We enter the final week of our bracket: the two semifinal matchups will be posted today and tomorrow, and voting on them will run until Wednesday at midnight; the finals will run Thursday and Friday. All the plays left standing at this point are obviously iconic, and it's hard to make a wrong choice (or any choice for some of us).
Maybe the Vols win without Tee Martin to Peerless Price, maybe they don't. But the play stands as the final moment of separation for the 1998 Vols. So many teams had a chance to beat us: Syracuse, Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State. And each time, the Vols simply found a way. So up five with nine minutes to play, victory may have felt like a matter of time. But with this play - and it is a spectacular throw and catch - the Vols took this game from survival to victory, and ensured the National Champion would be clad in big orange.
While they both score points in this category, the Jay Graham run was much more of a pleasant surprise. There is no question the Vols were playing for overtime, two running calls in a row as the clock ticked near two minutes in a 13-13 tie with Alabama. Maybe the Bama defense thought so as well. And here again, maybe the Vols beat Alabama in overtime, maybe they don't. But this was the ultimate exclamation point: if tomorrow's Tennessee/Alabama play was the opening statement, this was the nail in the coffin of Bama's decade of terror. The pure joy of beating Alabama in Knoxville for the first time in a dozen years also makes this play something many more of us were able to experience in person than what happened in Tempe two years later; though I count myself very fortunate to have been present for both of these plays, euphoria is always better shared with 100,000 of your closest friends in Knoxville.
You can't go wrong, but only one can go through to the finals. Who ya got?
Peerless Price 98 Florida State
Jay Graham 96 Alabama