ESPN Classic Games of the Decade

Hey, did you know the decade is ending? Of course you did, because you listen to the Podcast!

OK, so maybe you knew that without listening to PooZ and I give out meaningless awards, but the end of the decade is time for reflection. And ESPN Classic is reflecting in the best way they know how -- by showing a marathon of the best games/matches/fights/events/etc of the 2000s.

The network is showing 192 hours of action over the course of eight days, starting Dec. 26. Some of these events will be cool to watch again, but which ones are the “must watches”, the ones that earn “save until I delete” status on the DVR?

I decided to limit it to 10 events. This was incredibly hard, because there are so many good games on here. Also, these aren't necessarily the 10 best games/events of the decade -- some of those aren't even being shown during the marathon -- but the 11 that I think you'll be able to enjoy again and again and again (I tried to cut it to 10, but I just couldn't, OK).

December 26
8am - 11am - 2001 GMAC Bowl, Marshall vs East Carolina
I know you're thinking "what the hell", but this game was AMAZING. Marshall was down 38-8 before putting up one of the best second halves of all time. Byron Leftwich finished the game with 576 yards passing and Marshall won 64-61 in double-OT, on a "walk-off" touchdown.

December 27
9pm - 11pm - 2003 ALCS Game 7, Yankees vs Red Sox
I know PooZ won't be watching this one. The Yanks and Sox go to extras in New York, and Aaron Boone earns the middle name "bleepin''" for the rest of his life.

December 28
(note: just plop your ass on the couch for most of this day, which, in addition to the games listed below, features the Syracuse-Kansas national championship game, Randy Johnson’s perfect game and the 2005 Castillo-Corrales fight)

1pm - 3pm - 2005 NCAA Regional Final, Arizona vs Illinois
The Illini were down by 15 with four minutes to play, and people had probable already written "Arizona" into the Final Four spot on their brackets. Then Deron Williams went bananas and Illinois came back to win 90-89 in overtime.

3pm - 5pm - 2006 NCAA Regional Final, George Mason vs Connecticut
I'm still not sure how George Mason made it to the Final Four, considering they barely made the tournament as an at-large selection. Relive the horrible "By George, the dream is alive" call and the great game that preceded it.

5pm - 7pm - 2004 ALCS Game 4, Yankees vs Red Sox
Hey Sox fans, if you're pissed from watching 2003's Game 7 the day before, then enjoy the moment when the 2004 ALCS turned. Roberts's steal, Ortiz's walk-off, it's all here!

9pm - midnight - 2006 Rose Bowl, Texas vs USC
The 2005 USC Trojans were allegedly the greatest college football team of all time. Vince Young disagreed.

December 29
5pm - 8pm - 2007 Fiesta Bowl, Boise State vs Oklahoma
Because of the BCS's TV deal, this game is very rarely re-aired. So check it out, from Boise building a big lead, to Oklahoma's comeback, to the most insane series of trick plays ever seen outside of Hollywood. When a game is amazing, people often say that if it were a Hollywood script, it'd be rejected for being too absurd. I think this might be the only game ever for which that actually applies. I mean, the star player who scored the winning points proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend on the sidelines! They wouldn't even try that shit on "Friday Night Lights".

December 30
11am - 1pm - Lakers vs Raptors
Two players in NBA history have scored at least 80 points in a game. Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 in a half-empty gym in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Kobe Bryant scored 81 in this game in January of '06. It wasn't on national TV, so if you only saw the highlights, you have to see this unfold.

1pm - 4pm - 2007 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 5, Cavaliers vs Pistons
LeBron James scores 25 consecutive points, and 29 of 30, for the Cavaliers, as they take control of the series. I've seen this game dozens of times. I'll still be watching this again (oh, and it's LeBron's birthday too!).

December 31
9am - 11am - 2008 NCAA Championship, Kansas vs Memphis
The NCAA's official records show that Memphis didn't play in this game. So make sure you DVR it now, before video technology improves to the point that they can digitally remove the Tigers completely.

January 1
5pm - 9pm - 2009 Big East Quarterfinals, Syracuse vs UConn
Officially, this game ended after six overtimes, with Syracuse winning. I think they're actually still playing at MSG, and this is actually going to be live coverage.

Just Missed the Cut
- 2003 Fiesta Bowl (Dec. 27, 6pm-9pm)
A great game ruined by Terry Porter's three-second-late pass interference call. I don't need to see that bullshit again (the rest of the game is amazing).

- Appalachian State vs Michigan (Dec. 30, 6am-8am)
A huge upset at the time, but the luster is off a bit due to the fall-off of the Michigan program. It's hard to keep this on the DVR while the Wolverines suck.

- Celtics-Bulls Game 4, 2009 Playoffs (Dec. 30, 6pm-9pm)
Game 6 is the triple-overtime game, and the one I'd rather see.

- 2008 Wimbledon Final (Dec. 31, 11am-4pm)
A great match, but I actually liked the 2009 final better, and I'm not sure I want to spend five hours on New Year's Eve Day watching tennis.

- Baylor vs Texas A&M 5 OT Game (Jan. 1, 7am-10am)
Almost no one saw this game when it happened, so it'd be cool to see now, but that's not "save until I delete" worthy.