Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Granddaddy of All Blowouts

I often hear football fans complain that a game they went to was a "blowout."

But I can only imagine how the fans in Lebanon, Tenn., must have felt on this date in 1916 — when Cumberland College traveled to Atlanta and was handed the worst beating in football history.

The final score that day was 222–0.

Aside from the lopsided nature of the score, there were a few noteworthy points:
  • The name of Tech's coach lives on in college football today. He was John Heisman, for whom the most prestigious trophy given to an individual player in college football is named.

  • Cumberland already had discontinued football, but it couldn't cancel its game with Tech for financial reasons. The schools had a scheduling agreement, and Cumberland would have had to pay $3,000 to Tech if it didn't play. In those days, $3,000 was the equivalent of nearly $60,000 in today's money so Cumberland apparently assembled a team just for the occasion.

  • I have heard that Heisman was motivated to run up the score because Cumberland's baseball team whipped Tech earlier in the year.
In the 93 years that have passed since that day, a few teams have scored 100 points in a game, but none have come close to matching Tech's output.

Twenty years ago, it was believed by many that the University of Houston, with its "run and shoot" offense under the guidance of coach Jack Pardee, might exceed the century mark — and the Cougars came close with their 95–21 triumph over SMU (which was coming off the NCAA–imposed "death penalty").

But it was actually Pardee's predecessor, Bill Yeoman, who presided over the last triple–digit scoring performance in major college football. In 1968, Yeoman's Cougars beat Tulsa, 100–6.

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