If bookies were around in 1916, there probably would have been one peddling Cumberland College as a 199.5-point underdog against Georgia Tech before the Yellow Jackets waxed Cumberland 222-0.
As it stands, however, Savannah State seals its place in history against Florida State today as a 70.5-point underdog — the largest point spread in recorded history. There's a caveat, as games between FBS and FCS haven't always been posted in Las Vegas (h/t to @ToddFuhrman for that reminder) and college football spreads haven't officially been around since the game itself started.
Still, Savannah State has its unwanted moment in history. There was a stir last week when Savannah State was a massive underdog at Oklahoma State (about 65.5 points, according to the Associated Press), and then it lost 84-0. The line had to go higher for the Tigers' game at Florida State, the AP reported:
''It was an interesting line to make,'' said Mike Colbert, vice president of risk management for Las Vegas-based Cantor Gaming. ''If Florida State wanted to play its top guys the entire game, they could probably win by a hundred."
How exactly did it come to this? As Eric Adelson pointed out, Savannah State is rightfully taking these games for its financial bottom line, but teams take guarantee games all the time without being expected to lose by more than 10 touchdowns.
Savannah State — where Shannon Sharpe played his college ball — has had back-to-back one-win seasons. The program is in a transition, in its second year as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. It was an independent program before that. The Tigers lost 11 starters off last year's team, which finished on a seven-game losing streak. The offense simply has no punch. Seven times last year the Tigers scored 10 or fewer points. The defense hasn't been much better.
Second-year coach Steve Davenport is trying to build a program, creating a culture where players stick around during the summer and can now work with a new full-time strength and conditioning coach. Davenport would probably like to rebuild in anonymity, but he and his program have now been featured all week for the wrong reasons after the shocking Oklahoma State score and the eye-popping Florida State spread.
"We played the game and moved on," Davenport told the Savannah Morning News. "We're in the process of building this program. We think we're on the right path."
Maybe Savannah State can avoid embarrassment, compete well and cover the Florida State spread. It'd be a small win for the program and I'm sure the Tigers would take a win any way they can get it.
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