The 12 Power teams with the longest losing streaks vs. the Top 25

By Amy Daughters -

Did you know that despite going 16-10 over the last two seasons and finishing No. 23 in the final AP in 2016 that Utah hasn’t won a game over a ranked opponent since 2015?

It’s yet another example of how win/loss records only tell a part of a much bigger story. To varying degrees, it’s something that can be said about each of the Power programs listed below.

12. Baylor

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Dec. 29, 2015 vs. (10) North Carolina (Russell Athletic Bowl)

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-7

Baylor’s last win over a member of the Top 25 was also Art Briles’ final game as the Bears’ head coach. The victory capped off a 10-3 campaign, the third-consecutive double-digit win season. Baylor has posted an 8-17 record since. The closest it’s come to breaking the streak was last year when it hosted (23) West Virginia and fell 38-36.

11. UCLA

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Nov. 21, 2015 at (18) Utah

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-6

UCLA also beat (19) BYU and (16) Arizona in 2015, highlights of an 8-5 season which ended with a loss to Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl. The closest the Bruins have come to breaking the current drought was last season when they fell 28-25 at (15) USC.

10. Utah

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Sept. 26, 2015 vs. (23) California

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-5

Utah’s 30-24 win over (23) Cal in 2015 came directly after the Utes destroyed (13) Oregon 62-20 in Eugene. The back-to-back wins, plus a subsequent victory over Arizona State, propelled them to a No. 3 rank in the AP. It was the second-best mark in program history, falling just shy of the No. 2 postseason nod they earned after posting a perfect 13-0 mark in 2008. Utah came within one point of upsetting (13) USC in Los Angeles last season (28-27).

9. Minnesota

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Nov. 22, 2014 at (21) Nebraska

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-11

The 2014 Golden Gophers played three consecutive ranked teams to close out the regular season. After falling to (8) Ohio State 31-24 at home on Nov. 15, they traveled to Lincoln as 10-point underdogs and upset the (21) Cornhuskers 28-24. That earned them a No. 22 rank in the AP, their only mention there since 2008. The regular-season ended with a 34-24 loss at (14) Wisconsin. Minnesota came within three-points of upsetting (21) Michigan State last year (30-27).

8. Oregon State

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Nov. 15, 2014 vs. (7) Arizona State

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-11

Mike Riley was in his final year with the Beavers when they hosted the 6th-ranked Sun Devils and won 35-27. The win was part of a 5-7 finish and an anomaly for Riley, who was 13-35 vs. ranked opponents during his 2003-14 run in Corvallis. Oregon State came within one point of upsetting (20) Stanford last season (15-14).

7. Missouri

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Sept. 27, 2014 at (13) South Carolina

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-7

The only SEC member on our list, Mizzou’s last win over a member of the Top 25 was also the last time it finished a season ranked, earning the No. 14 slot in the AP. That team went 11-3 and won the SEC East. The Tigers have gone 16-21 since.  What Missouri hasn’t done is come close to beating a ranked foe, losing to six of its last seven Top 25 opponents by a combined score of 272-85. The only exception was in 2016, a narrow 28-27 loss to (16) Georgia in Columbia.

T5. Virginia

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Sept. 13, 2014 vs. (21) Louisville

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-9

Virginia’s 23-21 home victory over the No. 21 Cardinals came at the beginning of a 5-7 campaign under head coach Mike London. The Cavaliers came within a touchdown of upsetting (5) Louisville in 2016 (27-20) and (9) Notre Dame in 2015 (34-27).

T5.Boston College

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Sept. 13, 2014 vs. (9) USC

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-10

Boston College was a 17-point underdog coming into its Week 3 matchup with No. 9 Trojans, shocking the nation with a 37-31 upset win. It was a part of a 7-6 finish that ended with a narrow 31-30 loss to Penn State in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Eagles also came within a field goal of winning at (1) Florida State in 2014 (20-17) and vs. (5) Notre Dame in Fenway Park in 2016 (19-16).

4. Texas Tech

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Dec. 30, 2013 vs. (16) Arizona State (Holiday Bowl)

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-15

Texas Tech is a dismal 2-19 against the Top 25 under Kliff Kingsbury. The only-other ranked win during his five seasons came earlier in 2013 when the Red Raiders hosted (24) TCU and won 20-10. It also marked Kingsbury’s best finish, 8-5, and his only bowl win. Tech’s nearest miss came in 2016 at (17) Oklahoma State, a 45-44 loss.

3. Illinois

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Sept. 11, 2011 vs. (22) Arizona State

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-19

Ron Zook was in his final season at Illinois when the Illini hosted the Sun Devils in Week 3 and won 17-14. It was a part of a 7-6 finish which included a victory over UCLA in the Fight Hunger Bowl. The winning record, bowl win and mention in the AP (the Illini went as high as No. 16 by mid-season) are all achievements that haven’t been repeated since. The closest they’ve come to beating a ranked foe happened later in same season (2011) when it traveled to (21) Penn State and lost 10-7.

2. Kansas

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Sept. 11, 2010 vs. (15) Georgia Tech

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-27

Kansas’ last win over a Top 25 team came in the second week of the two-season Turner Gill era. After losing 6-3 to FCS North Dakota State in the opener, Gill bounced back with a 28-25 win over the No. 15 Yellow Jackets. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a sign of good things to come as he led to the Jayhawks to a 5-19 mark from 2010-11 including a 1-6 record vs. ranked opponents. Kansas’ nearest miss came in 2014 when as 28-point underdogs it hosted (5) TCU and got edged 34-30.

1. Rutgers

Last win vs. a ranked opponent: Nov. 12, 2009 vs. (23) South Florida

Record vs. the Top 25 since: 0-20

Rutgers was still a member of the Big East the last time it knocked off a ranked foe. That means that the Scarlet Knights have NEVER won a game against a Top 25 opponent as a Big Ten member, posting a 0-14 record since joining in 2014. The win over USF came in Greg Schiano’s third-to-last season at the helm, part of a 9-4 product that ended with a victory over UCF in the St. Petersburg Bowl. Rutgers fell 24-21 to (24) West Virginia to close out the regular season that year, also the closest it’s come to breaking its now 20-game losing skid.

Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference-College Football.

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Comments (5)

This was interesting, thanks. I wonder what a list would look like of Longest *Road* losing streaks vs. the Top 25.

A better question would be how teams do against opponents that FINISH the season ranked in the Top-25.