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My Top 10 Sports Moments May 23, 2008

Posted by flashbuzzer in Sports.

I’ve always enjoyed watching sports, especially when I know that I’ll remember a particular sporting event for years to come.

Here is a top 10 list of sports “moments” that I’ve watched, in no particular order. Two caveats are in order. First, I saw all of these on TV. Second, none of them are really “moments” per se.

1. 2003 Fiesta Bowl One of the common themes in this list is that of one strong (and seemingly invincible) team facing off against another team that was supposed to be utterly destroyed. In this case, a Miami Hurricanes squad that was riding an incredible 34-game winning streak was aiming for its second straight national title (some would argue that Miami should have been playing for its third straight championship). On the other hand, an Ohio State Buckeyes team that won its last 3 games in heart-stopping fashion was trying to stop this dominant force. A riveting double-OT thriller ensued. I remember rooting for Roscoe Parrish to take his 4th-quarter punt return to the house. Glenn Sharpe…why did you commit that pass interference penalty?

2. USC 34, Notre Dame 31 (10/15/2005) A USC Trojans squad that was riding a 27-game winning streak and aiming for a third straight AP national title seemed unstoppable. On the other hand, a Notre Dame Fighting Irish team that was starting to establish an identity under first-year coach Charlie Weis was eager to pull off a shocker in South Bend. A wild struggle ensued, perhaps fueled by ND’s decision to go with their lucky green jerseys. Reggie Bush helped his Heisman campaign with 3 touchdown runs along with an illegal push of Matt Leinart into the end zone for the winning touchdown. I remember rooting for Dwayne Jarrett to take Matt Leinart’s 4th-and-9 pass to the house.

3. 2006 Rose Bowl Like Miami three years earlier, USC was on a 34-game winning streak, and was being anointed by several ESPN talking heads as the greatest team of all-time. The Texas Longhorns, though led by the incomparable Vince Young, were supposed to roll over for the mighty Trojans. In a mesmerizing battle between the nation’s top two teams, Young was just dynamite with 267 yards passing and 200 yards rushing. Reggie Bush, the Heisman winner, came up short with just 177 yards rushing and receiving along with one foolish lateral. There was much merriment in Austin afterwards as the Longhorns celebrated their first national title in 35 years.

4. 1993 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament Final The North Carolina Tar Heels were looking for head coach Dean Smith’s second national title (and second in New Orleans). On the other hand, the Michigan Wolverines were sparked by the Fab Five, who were looking to avenge their national title loss to Duke the previous year. I remember pulling hard for the Fab Five, since Michigan was my favorite team back in the early ’90s. While I felt bad for Chris Webber after his infamous timeout call, I couldn’t justify his obvious travel only seconds earlier after rebounding Pat Sullivan’s missed free throw. This would be the final hurrah for the Fab Five, as Webber would subsequently declare for the 1993 NBA Draft and head off to the Golden State Warriors.

5. 1999 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament Final The Duke Blue Devils were in the midst of an incredible season, and they entered the title game with a 37-1 record. On the other hand, the Connecticut Huskies were supposed to step aside for the inevitable Blue Devil coronation, though they had a sparkling 33-2 record. The heart-stopping duel between the two best teams in college basketball that season was just fantastic. Khalid El-Amin delivered on his pre-game promise to “shock the world” by scoring the last 4 points of the game for UConn. Fantastic defense by Ricky Moore on Trajan Langdon boosted the Huskies to an upset of a team that featured at least 5 viable NBA prospects (William Avery, Langdon, Shane Battier, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette).

6. 2005 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament Final Like Duke in 1999, the Illinois Fighting Illini entered this title match with a 37-1 record. I got the general impression before this game, though, that people were confident in UNC’s chances. Like the 1999 championship game, this matchup featured the two best teams in college basketball that season. Somehow Illinois attempted a mind-boggling 40 3-pointers, making only 12 (which probably sealed their demise). In this harmonious convergence of talent, Sean May was the best player on the floor, and I give credit to Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams for going with a point zone to keep Raymond Felton on the floor in the first half.

7. 2008 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament Final The Memphis Tigers one-upped both Illinois (2005) and Duke (1999) by entering the title match with a 38-1 record. On the other hand, some people were giving the Kansas Jayhawks a decent chance to win the game. Derrick Rose, who turned in a listless first half while possibly being troubled by a stomach ailment, came alive in the second half to almost single-handedly push the Tigers to the title. Mario Chalmers’ super-clutch 3-pointer allowed me to win my first NCAA Tournament pool, which was pretty neat. Interestingly, Memphis became the fifth team in NCAA history to win at least 37 games in a season, and all five of those teams did not win the NCAA title.

8. 2002 NBA Playoffs – Western Conference Finals The Los Angeles Lakers were on their way to a 3-peat, which had been last accomplished by the Chicago Bulls in 1998. The Sacramento Kings were having a pretty good season of their own, though, and were the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. This riveting series shifted into overdrive on a spectacular 3-pointer by Robert Horry to win Game 4. After a horribly officiated Game 6, the Lakers captured the series in a Game 7 overtime thriller. This series would be the high-water mark for a Kings team featuring Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic, and a blossoming star in Mike Bibby.

9. Super Bowl XLII The New England Patriots entered this clash with an 18-0 record, and they had annihilated various teams during a record-setting regular season. The New York Giants, on the other hand, were supposed to be a Giant punching bag for the Patriots in their quest for perfection. The Giants’ defensive line, though, got significant pressure on Tom Brady and threw a Justin Tuck-sized wrench into the Patriots’ offense. Brady finally got untracked late in the fourth quarter and led the Pats on a go-ahead touchdown drive. Then Eli Manning responded with the drive of his life…can you say David Tyree + ball + helmet = upset?

10. 2004 Olympics – Swimming – Men’s 200-meter Freestyle The pre-race hype for this event was amazing, as it was dubbed the “Race of the Century.” Michael Phelps came into the Olympics with legitimate hopes of winning 8 gold medals, and this event wasn’t even one of his best. Ian Thorpe, a former world-record holder in the event, was going to be a serious threat, and Pieter van den Hoogenband was the defending Olympic gold medalist. In a fun-filled battle, van den Hoogenband hit the halfway mark at world-record pace. Thorpe finally chased him down in the last straightaway to set a new Olympic record, and Phelps took the bronze.



1. khandor - May 23, 2008

Solid Top 10 list.

In case you’re interested … here’s my all-time No. 1 … enjoy!

There will never be another quite like this one. 🙂

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