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ESPN’s ‘Dewey Beats Truman’ Moment

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Don’t count your Ducks before they hatch.

ESPN had the narrative all ready to go. The Heisman Trophy-winner versus the third man on the depth chart just proved too much of a mismatch. Unfortunately for the Worldwide Leader in Sports, the six-point underdogs refused to cooperate. As our second president acknowledged, “Facts are stubborn things.”

“Cardale Jones was spectacular in leading Ohio State to wins in the Big Ten Championship Game and Sugar Bowl; however, his inexperience proved too much to overcome on the biggest stage,” read an article posted to ESPN.com without a headline last night. But the Buckeyes beat the Ducks 42-20. As Deadspin’s Kevin Draper wrote in exposing the Dewey-beats-Truman story, “Whoops! Somebody better hit the ‘unpublish’ button!”

The pre-written story informed, “Jones is one of only four players with fewer than a dozen starts entering a national championship game. None emerged with a title.” The graphic showed the “losing” quarterback’s visage alongside the names of inexperienced quarterbacks–Michael Vick, Everett Golson, Marcus Outzen–who lost national championship games.

But Jones played better than Marcus Outzen–and surely better than anticipated, throwing for 242 yards on a 16 for 23 night with a pick and a touchdown. Ohio State really didn’t need him to put up Marcus Mariota, or even J.T. Barrett, numbers. With Ezekial Elliot powering for 246 yards against Oregon, Jones just needed to manage.

That’s what ESPN should have done. Instead, they played Nostradamus when they should have played Thucydides.


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