Well, they did it. Those college presidents, taking more arrows over the years than the target in Brave, finally cried, “Uncle!”, and a college football playoff is almost here. To think someone once said, “The Washington Senators, uh, Nationals, will be a baseball division leader before we have a playoff.” He was right, but let’s not quibble over past BcS.
To the smaller schools, where the players are so smart they can handle a postseason that runs to Valentine’s Day, or to the Final 64-plus in basketball, the tourney must look like the size of a game of bridge, but to the rich-will-get-richer Empire State Buildings of the amateur (ha, ha) gridiron, “There’s no stopping us now, baby! Today, we say Four, but who knows? Our grandsons may one day scream, Eight, and then, and then, 16!” Wow, you’d think one of the college guys had delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech.
There were years of exhaustive study, countless nights on the couch with wadded paper strewn on the Persian rug, the paper containing more scratches, circles, info-commercial phone numbers, expletives, italics, underlines, and question marks than those handed to Eisenhower a week before D-Day.
There were clandestine visits to Duke and North Carolina and Kentucky to understand how the complex system of a tournament is put together—dare we ask, “What is bracketology?”
Imagine, after all that, one genius leaped out of bed on a “Dark and Stormy Night,” and shrilled, “I see it now! Four divided by two is two!!”
“Yes, yes! But then what?”
“Don’t you see?” It was like Ralph Kramden talking to Alice. “Then one vs. one equals a champion!”
“My goodness—Eliza Doolittle would be so proud—I think he’s got it!”
The puzzle was not done. Columbo scratched his head and said, “I have just one more question—Where do we play the games?” Satellite maps of the U.S. were chosen for use on a 2-1 Supreme Court vote. Six abstentions resulted because of so much controversy for the Justices recently. “Where’s Health Care when we need it?” asked one. The maps were handed out to committee members. “Gosh, Sunrise Beach looks tiny,” declared one man.
12 ballots followed and the Meineke Car Care, Music City, TaxSlayer.com, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, and Chick-fil-A bowls were among those eliminated as Final Four sites. “We’re all ruined now,” groused a Chick representative. “We’ll have to settle for Notre Dame and all that Rockne-this and Rockne-that.”
Rose officials had the answer: The big bowls will share the semifinals year-by-year, and in a voice of bluster, “Listen, you young guys in multi-colored, insignia-laden golf shirts, because you’ve never owned a tie, we’re sick of being called, ‘the Granddaddy of them all!’ ”
Finally, a stadium seating no fewer than 175,000 will get the first title game in 2014.
Churchill Downs and Belmont Park were rejected because they wanted to use their pari-mutuel betting windows. When it was learned they had already posted the odds of a 2-0 final score (early line: 500-1), they were dismissed after a lecture on the sins of point spreads and the real meaning of the term, student-jockey.
“Let’s enjoy the next two years, boys, and let’s take another vote or two to see who goes to see Western Illinois, Morgan State, Cal-Poly, and Maine in the Division 1-AA playoffs to get a feel for this. I hear Maine in mid-December….Boys, come back here!”