Somewhere in the desert, by the buzzing glow of too many neon lights, faceless men sit in each other’s company. Some scribble on notepads no bigger than a child’s dream. Others type nonstop on platinum-covered laptops. All of them say the same thing. The old men say LSU is one touchdown better than Alabama.
These men do not suffer doubters; they profit from them. The greatest football mind of any generation was not some iron-jawed stoic prowling a sideline, but rather one of these tattered mediums crunching numbers in his head, sitting patiently in a hotel room, waiting for his pager to start cooking. The old men have earned their reputation as much as they earn the money they part from the fools who think that for this day, this one game, the old men have it wrong.
That siren the underdog has pulled even the most logical minds crashing into the rocks. Those who succumb to it call hear its song with their hearts, not their brains. But then it is only natural. Men have an established history of letting the wrong body part handle the thinking when important decisions need to be made.
I’m reminding myself of these terrors and others waiting for the Bird Dawg to answer his pager. I know the right thing to do. Linemen with broken legs, tight ends with broken hands, quarterbacks with broken shoulders – all these things should make for a simple prediction. How can any team that has suffered so much hope to compete with the #3 team in the nation – much less beat them!
Then, just as the phone rings, I hear a small voice somewhere deep in my chest say, “But wouldn’t you like to see it if they do?”
Bird Dawg takes my bet and I take my scolding.