5 Biggest Upsets in College Football in 2023: Where Does UNC’s Loss to UVA Rank?

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The 2023 college football season has been a roller coaster with unexpected outcomes in several games. Among the surprises was the University of North Carolina’s (UNC) shocking loss to Virginia, but that has been far from the only big upset in this NCAA football season. This article ranks the top five upsets of the season, and analyzes where UNC’s unexpected defeat stands among them.

In college football, anything can happen. This year has been a prime example with underdog teams stepping up to challenge and defeat highly ranked opponents. These upsets have shaken up the rankings, and brought excitement and drama to the 2023 season.

Now, we’ll go through the top five upsets of the year, starting from the least surprising to the most shocking, and see where UNC’s loss to Virginia fits in.

5. Georgia Tech (+19.5) vs. Miami

In a game that had fans at the edge of their seats, Georgia Tech managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against the 17th-ranked Miami Hurricanes.

With a spread of +19.5, the Yellow Jackets were considered huge underdogs. And it all appeared to be going reasonably to plan for Miami. With around a minute left in the game they led by four.

However, the game took a dramatic turn in the final moments. Miami’s inexplicable decision to run the ball, instead of taking a knee to run out the clock, backfired as they fumbled the ball.

Georgia Tech recovered the fumble and, with a mere 30 seconds left on the clock, Haynes King connected with Christian Leary on a 44-yard touchdown pass. This last-second miracle sealed a 23-20 victory for Georgia Tech, marking one of the most dramatic upsets of the 2023 college football season.

4. Colorado (+21) vs. TCU

The Colorado Buffaloes, coming off a lackluster previous season with a record of 1-8, were matched against the formidable TCU Horned Frogs in their opener.

The game, held at Amon G. Carter Stadium, was expected to be a straightforward win for TCU, who came in as 21-point favorites. However, the Buffaloes and new coach Deion Sanders had other plans.

Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter introduced themselves to the nation in spectacular fashion as the Buffs triumphed. It was just the beginning of an extraordinary season for Colorado, who have captured the hearts of the college football nation.

3. Bowling Green (+22) vs. Georgia Tech

The college football community was in for a shock as the Bowling Green Falcons, despite being heavy underdogs with a 22-point spread, managed to topple the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on their home turf early this season.

Prior to this encounter, Bowling Green had a rather unsavory season start with a 1-3 record, while Georgia Tech was fairing comparatively better with a 2-2 record.

The action at Bobby Dodd Stadium unfolded in favor of the Falcons as they secured a remarkable 38-27 victory. The decisive factors in the game were possibly the interceptions thrown by Georgia Tech’s quarterback Haynes King.

This was another game that demonstrated that in college football, fortunes can turn on a dime, making every game an avenue for a potential upset.

2. Virginia (+24) vs. UNC

The North Carolina Tar Heels, ranked 10th and undefeated until then, hosted the Virginia Cavaliers in Week 8.

The Tar Heels were heavily favored with a 24-point spread, having been showcasing their dominance in the ACC.

However, the Cavaliers, led by running back Mike Hollins and wide receiver Malik Washington, turned the tides dramatically.

Hollins had a stellar performance, accounting for three of Virginia’s four touchdowns, while Washington contributed with 115 receiving yards, aiding in a total of 208 passing yards.

The combined efforts led to a monumental 31-27 victory for Virginia, breaking their eight-game losing streak against FBS opponents and marking one of the most notable upsets of the season

1. Texas State (+27.5) vs. Baylor

The Bobcats of Texas State University shocked the college football world by defeating the Baylor Bears in Week 1.

The game, ended with a score of 42-31 in favor of Texas State. Baylor, being the favorite with a spread of 27.5, was expected to comfortably win the game, but Texas State had other plans​.

The upset was orchestrated under the leadership of first-year head coach G.J. Kinne, who helped secure Texas State’s first win over a power conference opponent. Baylor failed to stop the Bobcats on the ground and through the air. They racked up three touchdowns through each.

The Bears, on the other hand, struggled against opposition they were expected to dominate. Their Week 1 loss is still the biggest upset in the 2023 college football season.

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