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ESPN confuses clutchness with popularity

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Is Jared Zabransky clutch?



We asked ourselves this question over and over again this weekend, and each time we came to the same conclusion.



No. Jared Zabransky is not clutch.



He is confident, brash, and cocky, but those components have little to do with being clutch and more to do with tattooing your initial on your bicep. Being clutch means showing up in big games every time and not folding under the pressure of the moment. Zabransky may have done this once or twice during his career, but did he do it enough to warrant consideration as "clutch"? We don't think so.



ESPN.com's Graham Watson disagrees. She recently listed the most clutch non-BCS players throughout history, and good old "Z" made her list.

Jared Zabransky, QB, Boise State -- Led the Broncos to a perfect 13-0 season in 2006, including throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns in an overtime win against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
We find it so interesting that Zabransky is remembered as a hero of this game. The national media seems to pick and choose the best parts of this classic game and focus solely on those aspects. "The Fiesta Bowl was great. Ian Johnson asked that hot cheerleader to marry him!" Meanwhile, there was terrific drama, intrigue, emotion, and suspense that gets lost in the shuffle.



Allow us to let the facts get in the way of this discussion:

  • Jared Zabransky threw a horrendous interception that was returned for a touchdown that could have very easily lost the game.

  • Zabransky took an awful sack while the Broncos were driving for the tying score.

  • The hook and ladder was a clutch team play, not a clutch Zabransky moment (deep in routes are not clutch).

  • Zabransky did not throw the tying score in overtime. A wide receiver did.




And those moments just describe his Fiesta Bowl. If we are taking this "clutch" debate further, we would also point out the 2005 Humanitarian Bowl and the Georgia game. Oh, the Georgia game! Zabransky proved over his Boise State years that he was a capable, play-making quarterback who could run hot and cold at times. And so long as we are celebrating that Zabransky, then we are all for it.



Besides, if we're going to be sainting Boise State athletes, we would prefer to start with Marty Tadman.



Clutch non-BCS players through history [ESPN.com]