|Feature: C6H0 still a winning formula after all these years
RELEASED: October 18, 2001
Centre's famous upset of Harvard in football marks 80th anniversary
All of these are improbable modern-day sporting feats. But none can compare to another unlikely event that will have taken place 80 years ago on Oct. 29.
On that date in 1921 Centre's football team pulled off what has been called the greatest sports upset of the 20th Century.
Centre entered the contest a major underdog. Mighty Harvard, at that time comparable to a football powerhouse such as Florida State today, had not been defeated in five years.
But the Praying Colonels of Centre College, who obtained their nickname by regularly praying together before each game, were up for the challenge at Cambridge, Mass.
In front of an estimated 50,000 fans in Harvard Stadium, Centre did the unimaginable that day by downing Harvard 6-0. Centre won on a second-half touchdown run by legendary quarterback Bo McMillin. They were all the points Centre would need as it was the gridiron version of Truman defeating Dewey.
The Centre team became the toast of the town, and, indeed, America. Celebrations broke out in Kentucky with word of the victory. People greeted the team at train stations on its ways back to Kentucky, and a parade was held for the team upon its arrival home. Thousands attended as the team rode a fire truck through Danville. The squad received more royal treatment when it traveled to San Diego to face Arizona later that season. The team was entertained by a motion picture company, and the players had a chance to meet Gloria Swanson, a star of the silent screen. Centre finished the season 10-1, its only loss coming in an upset at the hands of Texas A&M in the postseason.
The victory was a small school from a small state beating the mighty Ivy League titan, and it rocked the world of college football. Some college football historians even say it was a turning point for football in the South, helping pave the way for teams such as Alabama and other southern football teams to have great success down the road.
C6H0, short for Centre 6, Harvard 0, still stands for the idea of hard work and believing in yourself. The winning formula C6H0 can also still be found displayed prominently at Centre's campus in Danville.
And the Centre community hasn't forgotten the game. One of the late Bo McMillin's daughters was on campus this summer for a visit. And another daughter recently attended Centre's homecoming football victory on Oct. 13.
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