1949-50 City College of New York men's basketball team: The term "Cinderella story" was first widely used in a sports context to describe CCNY's run to the NCAA tournament championship in 1950. The team fits all the criteria to be on the list, but a point-shaving scandal that broke the following year casts a shadow of illegitimacy over its accomplishments.
2009-10, 2010-11 Butler Bulldogs: The '09-'10 team came within two points of defeating Duke in the championship game as a five-seed, and the '10-'11 team made it to the finals as an 8-seed. But neither team closed the deal, making them ineligible for this list.
2004 Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox did complete the most incredible comeback in sports history and were up against a decades-old curse. But for those who do not believe in the supernatural, Boston just was not enough of an underdog to crack the top 15.
The team had the third best record in baseball during the regular season and finished just three games behind the Yankees. They had a loaded roster and were definitely one of the better squads in the league that year.
1971 T.C. Williams Titans: The real-life version of the team that inspired Remember the Titans broke racial barriers but were also never really underdogs. Charles Mitchell, a backup running back on the team said this about the season in which they were the top team in Virginia,
"There were more than a few times that I felt genuinely sorry for the teams we played. We would have won the state championship without the coaches, in my opinion. We were that dominating. We were that deep."
In addition, a spot on this list was reserved for a different high school state-champion that served as inspiration for a better sports movie.
2007 Boise State Broncos: The Broncos used the "Statue of Liberty" play to defeat Oklahoma in one of the most thrilling and improbable bowl games in college football history. The fairy-tale ending continued to get more romantic when star running back Ian Johnson proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend after the game. However, Boise State was only an underdog in the Fiesta Bowl, and did not face multiple elimination games.
Furthermore, the next 15 teams were even more memorable.