David Grimes: All about streaks in sports

Streaks are magical things in sports.

The most famous of all has to be Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak in 1941. Another of the most famous streaks is Cal Ripkin’s 2,632 consecutive games played. Neither mark will likely ever be broken. Of course, no one ever thought Lou Gehrig’s mark of 2,130 consecutive games would ever be topped.

Brett Favre started in a record 297 consecutive games, which is even more remarkable given the pounding that NFL quarterbacks take.

Other record streaks include the 1971-72 Lakers, led by Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlin, winning 33 consecutive games. Over a span of two seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers once lost 28 in a row.

Byron Nelson won 11 consecutive PGA tournaments in 1945. Richard Petty won 10 straight NASCAR races in 1967. Martina Navratilova won 74 straight singles matches in 1984. Edwin Moses won 122 consecutive races in the 400m hurdles, never losing for over nine years.

Some of the longest winning streaks in college history come from some of the most storied programs and coaches.

In college football, Oklahoma won 47 in a row from 1953-1957. Coach Bud Wilkinson’s Sooners were so good, they only lost eight games total from 1948-1958. They also won 31 consecutive from 1948-1950. They won three national championships during that era.

In men’s college basketball, UCLA won 88 consecutive games from 1971-1974. Coach John Wooden’s teams set the standard for winning, as they amassed 10 national championships in 12 years, including a record seven in a row. In those 12 years, they lost a total of just 22 games.

Both of those winning streaks were snapped by the same school: Notre Dame. Both were close games. The Fighting Irish beat the Sooners 7-0 and beat the Bruins 71-70.

Even more ironic, the last loss UCLA had before starting the 88-game win streak was also to Notre Dame.

Currently, the UConn Huskies have a winning streak in women’s college basketball that is now well over 100 games. That is simply amazing. They have not lost since 2014. Coach Geno Auriemma’s teams have won 30 or more games in 22 of the past 24 seasons. His Huskies have captured 11 national championships, including the last four.

They are clear favorites to make it five in row. But just who might possibly knock them off?

Well, Notre Dame also has over 30 wins this season and has been consistently ranked in the top five. The Irish have lost in the national championship game four of the past six years, including twice to UConn. Could this be the year for another Irish streak stopper?

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