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National Underdog Day: The 5 Biggest Upsets In Sports

Picture of Michigan - Appalachian State Ticket

One Great Season

National Underdog Day is today, and the OGS holiday staff has compiled a neat little look at the 5 Biggest Upsets in Sports History.

5. Appalachian State beats Michigan — The FCS upstart blocked a last-second field-goal attempt by the No. 5 Wolverines in the Big House, preserving its 34-32 defeat in 2007. It marked the first time ever that an FCS school beat a Top 25 team. The Mountaineers would go on to win the FCS national championship that year, their third in a row.

4. New York Jets win Super Bowl III — Broadway Joe Namath made sports guarantees chic when he predicted a Jets defeat of NFL powerhouse Baltimore in 1969. The AFL champion was an 18-point underdog, hoping to represent the upstart league well after the NFL won the first two post-merger championships pretty handily. Namath's Jets claimed a 16-7 win, but haven't returned to the Super Bowl since.

3. Buster Douglas KO's Mike Tyson — Iron Mike was so dominant in the two-plus years he'd worn the heavyweight belt leading up to this 1990 bout that he seemed forever invincible. If he was ever going to lose a fight, it surely wouldn't be to a 42-1 longshot serving merely as a tune-up for Tyson's next bout against Evander Holyfield. But Douglas fought the brawl of his life and turned Tyson's lights out in the 10th round.

Picture of the Miracle On Ice

2. North Carolina State beats Houston — Perhaps the two biggest upsets in college basketball took place in two of the best NCAA Championship games just two years apart. The buzzer-beating win for the Wolfpack was slightly more dramatic than Villanova's upset of Georgetown in 1985, so we give the nod here to Jim Valvano's 1983 crew that stunned Phi Slamma Jamma.

1. Miracle On Ice — How can you not include a team whose landmark achievement inspired a movie called "Miracle?" Funny thing is, many think the USA's historic 1980 win over the Soviet Union was for the gold medal. The Americans actually had to beat Finland two days later to secure the gold.


Had Gordon Hayward made that half-court heave at the buzzer last spring, where would a Butler defeat of Duke have ranked?

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Reader Comments (4)

USD knocking off UCONN in the NCAA's or Santa Clara taking down U of A in the 1st round too...

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertbone6

tbone. Yeah, pretty sure those don't even compare to that list. Good list with the exception of #5. That was a bad Michigan team. But, i'm no sports historian.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Franchise

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