College Sports were overfilling with awesome, funny and touching stories this year both on and off the field. From rivalry games to tournaments, many of the best moments came off the fields and courts.
The response to Kevin Ware’s injury to watching Bishop Sankey’s grandfather watch him play after an eye transplant; some came from expected places like the Iron Bowl and March Madness; some came from unforeseeable places like an LAX terminal and Northern Illinois.
Overall, it was a great year. And worth repeating. Here is our top 10.
Brian Reddoch is a CraveOnline reporter and rabid fan of all teams Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter @ReddReddoch or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.
Top College Moments
10. Seven-Year-Old Jack Hoffman Scores TD
Cornhuskers adopted cancer victim Jack Hoffman as an unofficial team mascot. During the Spring Game they had a surprise for the little guy -- they let him come in for a snap as running back. In a pre-planned play, he ran 69 yards for the TD. The video went viral, Jack got to visit the White House, won an ESPY, and even got nominated for Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. Best of all, his cancer is now in remission.
9. Ohio State Band Deserves More Love Than Team
I was going to list the Buckeyes' loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship, but that would be mean considering the loss was just the proof the critics were looking for, showing THE Ohio State University football team is overrated and play a weak schedule. It would be mean to bring up that the Buckeyes could be playing against Florida State (another weak schedule team) if they hadn’t choked. It would be mean to use the Michigan State game as one last reason we are all glad the playoffs are coming next season...Instead, let’s focus on the band. Thanks to new technology, they took their performances to a new level this year. Videos of their performances went viral reaching millions of non-fans. They have included a
moonwalking Michael Jackson, a T-Rex with Jurasic Park music, Harry Potter and a sea battle ending with a Michigan ship sinking.
8. Auburn Miracle #1
The catch of the year is a split between the
UCF last minute one-hand grab by J.J. Worton in the final minute against Temple and what is now being called “The Prayer at Jordan-Hare”. Georgia was playing to get into the SEC Championship versus a top ten Auburn team who was trying to prove their legitimacy. It was 4 down and 18 yards to go with 35 seconds left; Auburn was down by one point. th QB Nick Marshall sent his receivers out, stepped into the pocket and unleashed a missile. Two Georgia Bulldogs crossed paths and almost (not quite) intercepted the ball, but instead tipped it up to the zooming Richardo Louis ahead of them. Louis never took his eyes off the ball, caught it lightly and glided into the endzone. It setup Auburn with a chance to win the SEC West, continuing their path to a BCS title and gave Georgia yet another big-game loss.
7. Trojan Terminal Takedown & Tribulations
The biggest news in the Pac-12 this year didn’t occur on the field, but at an LAX terminal. The stories of players and -- more importantly -- boosters, not liking USC coach Lane
Kiffin, were making the rounds after a poor 3-2 start. The last loss was a blowout in Arizona. After landing, Kiffin was pulled from the team bus and fired on the spot. Twitter provided the early story to everyone's shock. Emerged from the chaos was interim head coach Ed Orgeron. Coach O turned the team around en route to Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors. However, after a loss to rival UCLA, the Trojans hired Washington’s Steve Sarkisian which prompted Orgeron to quit. They did win their bowl game with another interim coach, but the LAX firing and coach carousel will still be the story of the year in the Pac-12.
6. Jameis Winston Doesn’t Need Glasses
Winston was the big man on campus this year. By now, we know his stats and awards -- they don’t need repeating here. We’ll even skip the off-field accusations -- and the easy schedule. We just want to know how well he’ll play if he wore his contacts on the field.
5. Duck Dynasty Fails To Fly Again As Tears Fall
For me, the most memorable moment of the football season
not featuring Alabama was the video of Oregon receiver Josh Huff crying on the sidelines during the loss to Stanford. It was still only the third quarter when Huff realized the Ducks' perfect season was getting shot up by Stanford. The comedy really came when the Ducks made a comeback and scored 20 unanswered points. Maybe someday Oregon wins the big games and gets their dynasty started… until then maybe Kleenex can share Nike’s corporate sponsorship.
4. Dunk City
We watch the March Madness for the non-stop action and upsets. Florida Gulf Coast provided both with their “Dunk City” up-tempo style of play. They became the first 15-seed to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. They destroyed everyone’s bracket equally. Virtually no one picked them which made it easier to root them on. Of course, we all had to get a crash course on where the heck Florida Gulf Coast College was located.
3. Alabama Becomes A Dynasty
It seems like an eternity ago, but Alabama won its second straight National Championship and third in four years this past January. The Crimson Tide took down undefeated Notre Dame, who many considered lucky in some of their games. The game was a bit of a let down as Alabama went on to a 42-14 victory.
2. Kevin Ware Breaks A Leg & Provides Motivation
During the Elite Eight game against Duke, Louisville guard, Kevin Ware, went up for a three-pointer. He was perfectly aligned on millions of televisions as he landed and shattered his leg. He became an extra emotional motivation for the Cardinals en route to their third NCAA championship.
1. Iron Bowl Miracle
Very frequently, big college games get the nickname “Game of the Century” before kickoff. Many times, they fail to live up to the hype; rarely do they really qualify for the name. The No. 1 Crimson Tide went down to No. 4 Auburn for a game that would determine not only the SEC Championship but help determine the National Championship. It was a close fought and frequently tied tied; the matchup being the highest ranked Iron Bowl in history. When Alabama tried to win the game in the waning seconds with a 57 yard field goal, they did so after
Saban argued for more time to be put back on the clock. It became ironic when the kick fell short into the arms of Auburn returnman Chris Davis, who returned the catch more than 100 yards for an Auburn touchdown. History and time will tell if the play surpasses Cal-Stanford's “band on the field” or Doug Flutie’s hail mary… but there is no doubt the game was the best in recent memory.