second weekend of October, and the hype was loud for Texas after they upset No. 3 Houston the second weekend of November. Texas finished the regular season ranked third, securing themselves a date with the defending national champions in the Cotton Bowl.

It was a highly anticipated matchup between No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Miami. What was set up to be an instant classic became an instant snooze fest instead. Miami jumped out to a 12-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and led 19-3 at halftime. Many analysts thought Texas could make things interesting with a big second half; instead, the Hurricanes absolutely dominated, winning the game 46-3 thanks to four second-half touchdowns. The Hurricanes set school and Cotton Bowl records for penalties (16) and penalty yards (205) compared with just 68 penalty yards for Texas. What should have been a high-flying bowl matchup between two of the top teams in the country instead was a beatdown from an angry Miami team, which made "excessive celebration" become a 15-yard penalty in college football.

The Biggest Blowout in College Football History

Cumberland vs. Georgia Tech, 1916

Every year, this game gets brought up as the worst blowout in college football history. Cumberland had disbanded its football team in 1915 but was still obligated to play their scheduled matchup versus Georgia Tech in October 1916. As a result, the team was not overly organized or equipped for a game. They were led by the baseball captain, George Allen, and the team consisted of his friends and fraternity brothers. For Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets' coach, John Heisman, had lost to Cumberland 22-0 in baseball earlier that year, and he was looking for revenge. The game was completely lopsided from the first kick, with Cumberland never even gaining a first down. Georgia Tech led 126-0 at halftime, and the blowout was so bad that they shortened the third and fourth quarters from the regulation 15 minutes down to 12. The shortened second half did not stop Georgia Tech from scoring as much as possible, with the final score of the game being a 222-0 Georgia Tech victory. An interesting anecdote: This game took place before the forward pass was invented in football. All of Georgia Tech's 32 touchdowns in the game were scored on rushes, returns or defensive plays.

The Blizzard Bowl

Utah vs. BYU, 2003

It was a snowy day in November 2003, during Urban Meyer's first year coaching Utah. Utah quarterback Alex Smith did not have a good day, throwing for just 113 yards and one interception. Meanwhile, BYU completed just four passes on the night for 41 yards and an interception. BYU had a total of 156 yards on offense; and while Utah did not fare much better, with 220 total yards of offense, the field goal kicked by Utah's Bryan Borreson during the second quarter was enough for the Utes to claim their first outright conference title since 1957. BYU had not been shut out at home since 1970, when the Cougars lost to UTEP in Provo. Utah went on to finish the season 10-2, winning the MountainWest Conference and earning a spot in the Liberty Bowl, where they shut out Southern Miss 17-0. BYU, on the other hand, finished 4-8 and did not qualify for a bowl game during the 2003 season.

Defense, Defense, and More Defense

Auburn vs. Mississippi State, 2008

This game was a defensive coordinator's dream. Mississippi State could not get anything going all game long, with just 116 total yards on offense and a pick from quarterback Wesley Carroll. The longest play of the day for Mississippi State was 13 yards. Auburn, on the other hand, was able to at least move the ball more effectively, with 154 passing yards and 161 rushing yards. With the yards disparity, surely Auburn was able to handle a struggling Bulldogs team early in the season, right?

If you think an Auburn football game is predictable, then you've never watched Auburn football. Tigers kicker Wes Bryan missed on two of his three field goals on the night, with his lone make being a 35-yard kick with 7½ minutes left in the second quarter. Fortunately for Auburn, that was all they needed to secure a win. However, Mississippi State did make the game more interesting during the fourth quarter. With just over seven minutes left in the game, Auburn had a holding call in their own end zone that, when accepted by Mississippi State, forced a safety and gave the Tigers a one-score lead late in the game. The game ended up coming down to the final possession, with Mississippi State's Carroll searching for some late-game heroics; he instead threw the pick to Tigers defensive back Walter McFadden. The Tigers would barely hold on to win the game, 3-2.

Heading into Overtime ... Scoreless?

Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest, 2014

It's not often that you see such a low-scoring game, especially in the modern era of football. It is even rarer to see coaches celebrate a low-scoring game. Yet that is exactly what happened when Virginia Tech and Wake Forest lined up in 2014, as Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer was seen celebrating on the sideline as the two teams went into overtime scoreless. The game may have been scoreless, but it was not from lack of trying. Wake Forest kicker Mike Weaver missed three field goals during regulation. During overtime, despite the Demon Deacons going backward on their first drive, Weaver drilled a 49-yard field goal to give Wake Forest the first points of the day. The relief was short-lived, however, as the Hokies got down to the 10-yard line. After throwing an incompletion on third down, Virginia Tech turned to its kicker as well, and Joey Slye delivered to the tune of a 28-yard field goal. Next up: Double overtime, and Virginia Tech was not as lucky this go around. On third-and-9, Hokies quarterback Michael Brewer was sacked for an 11-yard loss, setting up Slye for a 53-yard field goal. He missed it, giving Wake Forest the chance to win the anti-kicking clinic. On fourth-and-6, Weaver lined up and drilled a 39-yard field goal to give the Demon Deacons their victory.

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