Retrievers Over Cavaliers: The Greatest Upset in Sports History

Retrievers Over Cavaliers: The Greatest Upset in Sports History

In a game that shocked the sports world and blew up just about every March Madness bracket in existence, the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) upset the number one overall seed Virginia in 2018 NCAA men’s tournament. This will be a game that sticks in my mind and memory for the rest of my life. I’ll remember exactly where I was sitting, exactly what I was eating, exactly who I was with, and exactly how I felt. There is something about an upset that is written into the American DNA.  After all, we are at our core, a nation of underdogs who upset our own number one seeds in order to make our mark on the world. Even though our country likes to consider itself the reigning champion, our vitality, work ethic, and prolificacy are derived from our willingness to accept the underdogs of the world into our community and value their contributions. 

In watching what will go down as one of the most legendary upsets in March Madness history, my mind began to drift off to other great upset stories. The first upset that sprang to the forefront of my mind was Appalachian State’s upset of the University of Michigan in 2007. This was a wildly entertaining college football game where a FCS school upset one of the top ranked teams in the country. At the time we didn’t believe that anything like this could happen. The level of ASU’s talent, facilities, money, and coaching expertise simply could not rise to the level of a storied blue-blood program like the University of Michigan. However, Appalachian State proved the world wrong upsetting Michigan in dramatic fashion. I will always remember exactly where I was when I was watching this game. I was in the “HUB” student center on the campus of Penn State University watching the game on a giant screen television in a student lounge. This game’s legacy stems far beyond the scoreboard on that particular day. In my mind, this upset created a chain reaction across the country of smaller programs upsetting college football royalty on a consistent basis. 

Some other great upset stories that stick out are, of course, the “miracle on ice” where the United States hockey team beat the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics, and Buster Douglas’ knock-out of Mike Tyson in 1990. No matter what walk of life you are from, I am willing to bet that you have at least one memory of a great upset or come-back victory. Take care to hold these moments of triumph in your mind and draw on them for inspiration when you face adversity in your own life.


UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) - a 16 seed - defeated the #1 seed UVA Cavaliers in true bracket-busting fashion, Jake Stout explains.