2019: Top 10 Biggest Upsets


Apolline Gaspers, Sports Journalist

1.  South Carolina shocks Georgia in double OT

On October 12 South Carolina is 4-6 and 3-4 in the conference, however, that did not stop them from winning 20-17 over Georgia in double overtime! South Carolina was definitely the underdog against the Georgia Bulldogs who were unbeaten and third-ranked. South Carolina took advantage of Jake Fromm’s 4 turnovers (three interceptions and a lost fumble). Although Georgia was favored by 24½ points, they could not overcome the turnovers and the Gamecocks took home the victory.

2. Oregon women shock U.S. Women’s National Team

The Oregon Ducks (ranked No. 1) stunned the USA Women’s National Team with a score of 93-86 on November 9th at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon. The U.S. women’s basketball team battled Oregon as part of a tour of the West Coast, in an idea to help get the team ready for the 2020 Olympics. The game marked just the second time since the University of Tennessee in 1999, that a college team beat the women’s national team.

3. Andy Ruiz Jr. defeats heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua

Andy Ruiz Jr. was definitely the underdog in this bout. He was a 25-1 underdog, serving as a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, and +1000 on the three-way money line. Joshua, on the other hand, had a 22-0 record, had 21 knockouts, and was ranked No. 2 by the World Boxing Association, while Ruiz was ranked No. 14. On June 1 at Madison Square Garden, Ruiz made history, knocking down Joshua twice in the third, then twice in the seventh, finally winning by a technical knockout in round seven. Ruiz became the first Mexican-American to hold the heavyweight title and his win is considered by many to be one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.

4. St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup, beating Bruins

On New Year’s Day, the Blues had a 15-18-4 record, only a 70-to-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup, and were in the last place in the Western Conference. Beating all odds, they went on an 11-game win streak after the All-Star break, qualifying for the playoffs. Next, the Blues defeated the Winnipeg Jets in Game 6, the Dallas Stars in overtime of Game 7, and the San Jose Sharks in six making it to the Stanley Cup finals. The Blues were still the underdogs going against the Bruins on and lost in Game 6 (5-1) but bounced back winning in Game 7(4-1), winning the Cup! St. Louis was the first team since 2006 to win the Cup after missing the playoffs the previous year.

5. Washington Nationals Win the World Series

The Nationals stunned everyone when they won the World Series, becoming the first time not only in MLB but also NHL and NBA history that the road team won every game in a seven-game series. Being the biggest underdogs in the World Series since 2007, the Nationals opened as a  +195, while Housten was -235. After winning the first two games, the Nationals lost the next three games, only to pull it back together and win in Houston the last two games winning the World Series title (also their first title!).

6. Max Homa wins Wells Fargo Championship

On May 2, Homa was a 500/1, a definite underdog. Although he was the former NCAA champion at the University of California, in 2017, he only made the cut in two of 17 tournaments. He was ranked No. 829 in the world at the PGA Tour in 2019. He had one top 10 finish in 14 events (61-over par), but shot 69-63-70-67 by the end of the four-day tournament finishing 15-under par and three shots ahead of second-place winner: Joel Dahmen! Homa won the WellsFargo Championship along with a cool $1,422,000.

7. Kansas State defeats Oklahoma, 48-41

On Oct 26 in Manhattan, Kansas at the Memorial Stadium, Kansas State won its first win over a top-five team since 2006. The Wildcats were 23.5-point underdogs while the Oklahoma Sooners won seven straight coming into this match and No. 5. By halftime, it was 24-20, and then 41-23 when Oklahoma’s T.J. Pledger fumbled a kickoff return. Although Jalen Hurts tried to initiate a comeback, the Wildcats were victorious with a 48-41 win. 

8. Columbus Blue Jackets demolish Tampa Lightning in the first round of the NHL playoffs

This win was unpredictable for everyone. Tampa won a league-best 62 regular-season wins and scored 128 points (21 more than any other team). Naturally, Tampa entered the playoffs favored to win the Stanley Cup with +190 odds. Columbus had not won a playoff series since 2000, had never won a postseason series, and were +310 underdogs. Unsurprisingly, Tampa was winning the first game with a 3-0 lead. But then, against all odds, Columbus scored four goals and won 4-3. Over the next three games, Columbus outscored Tampa with a combined score of 19-8, then won the last match 7-3, kicking Tampa out of the playoffs. 

9. Illinois defeats Wisconsin, 24-23

Illinois beat Wisconsin who was Sixth-ranked and unbeaten who seemed about to enter the College Football Playoff. However, the 2-4 and 30.5-point underdogs defeated Wisconsin with a 39-yard field goal by James McCourt. It was Illinois’ first win over a top-10 ranked Big Ten team since 2007. Not only was Illinois the first NCAA Division I Football Bowl team to win as more than a 30-point underdog in over two years, but also the defeat marked the second-largest upset in 40 seasons in a Big Ten game. 

10. Missouri State reaches women’s Sweet 16

On March 25, at Iowa State University, Missouri State women’s basketball defeated the Iowa State Cyclones becoming the only double-digit seed to make it to the tournament’s second weekend.  Alexa Willard led the team with 17 points. In the first round, the 11th-seeded Missouri State beat DePaul and then in the Round of 32, they defeated Iowa State who was seated third. A big win for the Bears!