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The UnSweet 16: Worst Football Bad Beats of the 2010s (Down to 8!)

Maybe this isn’t the best course of action because we’re all reeling from not having the NCAA Tournament.

Maybe we need something happy to fill the time.

Here’s the thing: For every bad beat, there is also somebody that got extremely lucky and was able to cash a winning ticket. So, in a way, consider this looking at the glass half-full.

Or don’t. I can’t blame if you don’t.

Being on the wrong side of a bad beat is unforgettable. More often than not, we have memories like chimpanzees. Something happens. We forget it within 20 seconds and move on.

Sometimes, we have memories like a dolphin. Or an elephant. Did you know that dolphins can remember a fellow dolphin’s call for up to 20 years?

Everybody has a poker bad beat story, right? Well, if you watch enough and bet enough, you’re going to have a sports betting bad beat story, too. We all remember the ones that really stand out. The 2014 Bahamas Bowl. Super Bowl LI (side, total, and even money line!). The 2012 Belk Bowl. The Minneapolis Miracle.

With a lot of free time on our hands right now and a somber mood that more or less allows us to be immune to these sorts of things, we thought it would be prudent to unleash the UnSweet Sixteen.

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These are the 16 worst beats of the 2010s between college football and the NFL. It just so happens that we have eight on the college football side and eight on the NFL side.

The seeding was the hard part, but we decided to make two college football games into #1 seeds and two NFL games into #1 seeds. They top the OMG, WTF, R U SERIOUS, and F ME regions of our UnSweet Sixteen bracket.

We’ll do the voting on our Twitter page, @bangthebook, here in the comments section on the website under “Leave A Reply”, and ties will be determined by the author.

With that, let’s take a look at our bad beats, listed by region (each subsequent round begins after the previous round):

The OMG Region

#1 The 2014 Bahamas Bowl

Game: Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan

Line: Western Kentucky -2.5

The inaugural Bahamas Bowl on December 24, 2014 was a giant lump of coal for Western Kentucky backers. Words cannot express how brutal this beat actually was.

Western Kentucky led 42-14 at halftime. The game was virtually over. For good measure, the Hilltoppers scored the only points of the third quarter and led 49-14 for head coach Jeff Brohm.

We all know what they say about the prevent defense, but what happened in this game is simply stunning. Take it away, Scott Van Pelt.

Western Kentucky allowed 34 points in the fourth quarter. They RECOVERED an onside kick with one minute left and still didn’t cover. The final play cannot be expressed with words. It has to be seen with your eyes on that above clip.

Disaster. Western Kentucky backers will never forget that one. Neither will those that won the sports betting Mega Millions on the Chippewas.

#2 The Fail Mary

Game: Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks – Week 3, 2012

Line: Packers -3

This is an oldie, but a goodie. Remember the replacement refs? Guys pulled off the lot at JD Byrider to officiate NFL games?

The referee lockout was a flag-filled cluster-eff that left everybody wondering what was a penalty, what wasn’t, if wearing vertical black and white stripes caused blindness, and gave us at least a few-month period in which we appreciated the zebras.

Green Bay led 12-7 going into what would be the final play of the game. The catch that wasn’t. The interception that wasn’t. The I don’t know what that was or wasn’t.

The Seahawks won. Packers -3 bettors did not. We all lost during that referee lockout no matter what side or total we were on.

#3 It’s Not Under ‘Til It’s Over

Game: Baylor vs. TCU – Week 11, 2019

Line: Baylor -2.5; Total: 51.5

This one just might be under-seeded, but it takes a special kind of bad beat in a regular season game to get the credit that it deserves.

This is one of those games. We had been waiting for the 2019 Baylor Bears to trip up. It was coming. We didn’t know when, but it was coming.

Enter TCU. This was the game immediately before Baylor took on Oklahoma, so it was your quintessential look-ahead spot. Baylor was in a daze throughout most of the game. Charlie Brewer didn’t seem right and Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs went vintage with their defense.

It was actually 9-0 TCU at halftime. Three field goals later, including a 51-yarder in the final minute of regulation, it was 9-9.

18 points on six field goals. Of course you remember what happened in overtime. Both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime to put the game at 32. Both teams scored touchdowns in the second overtime to make it 46. Baylor scored a touchdown in the third overtime and missed the two-point conversion, but TCU could not answer.

The Horned Frogs also failed to cover, but more notably, it was arguably the worst totals beat of the 2019 college football season.

#4 It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over

Game: Miami of Ohio vs. Cincinnati – Week 6, 2010

Line: Cincinnati -17; Total: 53.5

There could be worse sob stories than this one, but this was a killer for over bettors. Way back in 2010 B.C. (Before Coronavirus), so approximately some 775 years ago, Miami of Ohio and Cincinnati squared off for the Victory Bell.

Cincinnati led this game 45-3 at halftime. There was no more scoring.

Mercifully, a video of this game is not available, but a 48-point first half with an over 53.5 seems like a pretty sure thing. It was not.

Cincinnati had a 1st and goal at the 8 on its final possession and got stopped at the 2 on fourth down. It was an 18-play, 65-yard drive that ate 6:33 of valuable clock.

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The WTF Region

#1 Super Bowl LI

Game: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

Line: New England -3, Total 57

Yeesh. This one still hurts everybody that didn’t have a New England Patriots ticket because we were all Atlanta Falcons fans that day. 28-3 is forever etched in the minds of every sports fan. It is the NFL’s 3-1 series lead. The magnitude of this game gives it a #1 seed.

Kyle Shanahan got conservative, which is also how he started off the 2020s, but we’ll talk about that at a later date.

The Falcons led 28-3 with 6:04 left in the third quarter when the Patriots were facing a 4th-and-3. Get a stop and the game is probably over. Don’t get a stop and, well, you still lead by 25 points with less than 21 minutes left in the biggest game of your lives.

Tom Brady hit Danny Amendola for 17 yards and the drive continued. Eventually, Terrific Tom threw to James White for a touchdown and the PAT was missed. There we sat at 28-9 with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.

Bill Belichick opted to stay aggressive, going with an onside kick, which was illegally touched by the Patriots and wound up being Atlanta’s ball. On 2nd and 1, the Falcons were called for holding. Two plays later, Atlanta punted on 4th & 20 with four seconds left in the third quarter.

Brady got the Patriots all the way down to the 10-yard-line on the next possession, but New England settled for 3 to make it a 28-12 game.

The rest? Well, we know how it all ends. Atlanta did literally everything wrong, including going from the New England 22 all the way back to the New England 45 before punting prior to the game-tying touchdown with 57 seconds left.

Hide your eyes if you’re a Falcons fan or had an Atlanta +3 or money line ticket. Oh, yeah, and the total lost in overtime, too.

#2 2015 Armed Forces Bowl

Game: Pitt vs. Houston

Line: Pitt -3

This one is just gross. Just awful. To make matters worse, this game was played on January 2, 2015, so it was after the semifinals and one of the last few college football games of the season.

Actually, maybe that was for the best.

Pitt, favored by only a field goal, was up 31-6(!) with 11 minutes left to go. When Kenneth Farrow ran over Lafayette Pitts to make it 31-12, you could sense that something was about to go horribly wrong if you had Pitt.

It was still a 34-13 game with 3:45 left before Houston scored again. Then they recovered the first of TWO onside kicks and scored a touchdown on 4th and 13 before getting the second onside kick. The touchdown to make it 34-33 came on 3rd and 16.

Instead of going for the tie and overtime, Houston went for the win. As you should. As they did. At that point, we were all rooting against Pitt for this ghastly display.

#3 Defeat From The Jaws of Victory

Game: Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – Week 15, 2010

Line: Jacksonville +4

This one is forgotten in the gambling annals, but it probably shouldn’t be. At some point, Tyjuan Hagler might be the answer to a trivia question that could win you a lot of money.

For now, he appears here, which is the first time his name has been uttered in quite some time.

David Garrard and the Jaguars had just gone 51 yards in 1:27 to make the game 27-24. All that was left was an onside kick and Jaguars backers would have snuck in the backdoor to grab a nice winner over Peyton Manning and the Colts.

Nope. Hagler picked up the onside kick and scampered 41 yards for a touchdown – the only one of his career – to blow the underdog cover. As it was, the backdoor cover boned those that had the under 48, so 14 points in the span of seven seconds hurt side and total bettors.

To add insult to injury, Jacksonville went 57 yards to the Indianapolis 31 with 20 seconds left before failing on two end zone shots and a bunch of laterals.

#4 When Fantasy Meets Reality

Game: Green Bay Packers vs. Los Angeles Rams – Week 8, 2018

Line: LA Rams -7.5; Total: 57

We can debate whether or not LA Rams backers deserved this cover anyway, but we can nitpick stuff like that every single week.

The fact of the matter is that the Packers and Rams were locked in a duel in the late afternoon time slot on October 28, 2018. Leading 29-27, the Rams were just running out the clock. Ty Montgomery’s fumble on Green Bay’s final possession left Aaron Rodgers on the sideline to watch the clock slowly bleed out.

The Packers were out of timeouts, but had one last hope with a 3rd and 10 stand from their own 21-yard-line. It was not meant to be. Todd Gurley, then with working legs, cut to the outside and picked up enough for the first down and had an angle at the pylon but….nope.

He stopped, gave himself up after getting the first down, and the Rams knelt out the remaining 19 seconds.

Gurley’s display of sportsmanship cost Rams bettors that laid the big price and over bettors that had a piece of 56.5 or 57. Woof.

The R U SRS Region

#1 The 2012 Belk Bowl

Game: Cincinnati vs. Duke

Line: Cincinnati -9

Bowl games can develop cult followings. Along with having an elite Twitter account, the Belk Bowl has also given us some games to remember in the past. This one was certainly one of them.

This was just the second year of the Belk Bowl, which was formerly the Meineke Car Care Bowl or the Continental Tire Bowl. It was actually a really good game with a great battle between Brendon Kay of Cincinnati and Sean Renfree of Duke.

Here’s all you need to know about this game. It was tied at 34-34 and Duke had 2nd and goal from the 5-yard-line with 1:32 left in the fourth quarter.

They didn’t cover +9.

#2 Houston, We Have A Problem

Game: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Washington Redskins – Week 4, 2017

Line: Washington +6.5; Total: 47.5

Side AND total in a chase game? For shame.

Monday Night Football is a big deal for bettors. It is a chase game for those that lost on Saturday and/or Sunday or a chance to build on a big week. If you had Washington +6.5 or the under 47.5, you thought about withdrawing your money, if you had any left, and closing your accounts so that you were never tempted to bet again.

This one might be under-seeded. Justin Houston’s scoop and score with no time left on the clock is the stuff of nightmares.

#3 2013 New Mexico Bowl

Game: Washington State vs. Colorado State

Line: Washington State -4.5

I was part of this dumpster fire, so I still remember this one vividly. Washington State was laying 4.5 and up 15 with less than three minutes to play. We know that Mike Leach doesn’t really believe in running the football with his Air Raid offense. Perhaps the forthcoming highlights are the reason why.

Fumble after fumble after fumble. A disaster. A mess. A bad beat and one that still stings to this day.

Colorado State scored 18 points in the final 2:52, including a game-winning field goal at the horn after Washington State fumbled the kickoff in the 45-45 game.

#4 It’s Not Under ‘Til It’s Over Part Deux

Game: Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles – Week 14, 2013

Line: Philadelphia -3; Total: 53

Admittedly, I didn’t even think about this one until I started doing the research for this project. This one caught me off-guard and it was really something.

On a snow-covered field in December, the Lions and Eagles both failed to find their footing in the first half. It was an 8-0 game with seven punts, three turnovers, and 222 total yards. The host Eagles had drives of 3, 0, 1, 0, 9, and 79 yards, with the final drive ending in a turnover on downs. The Lions had the only touchdown and went for two after it.

In the second half, things went, well, differently. The Eagles had five straight touchdown drives of 74, 80, 76, 71, and 60 to finish out the game. The Lions had a punt return touchdown AND a kick return touchdown in the second half.

The total of anywhere from 51 to 53 went up in flames with 2:58 left when Chris Polk ran 38 yards to the house to cap off a 34-point fourth quarter.

Embedding has been blocked on this clip, but it starts at 52 seconds on this YouTube Video.

The F ME Region

#1 The Minneapolis Miracle

Game: Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints – NFC Divisional Round 2017

Line: Minnesota -5.5

The line on the 2017 NFC Divisional Round game at US Bank Stadium was moving a bit throughout the week. Some places sat -5 and some places sat -5.5 when the game kicked off.

Minnesota looked to be in control, getting out to a 17-0 lead before halftime. It was the first time in three years that the Saints were shut out in the first half.

The Vikings had the chance to put it away coming out of the intermission, as they drove into New Orleans territory before punting the ball away. A Saints touchdown in the third quarter made it 17-7.

Another touchdown made it 17-14 before Minnesota stopped the bleeding temporarily with a 53-yard field goal with 1:29 left. New Orleans just wouldn’t stop coming. An Alvin Kamara TD with 3:10 left made it 21-20 Saints. The Vikings then hit a 53-yard field goal with 1:29 left.

Trailing 23-21, Drew Brees took his team on what should have been a drive for the ages. New Orleans went 50 yards in 69 seconds to set up a nice go-ahead field goal for Wil Lutz.

That should have been it. The game should have been over.

As we all know, it wasn’t.

Ah, but here’s what you didn’t see in that video…

The extra point still had to be attempted. Based on the NFL rules at the time, even though there was no time left on the clock, the PAT attempt had to be taken. The Saints somehow got 10 men on the field after a 10-minute delay, with the -5.5 tickets hanging in the balance.

What happened then just might be the bad beat to end all bad beats.

Of course, we can also say that Vikings backers should have never had a chance. That’s why this one draws the “West” #1 seed and therefore, draws the top #2 seed.

The total was in the 46 to 46.5 range and looked pretty decent for a while, but 19 points were scored in the final 3:01 of the game to ruin the day for under bettors, too.

Instant classic. Unforgettable classic. Unforgettable gambling implications, too.

#2 “You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me”

Game: Ohio State vs. Northwestern – Week 6, 2013

Line: Ohio State -5.5

It was a back-and-forth game between ranked teams in Evanston back in 2013. Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit were on the call of Trevor Siemian vs. Braxton Miller. Ohio State was -5.5.

There were four minutes left in the third quarter and Ohio State trailed by 10 at 23-13. The outright win never really felt in doubt, as it rarely does with those Buckeyes teams, but the spread felt dicey for Buckeye backers. At this point, they were down more than two touchdowns to the number. That is a big task on a rainy night against a plucky pup.

Ohio State took the lead, but then relinquished it with just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter before getting it back again. We all settled in for the inevitable. Ohio State wins but doesn’t cover.

It took a while for disaster to strike, but it eventually did.

Take it away again, SVP and Uncle Brent.

#3 Downward Facing Favorite

Game: Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers – Week 6, 2019

Line: Green Bay -3.5; Total: 45.5

@NFL called it a heads up play. Green Bay Packers backers and over bettors at 45 or higher would call it something much, much different. Jamaal Williams had a clear path to the end zone. In fact, the Detroit Lions were letting him score so they could get the ball back.

It was a 22-20 Detroit lead. The Lions were out of timeouts. Williams had the end zone and literally sat down at the 4-yard-line. That was the end of Week 6, so it was a Monday Night Football chase game.

It ruined the side and the total and probably more than a few fantasy football weeks as well.

#4 2016 Alamo Bowl

Game: TCU vs. Oregon

Line: Oregon -7; Total 73.5

Some probably call this the 2015 Alamo Bowl, given that it was played at the end of the 2015 season, even though it technically took place in 2016. Whatever you call it, there is no question as to which game you are talking about when this story gets told.

Trevone Boykin was supposed to lead the high-octane TCU Horned Frogs into the Alamo Bowl against the Oregon Ducks, but he was suspended for violating team rules a few days in advance of the game. He got drunk in a bar, got into a fight, and swung at a police officer. Oops.

Enter Bram Kohlhausen. The man whose last name sounds like a German beer sold for 45 cents per pint at Oktoberfest wound up being the Offensive MVP of the bowl game in a game his team trailed by 31 at halftime.

That’s right, Oregon led 31-0 at halftime. Kohlhausen sparked the second-half comeback and TCU tied the game at 31-31 on a 22-yard field goal with 19 seconds left. A touchdown would have ruined things for Oregon backers, but at least would have left the under in tact.

By the time TCU won 47-41 in overtime on a Kohlhausen touchdown run, the side and total were both long gone.


There you have it, friends. In our estimation, the 16 worst football bad beats of the 2010s. Be sure to head to @BangTheBook and vote for the winner or you can vote here in the comments if you don’t have a Twitter.


On to the next round we go!

We are calling this the We Weep 8 because, well, “we weep” sounds sort of like Elite and these bad beats certainly made us weep. Makes sense, right?

Come on. Cut me a little slack here!

Voting is complete for the Round of 16 and we had a few 3 over 2 upsets, but all four bad beat top seeds moved on to the second round as expected. No UMBC over Virginia in this bracket.

With that, here’s how things set up for the We Weep 8:

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It sure seems like our voters may be a little bit biased towards the college football side of things. The only NFL that moved on to the We Weep 8 round with the Minneapolis Miracle and Super Bowl LI.

Here are the matchups for the Round of 8 (for more on each game, scroll up to the original descriptions):

The OMG Region

#1 2014 Bahamas Bowl vs. #3 Baylor vs. TCU

Ah, yes. Triple OT heartbreak vs. regulation heartbreak. Is it fair to say that the stakes were higher in the Baylor vs. TCU game? Remember, Baylor had Oklahoma on deck in a game that had some significant College Football Playoff ramifications, but those would have been mitigated to a degree if Baylor had lost.

As it turns out, Baylor could very well have made the College Football Playoff with a win over Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game despite the regular season loss, but still. That TCU game could have been curtains. Of course, it was the total that was the baddest of the beats in that game, but still.

The Bahamas Bowl was just a bowl game and one of the earliest ones. Some hardware would have been nice for the kids and programs involved, but a trip to Nassau was a prize to begin with.

Is it possible we’re sitting on an upset here?

Cast your vote over @bangthebook on this We Weep 8 matchup.

The WTF Region

#1 Super Bowl LI vs. #2 2015 Armed Forces Bowl

Something tells me that the bracket favorite is actually in this matchup, but the 2015 Armed Forces Bowl is a worthy adversary. The 28-3 lead blown by the Falcons will stand the test of time, especially if you believe in the mainstream media win percentage charts and all of that. Those weren’t all the rage in 2015 when Houston overcame a huge deficit to beat Pitt, but something tells me that Pitt’s win percentage was probably higher than that of the Falcons.

Houston scored 21 points in the final 3:41 to win the game. It took the Patriots longer than to recover from their 25-point deficit, but they did it on the grandest stage imaginable.

Cast your vote over @bangthebook on this We Weep 8 matchup.

The R U SERIOUS Region

#1 2012 Belk Bowl vs. #3 2013 New Mexico Bowl

Admittedly, I’m a bit surprised that the #3 seed moved on here, as that brutal Monday Night Football beat wrecked both side and total on Justin Houston’s scoop-and-score. Nevertheless, the people have spoken and they took Washington State’s end-game debacle to move on.

The 2012 Belk Bowl is one for the ages, as we originally mentioned, and one that will not soon be forgotten by anybody that witnessed it. From inside the 10 to not covering +9 in under two minutes. Unbelievable.

Cast your over @bangthebook on this We Weep 8 matchup.

The F ME Region

#1 Minneapolis Miracle vs. #2 Ohio State vs. Northwestern 2013

The two NFL contenders left standing are very, very strong #1 seeds. It would seem that maybe the strongest #2 seed is this Ohio State vs. Northwestern beat. It is so egregious that Scott Van Pelt has it in the opening montage to his Bad Beats segment. Bad beats at the buzzer are always so much worse, aren’t they?

Both of these contenders for the title were bad beats at the buzzer, so they have that in common. The stakes were much, much higher in the NFL Playoffs than they were in the 2013 regular season, as Ohio State had the game won anyway, so it would not have impacted their season.

This one seems like a walk, but stranger things have happened before in the voting process.

Cast your vote over @bangthebook for this We Weep 8 matchup.

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