Crabtree's catch tops Big 12's most memorable 2008 moments
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The Big 12 received unquestioned national attention this season, probably more than it ever has garnered. It made for the most memorable season in the conference's history.
Here are my choices for my most memorable moments of the 2008 season.
Crabtree's catch: Texas Tech finished a stunning comeback against then-No. 1 Texas on Nov. 1 thanks to a dramatic touchdown reception by Michael Crabtree with only a second left. Blake Gideon's dropped interception on the previous play only makes the memory more searing for Longhorn fans. But it did set up the biggest play of the season, pushing Tech into uncharted territory near the top of the BCS polls for a few weeks, while killing the Longhorns' national title hopes. Because of that, it's the most dramatic play in Big 12 history in my opinion.
45-35 and beyond: Texas whipped Oklahoma on Oct. 11, but the numbers didn't add up as Sooners eventually claimed a Big 12 title berth thanks to a strong finish and a favorable computer ranking. At several late-season games, airplane flyovers reminded fans about the Oct. 11 contest ad nauseam. It only makes the 2009 Texas-Oklahoma game already the most anticipated in Big 12 history.
The pinball numbers continue all season long: With quarterbacks like Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford and Graham Harrell among others blistering secondaries on a weekly basis, offenses were moving at warp speed across the Big 12 this season culminating with Bradford winning the Heisman trophy. It made for a fun season -- until the bowls arrived.
Another Sooner BCS meltdown: The Sooners came into the BCS national championship game with the most explosive offense in school history. They left Dolphin Stadium with their fifth-straight BCS bowl game loss and another sizable dent in Bob Stoops' once-formidable coaching reputation.
The Sooners' late-season best: Although they would have difficulty matching their performance in the season's final game, their five-game stretch before the bowls was memorable. Oklahoma ran off at least 61 points in each game, culminating with a 62-21 blowout victory over Missouri that gave them an unprecedented three-peat of Big 12 titles.
Shipley's return: Texas appeared dead and buried after Oklahoma jumped to an early 11-point lead. But Jordan Shipley's dramatic 96-yard kick return for a touchdown resuscitated their hopes and boosted them back into a game they eventually won.
Pelini's rant: After a demoralizing 62-28 loss at Oklahoma on Nov. 1, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini didn't allow his players or coaches to be interviewed as he took ownership of the loss himself. His coaching ploy worked as the Cornhuskers rebounded on a four-game winning streak that pushed them into the 2009 season with more momentum than any other North Division team.
Reesing to Meier, again and again: Kansas pulled out a wild 40-37 comeback victory over Missouri in the muck at Arrowhead Stadium thanks to two late touchdown passes from Todd Reesing to Kerry Meier, who competed with him for the starting quarterback position before last season. Both were injured late in the season, but rebounded to provide a memorable dramatic triumph over Kansas' most bitter rival.
Griffin's athletic feats: Baylor's Robert Griffin developed into the conference's best freshman offensive player thanks to his running and passing styles. Single-handedly, Griffin helped provide hope for the future for the moribund Bears program. Most amazingly, he was the youngest starting quarterback in the nation.
Kicks from Alex Henery and Matt Williams: Henery's school-record 57-yard field goal provided the winning points in Nebraska's 40-31 victory over Colorado with 1:43 left, knocking the Buffaloes out of bowl consideration. But an even better story was the development of Texas Tech kicker Matt "Lynwood" Williams, who was plucked out of the stands and put onto the Red Raiders' roster by Texas Tech coaches after he impressively won an in-game kicking promotion earlier in the season. Williams converted all 33 extra points and two field goals after joining the team.