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 (6)

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.

I’m not surprised to see Kansas on here. It rarely beats anyone at all, let alone ranked opponents. As for Texas Tech, how much longer will Kliff Kingsbury last with such little success against ranked teams?