We abhor end of the year lists mostly because they come straight from the stat sheet and the standings, not from the complex, muddled story of what actually occurred in the season. They also excise a good amount of the context to a moment, as well. Was any player in any single game as dominant in a moment as Brian Orakpo was against Oklahoma? Even with the stat line--two sacks, four tackles for a loss and a forced fumble--you cheat what he did to Oklahoma in terms of changing protections and flustering Sam Bradford into making--gasp!--two or three mistakes in a game.
Or, to concatenate that bit of praise and turn this into Connections with James Burke for football: did any single performance which led to a singular defeat that then led to the even bigger upset of undefeated Texas? Without Orakpo disintegrating the Oklahoma line and Colt McCoy being devilishly accurate, there is no undefeated Texas rolling into this game, where Michael Crabtree spontaneously generated the one moment this year that had us springing to our feet.
Musberger's bellowing call--so enthused he fucks up the pronunciation a bit, blurting out something that sounds like "CROBB-TRAAAAAAYYY"--is all you need. We don't even hear Herbstreit after that; the delirium of the moment still lingers and obliterates all commentary. There is a moment in each season you remember with a clarity bordering on the surreal , as if a South American writer had gotten a hold of the script and written floating women and feathered angels speaking odd tongues into the background. There's more than a little Marquez in Crabtree's catch, and not just in its mythical content; the tragic side kept Texas from the national title game, and put Bob Stoops' toes in the surf of Biscayne Bay.