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College Football’s Biggest Loss

It was the most brutally devastating rout in the history of College Football. On a dark and dreary Saturday in 1916… 1 look at the 2 teams showed the trouble that was ahead… On one side towered Georgia Tech’s Yellow Jackets… The local papers described them as “semi-human monsters,” and "gorilla-like behemoths."

They were coached by John Heisman – the man for whom college football’s highest award is named. Heisman was a fanatic. He would not allow his players to use soap or water because he considered them debilitating. He wouldn’t let them eat pastries, pork, veal, hot bread, nuts, apples, or drink coffee.

His reason? When asked, growl… “They don’t agree with me… so they’d better not agree with you.”

On the other side of the field stood the players of lowly Cumberland College. Heisman was intent on building his team’s reputation… and lured Cumberland to the game with a $500 guarantee.

Tech had 8 All-South players. Cumberland had 8 players who had never even played football before. Even the trip down to Atlanta had been a disaster for Cumberland who arrived with only 16 players. They accidentally left three at a rest stop outside Nashville.

When the game began, Georgia Tech scored 63 points in the first quarter, averaging a TD every 1:20. The game was full of tension and drama… but not because there was any doubt of who would win… People wondered aloud in the stands…Could the Cumberland players be convinced to finish the game?

The Cumberland coach paced the sidelines, exhorting his team to “hang in there for Cumberland’s $500.” They did, and with it collected the dubious honor of the worst loss in college football hist: 222-0.

Nobody likes to lose… especially to lose big.

From a sermon by Nathan Ingram, The Lesson of Loss, 11/30/2009

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