As much we sports fans know we should expect the unexpected we seldom do. When we last met on Friday, the obvious were . . well, obvious. Oregon clearly was headed to the BCS Championship Game. Kansas State was the most likely opponent. The Gators’ anemic offense would come alive against a lousy, small-college defense. And, of course, the 15-point underdog Jaguars would be embarrassed in Houston.
Not so fast, my friends, as Lee Corso says way too often.
Stanford slowed Oregon’s speed but punching the Ducks in the mouth before they could start running. The most shocking thing about the college weekend wasn’t that Stanford won, but that the Cardinal did so 17-14 in overtime. Most observers thought Stanford’s advantage in size and strength would slow down Oregon, but few expected what happened. The Ducks, favored by two touchdowns, normally have at least 14 points in the first quarter.
Baylor proved K-State’s defense isn’t national championship caliber. The Big 12 isn’t known for defense, but the Wildcats were respectable defensively and excellent at protecting the ball. Not on Saturday in losing 52-24 to Baylor. It can be assumed Collin Klein’s Heisman Trophy has been re-routed elsewhere.
The Gators proved their offense is truly anemic even in victory. Jacksonville State is a small college program with a lousy defense. Surely the Gators -- even without starting quarterback Jeff Driskel, who hasn’t exactly been terrorizing defenses – would run through and around the Gamecocks. Nope. The Gators offense scored one touchdown and won a 23-0 yawner in front of thousands of empty seats.
And, yes, Coach Mularkey, the Jaguars have a quarterback controversy after losing a 43-37shootout in OT to the mighty Texans. When Blaine Gabbert went down in the first quarter with an elbow injury, who in his right mind could have seen what was coming? Backup QB Chad Henne, who has looked terrible in previous relief appearances, hit receivers in stride and wound up with 354 yards and four TDs. Could it be that rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon’s biggest problem through the first nine games was more about Gabber’s passes than Blackmon’s failure to run good routes?
And how about those 37 points? That’s two and a half times more than the Jaguars were averaging per game.
It would seem a no-brainer to start Henne this Sunday against the visiting Tennessee Titans. If Gabbert’s ego is so fragile that being benched would cause irreparable harm, then he doesn’t have much of a future in the NFL anyway. The best scenario, of course, is to say Gabbert is too injured to play. Being less than honest about injuries wouldn’t break new ground in the NFL.
Of course most games this weekend went according to plan, but there were more than enough surprises to show us again why we love the unscripted drama sports provide us.
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