It's the reason we tune in to watch Michigan play Appalachian State or DVR every first-round NCAA tournament game.
The lure of the upset, where the underdog with no hope has the chance to put the mighty powerhouse in their place, has a special lure for sports fans.
Americans love upsets. It's in our nature, considering that we are a country that was founded on one of history's greatest upsets.
Over 200 years ago, a ragtag group of militiamen put the world's greatest military in their place and formed this nation.
Upsets are part of our nature and this list details the ten greatest in sports history.
In retrospect it might not have been as big of an upset as thought at the time. However, make no mistake—the Jets were not supposed to win this game.
Vegas had the Jets a 10-point underdog going into the game, and the team with the brash quarterback were largely thought of as pretenders to the mighty Colts.
The AFL representative had been blown out in the first two games, and the Colts had ran through the "tougher" NFL on their way to the Super Bowl.
If the Jets were no-hopers somebody forgot to tell the Jets.
Aside from Howard Cosell, nobody thought the Jets had a prayer. However, the Jets saw something in the aging Colts that gave them confidence.
The legendary story being a film session where the Jets were watching the Colts' demolition of the Browns in the NFL Championship game and Jets tight end Pete Lammons declared, "We'd better turn this film off or we might get overconfident."
Once the game started, Joe Namath called a perfect game and led his Jets to a 16-7 victory, backing up the guarantee he made just days earlier.
Before game one of the 1988 World Series NBC's Bob Costas made the comment that the Dodgers were the weakest World Series team in recent memory.
The Dodgers lineup certainly wouldn't strike fear in the hearts of any opponent with their best offensive weapon Kirk Gibson hurt, leaving light-hitting Steve Sax as their best threat.
How could John Shelby match up with Mark McGwire? Mickey Hatcher verses Jose Canceco? Dave Henderson against Alfredo Griffin?
Oakland's "bash brothers" were thought to sweep the light-hitting Dodgers, who somehow pulled off a major upset in downing the mighty Mets in the NLCS.
However, somebody forgot to tell the A's the old baseball adage that "good pitching always beats great hitting."
Oral Hershiser was having a career season. Fernando Valenzuela was in the midst of his last great year, Tim Belcher had a great postseason, and reliever Jay Howell was unhittable.
The tone of the series was set in game one with the Dodgers down 4-3. The A's walked Mike Davis, expecting Danny Heep to pinch-hit for the pitcher, when the injured Kirk Gibson appeared from the tunnel.
Waiting for his at-bat, Gibson told a Dodgers' coach "I think I have one good swing in me."
Barely able to stand, Gibson had just that as he blasted the game winning two-run homer in his only World Series at bat that season.
The Dodgers went on to shut down McGwire and Canseco, winning the series 4-1.
Today this game might not mean much with two of the best academic institutions (Harvard plays in the Football Championship subdivision and Centre is Division III) in the nation playing in another meaningless game.
However, back in 1919 Harvard were the Florida Gators of their generation.
In the previous two seasons, Harvard had finished 17-0-2, won a national championship, and hadn't been scored on all season heading into their game with Centre.
Centre traveled nearly a week by train from tiny Danville, Kentucky to play mighty Harvard in Cambridge, looking to avenge a 31-14 loss the year before.
Quarterback Bo McMillan scored the game's only touchdown, giving Centre an improbable 6-3 victory in a game that would be the modern equivalent of Eastern Kentucky beating Urban Meyer's Gators.
After word of the game spread students at Centre painted "C6 H0" on a wall of a classroom building, a monument to the game that still stands today.
The North Carolina State Wolfpack were the ultimate bubble team in the 1983 NCAA Tournament.
Barely squeeking into the field as a six-seed they failed to impress the college basketball media by barely knocking off 11-seed Pepperdine in the first round.
On the other hand, Houston were the odds-on favorites to win the tournament. With their classic Phi Slamma Jamma line-up of Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, and Michael Young, the Cougars' odds improved greatly when they knocked off second-ranked Louisville in the national semifinals.
Led by inspirational coach Jim Valvano, the Wolfpack made their way to the Regional Finals knocking off a Virginia team led by consensus Player of the Year Ralph Sampson (Virginia had beaten NC State three times previously).
After beating fellow upstart Georgia in the National Semifinals, the Wolfpack advanced to the National Title game as double-digit underdogs to Phi Slamma Jamma.
Houston led the game throughout, yet couldn't put the Wolfpack away, and held a one-point lead with under a minute in the game.
With time winding down, N.C State's Derek Whitenberg put up a 30-foot airball that was taken out of the air by teammate Lorenzo Charles and dunked home as time expired, giving the Wolfpack a one-point victory.
Aside from Bert Blyleven and Sidney Ponson, name one baseball player from Holland?
On the other hand baseball players from the Dominican Republic are household names including Pujols, Soriano, Tejada, Ortiz, and Vlad Guerrero.
Yet somehow in this season's World Baseball Classic, the Dutch managed to upset the mighty Dominicans not once but twice.
In The Netherlands baseball is a largely ignored sport ranking far behind soccer and the national sport of field hockey.
With a roster made up of players primarily from the the Dutch "major" league and U.S farm teams the Dutch came into this season's WBC as nothing more than a filler team.
However, if their first victory over the Dominican's was a fluke, their sending home the mighty baseball nation 3-2 in an elimination game was a true upset of mammoth proportions.
England is as synonymous with the sport of soccer as almost any "nation" in the world. After all, the game was invented in England and they have traditionally been home to the world's greatest professional league.
For years England felt themselves above playing in the World Cup, but in 1950 decided to prove their dominance to the world by traveling to Brazil to take their rightful place as the best soccer team in the world.
Standing in their way were the Yanks, an American team that wasn't even semi-professional made up of weekend players who spent most of their time as cab drivers, dishwashers, school teachers, and grad students.
On June 29 in the town of Belo Horizonte, the United States defeated mighty England 1-0, with the lone goal scored by a Haitian immigrant named Joe Gatejans.
Both teams were eliminated from the tournament and while England still remained one of the world's premier soccer powers, the U.S wouldn't return to the World Cup for 40 years.
It sounded like a good idea at the time.
After playing in a Japanese tournament featuring top-25 Utah as well as two top five teams, Houston and Louisville, Virginia coach Terry Holland decided to give his boys some much needed R&R in Hawaii.
However, to justify the stop over Holland decided to schedule a game against a NAIA school, Chaminade University.
Virginia was top-ranked, with a 8-0 record, coming off two top-25 wins, with the nation's most dominant player since Bill Walton, 7'4'' manchild Ralph Sampson.
If Virginia looked at the game as an excuse for sand and surf, Chaminade looked at the game as a way to put their program on the map.
If the tiny Catholic school from Honolulu could just keep the score close, they could manage a bit of a boost on the mainland that could help with recruiting.
The Silverswords had a game plan of triple-teaming Sampson every time he touched the ball and making the other Cavaliers beat them.
Virginia outrebounded the Silverswords by 20 boards, yet Sampson was held to nine points and 12 rebounds in part by 6'7'' center named Tony Randolph, who had played against Sampson in high school.
The final score was Chaminade 67, Virginia 62, sending shockwaves throughout the mainland.
Imagine being a high level international athlete who hadn't lost in thirteen years. Not thirteen games but rather thirteen years, an entire generation without a loss.
Alexander Karelin is perhaps the most dominant athlete to ever live. During his streak the Russian claimed three Olympic Gold medals, nine World Championships, ten European titles, and hadn't given up a single point in six years.
"The Russian Bear" was so closely associated with Greco-Roman wrestling that he was called "The Experiment" and was thought to be a genetically engineered and scientifically trained monster straight out of Rocky IV.
Karelin's opponent in the 2000 Gold Medal match was a Wyoming dairy farmer named Rulon Gardner.
The lightly-regarded Gardner had never came close to beating Karelin in their previous matches, yet somehow did the impossible in knocking off the real life Ivan Drago 1-0 to win the gold medal.
The loss sent Karelin into retirement, and while he did win a World Championship a year later, Gardner would never remain on the top of the amateur wrestling world the way he did on one July night in Athens.
Some might say that it was only a matter of time before Mike Tyson lost his first match.
After firing his long-time trainer Kevin Rooney, resorting to a head-hunting style, and with his personal demons coming to the surface, Tyson was starting to slip and people thought he could be beaten.
Maybe by Evander Holyfield, or Riddick Bowe. Maybe even Oliver McCall or Tommy Morrison. But nobody thought that man would be James "Buster" Douglas.
Douglas was the classic underachieving athlete—a man with a world of promise who would win a big fight against Oliver McCall only to lose to a nobody like Jesse Ferguson.
With his fluctuating weight, poor eating habits, and disdain for training Douglas was a good heavyweight with a 29-4-1 record who was never the boxer he should have been.
Then there was Tyson, the unbeatable monster with a 36-0 record, perhaps the greatest heavyweight who had ever lived, and a 42-1 favorite in Vegas going into the bout.
The Tokyo match was set up for an international pay day for Tyson and a warm-up match for a much awaited Tyson/Holyfield match later in the year.
As the match started, Douglas' size began to give Tyson trouble as the champion refused to box and rather searched for one big knockout punch. In the eighth round that punch came, but Douglas managed to get up from the canvas.
With no other gameplan, Tyson's frustration began to show and in the tenth round Douglas nailed Tyson with a vicious uppercut and ironically sent mighty Mike Tyson to the canvas with one punch.
In the aftermath of the fight, Tyson's career and life would completely go off the rails. Douglas would return to his old habits, showing up slow and out of shape in a third-round knockout loss to Evander Holyfield.
The Soviet Union national ice hockey team was perhaps the most dominant sports team in the world.
The USSR had won every hockey gold medal since 1960, hadn't lost a match in international play in eight years, defeated the NHL All-Stars 6-0 in 1979, and had both the world's best player at the time (Boris Mikalov) and perhaps the greatest goaltender in hockey history.
While the Soviets were an unofficial professional team made up of high-ranking military officers who had no military duties other than playing hockey, the U.S team was made up of college kids.
Coach Herb Brooks was a hockey-mad genius who made up his team primarily from members of two hated rivals Boston University and the University of Minnesota.
While the city kids and country boys didn't get along, they were bonded by one thing—a common hatred of Herb Brooks.
Two weeks before the Olympics, the Soviets played the U.S team in a charity exhibition game at Madison Square Garden. The result? USSR 10, USA 3.
As Olympic play began the U.S put up some surprising results finishing group play 4-0-1 with an impressive 7-3 win over silver-medal favorite Czechoslovakia.
If the US was impressive, the Soviets were downright awesome. CCCP 16, Japan 0; CCCP 17, Holland 3; CCCP 8, Poland 1—and the Soviets also scored 10 goals against powerhouses Finland and Canada.
The first game of the medal round would feature the U.S against the Soviets at the height of the Cold War.
It was clear from the outset that the Soviets might not be taking the Americans seriously. They took an early lead, yet were unable to put the U.S away.
The perfect example of the USSR's lackadasical play was the last goal of the first period, when Mark Johnson scored off a rebound at the horn as the entire Soviet defense quit on the play.
Going into the third period the Soviets held a 3-2 lead, but Johnson's second goal tied the game, and a slapshot from the American's inspirational leader Mike Eruzionne gave the American's a 4-3 lead with ten minutes remaining.
In the final ten minutes, U.S goalie Jim Craig played about as well as any keeper in hockey history, time and time again turning back the Soviets and securing a U.S victory.
Two nights later the Americans would beat Finland to secure the gold medal.
"Do you believe in miracles?"