What are the biggest upsets in sports history?

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TCU looks to join list of biggest upsets in sports history originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Texas Christian University, the chance at making history is at your fingertips – potentially one for the record books.

The No. 3 Horned Frogs are set to take on the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs in the CFP National Championship game on Monday, but there’s much more on the line for TCU than topping the defending champions.

Should TCU upset Georgia for the title, it would go down as one of the biggest upsets in sports history. Not just because the program has one recognized national championship in its history (1938) but because it entered the preseason with 1000/1 odds of winning it all, per the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook

RELATED: How to watch TCU vs. Georgia in CFP National Championship

So, while TCU owns the No. 3 seed after a stellar season and commands respect, hardly anyone saw this matchup brewing back in August.

Can Sonny Dykes, Max Duggan and Co. lead TCU to glory? If they do, they’ll join these moments as among the biggest upsets in sports history (in no particular order):

Team USA beats Soviet Union in “Miracle on Ice” – 1980

The “Miracle on Ice” was a sensational triumph for Team USA over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics held in New York.

The Soviet Union entered the game as four-time defending gold medalists and were the heavy favorites, but lost 4-3 to a U.S. side that was the youngest in the tournament and had just four players with experience, all stemming from the minor leagues. 

Trailing 3-2 entering the third period, goals from Mark Johnson and captain Mike Eruzione lifted the Stars and Stripes to a 4-3 lead with 10 minutes to go – subsequently referred to as “the longest 10 minutes of American fans’ lives.”

Team USA held on and went on to beat Finland 4-2 with another late comeback in the gold medal game, but it was the victory over the Soviet Union that sparked the run. 

Buster Douglas ends Mike Tyson’s undefeated streak – 1990

“Tyson is Back!” – three infamous words that wound up on the wrong side of history.

That was the billing for Mike Tyson’s 1990 match against Buster Douglas, who entered the fight as a massive underdog. HBO analysts Larry Merchant and Jim Lampley expected a “90-second annihilation” in favor of Tyson – but that was far from the case.

Douglas, who had a 29-4-1 win-loss-draw record coming into the match, took the then 37-0 Tyson to the 10th round, where he eventually won via knockout. The official scorecards through nine rounds were 87–86 for Tyson, 86–86 and 88–83 for Douglas.

The triumph is widely considered the biggest upset in boxing history, so it definitely deserved to make the cut. 

New York Giants erase New England Patriots’ perfect record in Super Bowl 42

The New England Patriots finished the 2007 regular season with a flawless 16-0 record. They then marched to Super Bowl 42 hoping to join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the league’s only teams to finish the campaign undefeated. 

Until they met the New York Giants in Glendale, Ariz. 

Eli Manning and Co. were 10-6 after the regular season and hoped to become the first ever NFC Wild Card seed to win the Super Bowl. It took them until the final minute of regulation to do just that.

Along with David Tyree’s infamous helmet catch, Manning delivered when the Giants needed him most. With just 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Manning completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to wideout Plaxico Burress to take a 17-14 lead, capping off a 12-play, 83-yard drive that took just 2:07. 

Tom Brady did not have one of his classic late comebacks in him, and so disappeared New England’s clean record. 

Leicester City wins English Premier League – 2015/16

If TCU’s 1000/1 odds are baffling enough, then Leicester City’s 5000/1 chances of winning the English Premier League in 2015-16 is another level. 

The Foxes earned promotion into the EPL from the EFL Championship in 2014-15, and used a late run thanks to manager Nigel Pearson switching to a back-three defense to finish 14th. Before that, they were in the relegation zone for over half the campaign and bottom for 17 straight fixtures.

Pearson, controversially, got sacked after the season, and Leicester appointed Italian Claudio Ranieri, who had previously managed Chelsea from 2000-04, to take over. Thanks to their clinical counter-attacking play and ability to adapt quickly after setbacks, the Foxes powered their way to a 23-12-3 win-draw-loss record to seal the title with 81 points – 10 more than second-place Arsenal. 

To make an upset in one game – like the aforementioned examples – is one thing, but achieving it over the course of 38 games is something we may not see again for a long, long time. 

Saudi Arabia shocks Lionel Messi, Argentina in World Cup – 2022

It’s difficult not to believe this wasn’t the biggest upset in World Cup history. Though it eventually didn’t matter as Argentina went on to win the Qatar-hosted tournament, Saudi Arabia shocked the planet with its 2-1 upset victory in its Group C opener.

Lionel Messi gave La Albiceleste an early lead thanks to a penalty, but two second-half goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari saw the Green Falcons claim a surprising three points, earning a public holiday the day after for the Saudi Arabians back at home. 

Saudi Arabia’s win marked the beginning of a World Cup filled with upsets left and right, but no other game came close to sending the shockwaves like this one did.