2016 Top Ten Moments in Ohio Sports

The turn of the calendar to 2017 freshens the horizon on expectations for a banner year in Ohio sports, which is what we're always talking first and foremost on 105.7 The Zone.

Will the Blue Jackets carry their hot start into the post-season and win, not just the franchise's first playoff series, but Lord Stanley's Cup?

Will the Indians parlay the signing of Edwin Encarnacion into a return to the World Series, this time finishing the job they fell one run shy of achieving?

Will the Buckeyes solve their passing game issues and gain a second straight berth into the College Football Playoff?

But before we become immersed in what lies ahead, let's take one final look back at the Top Ten moments in Ohio sports in 2016.

#10 -- OSU's Kyle Snyder becomes the youngest wrestler in U.S. history to win a gold medal in Olympic wrestling, taking the 97 kg title on the final day of the Rio Games.

#9 -- The Cleveland Browns, with the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, bypass potential franchise quarterback Carson Wentz and OSU's Ezekiel Elliott and Joey Bosa to trade down twice to No. 15 and take Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman.

#8 -- Bosa goes No. 3 to the San Diego Chargers, Elliott No. 4 to Dallas and another OSU early-entry junior, Eli Apple, goes No. 10 to the New York Giants. The Buckeyes set a record with 10 selections in the first three rounds of the Draft, including five in both the first and second round, breaking the old mark of 10 picks in the first three rounds set by Tennessee in 2000.

#7 -- In a very un-Indian-like move, the Cleveland Indians trade two of their top three prospects to the New York Yankees to acquire star relief pitcher Andrew Miller. The Tribe swapped outfielder Clint Frazier and pitcher Justus Sheffield to acquire, Miller, who adds a dominant left-hander to the bullpen for a run at the World Series.

#6 -- The Columbus Blue Jackets stun the National Hockey League by winning 15 consecutive games to challenge the league's all-time winning streak of 17. The Jackets, who finished last in the Metropolitan Division in 2015-16, soared into first place as the calendar turned to 2017 with their streak intact.

#5 -- Sitting atop the Eastern Conference with a 30-11 record, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin fires head coach David Blatt and installs assistant coach Tyronn Lue in that position. Griffin cites a "lack of spirit and connectedness (in the locker room) that I just could not accept."

#4 -- Seeking their first playoff win in 25 years, the Cincinnati Bengals take a 16-15 lead with 1:50 left on a touchdown pass to A.J. Green. Fourteen seconds later, linebacker Vontaze Burfict intercepts Landry Jones and the victory seems secure. Instead, Jeremy Hill fumbles the ball back to Pittsburgh, which rides an injured Ben Roethlisberger into field goal range, thanks to penalties on Adam Jones and Burfict, for Chris Boswell's 35-yard, game-winning field goal with 14 seconds left.

#3 -- Back in the College Football Playoff for the second time in three years, Ohio State suffers its biggest post-season loss ever in a 31-0 beating by Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. The shutout is OSU's first since 1993 and the first in Urban Meyer's 194 games as a head coach.

#2 -- The Cleveland Indians advance to the World Series on the strength of a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox and a 4-1 dismissal of the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Playoffs. The Indians sieze a 3-1 lead against the Chicago Cubs, only to have Chicago win Game 5 at Wrigley Field and Game 6 in Cleveland. The Cubs take control in Game 7 against Tribe starter Cory Kluber, pitching on three days rest for the second time in the Series, but Rajai Davis' two-run home run in the eighth inning forces a 6-6 tie and extra innings. After a brief rain delay, the Cubs score two in the 10th and withstand an Indians rally in the bottom of the inning in an 8-7 final that gives breaks the Curse of the Billy Goat and extends a Cleveland World Series drought that dates to 1948.

#1 -- Down 3-1 to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers stave off elimination with a 112-97 win in Game 5 at Oakland thanks to 41 points apiece from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. In Game 6 at Cleveland, James scores 41 again and the Cavs force Game 7 with a 115-101 win, setting up a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday, June 19. James was spectacular again, scoring 27 points to go with 11 rebounds and 11 assists, but his biggest play was a chase-down block of Andre Iguodala's layup in the final minute. Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, including the game-winning three-pointer over Steph Curry, as the Cavs became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals and thus end Cleveland's 52-year professional sports championship drought.

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