Can Liberty Pull Off Biggest Upset In Recent Fiesta Bowl History?

Can Liberty Pull Off Biggest Upset In Recent Fiesta Bowl History?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

There’s a chance history will be made when Liberty and Oregon square off inside Glendale’s State Farm Stadium in this year’s Fiesta Bowl.

That’s because the Conference USA champs from Lynchburg enter the game as the largest underdog since the UCF Knights (against the favored Baylor Bears) in 2014. That game went in favor of the Knights, who pulled off a shocker as a 17-point underdog by upsetting the Bears, 52-42, to cap off a 12-1 campaign under then-coach George O’Leary.

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Fast forward a decade and Liberty has the same kind of opportunity in Year One of the Jamey Chadwell era, entering the Fiesta Bowl with an unblemished 13-0 record and a chance to show the country what it can do.

If they pull off the upset, the Flames will do so as a 17.5-point and +550 moneyline underdog at ESPN BET Arizona. Ahead of that Jan. 1 showdown on ESPN, BetArizona.com broke down the biggest upsets since 2006 in the Fiesta Bowl.

Fiesta Bowl Biggest Upsets Since 2006

Year Spread Result
2013Baylor -17UCF 52, Baylor 42
2022Michigan -9TCU 51, Michigan 45
2007Oklahoma -8West Virginia 48, Oklahoma 28
2009TCU -7Boise State 17, TCU 10
2006Oklahoma -7Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42, OT


The Fiesta Bowl isn’t a host of the College Football Playoff semifinals as it was last year. In this year’s playoff, Arizona betting apps list Michigan (+185) as a slight favorite over Alabama (+200). Texas (-190) is a 4.5-point favorite over Washington (+160) in the other semi. 

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Liberty Can Join All-Time Fiesta Bowl Cinderellas

The Flames have a shot to match the Knights atop Fiesta Bowl lore, though the Arizona bowl game is no stranger to noteworthy upsets over the years. Just last year, TCU won its CFP semifinal held at the Fiesta Bowl over Michigan, 51-45, after being listed as a 9-point underdog on game day.

Between 2006 and 2009, there were three upsets involving teams with spreads of seven points or greater, including West Virginia beating Oklahoma, 48-28, as an eight-point underdog in 2007.

The Fiesta Bowl also hosted a pair of well-known Boise State upsets — the Broncos won as seven-point underdogs in 2009 against TCU and put themselves on the national map with their 2006 victory against Oklahoma. Oregon and Liberty have never met in football. Arizona sportsbooks list the over/under in the game at 66.5 total points.

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Author

Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetArizona.com after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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