It’s a weird feeling isn’t it? We’re sitting here a few weeks away from the start of a new season, heck, a new era of Buckeye football. Expectations are sky-high—perhaps too high—but that is to be expected. Urban F.N. Meyer is in the building and his track record speaks for itself. The sense of anticipation is unlike anything that I have experienced as a fan. However, as unprecedented as the excitement might be, it’s not exactly what I’m talking about when I mention a weird feeling. This year is the first in a very long time where the Buckeyes enter the season with absolutely no chance of winning a conference championship, let alone a national championship. Zip, Zilch, Nada. From a championship perspective, the season was over months ago. Sure, there is plenty to play for: pride, bragging rights, spoiling other teams’ seasons, reasserting conference supremacy, but as far as the national championship goes, Buckeye fans don’t have a dog in the race.
As a Buckeye fan, it’s a strange feeling. On the other hand, I’m also a Bengals fan. And Bengals fans know all too well that feeling of being out of the championship race before it even begins. Most of my childhood was spent trying to convince myself that the perennial losers were bound to turn around. Eventually, though, the losing wore me down. I couldn’t take it anymore and something had to be done. Of course, I couldn’t just abandon the Bengals, that’s not what fans do. Instead, I came up with another plan. Each season I adopted a second (contending) team to hitch my wagon to. Every year it was a different team and I always had good reasons for picking who I picked. Of course, if my adopted team played the Bengals or its interests in any way conflicted with the Bengals’, I would side with Cincinnati. Other than that, I was all in on that particular team.
This year I plan on doing the same thing for the BCS race. But I’m going to be using a slightly different method to pick my team.
I know there are some of you who would scoff at cheering for any team that doesn’t wear scarlet and grey, but I’m confident enough in my fanhood to do it. I’m not going to just arbitrarily pick a team, though. That would be boring. Instead I’m going to hold a 16-team tournament to select the lucky school. Today I’m going to announce the teams that made the field and from here on out, each Wednesday, I will hold another round of the tournament. I’m not going to predetermine the winner. I pledge to you that I will sit down and weigh each match up individually. Fake tournament integrity is of the utmost importance to me.
To qualify for the tournament, a team must meet the following criteria:
- Be ranked (or have received votes) in the preseason USA Today coaches poll. I know the poll is garbage, but it works as a starting point.
- It must not be named Wisconsin, Notre Dame, or Michigan. Sorry, it’s my poll and you guys don’t get to play.
I have assigned each team a seed of 1-4 based on how likely I think that I am to choose them. Criteria to determine the winner of each match up will include: how likely they are to win the title, how easy/hard it will be for me to root for them, and how I happen to be feeling that day.
So, without further ado I present to you the field for the first and last annual Best of What’s Left Tournament:
1. USC (Our partner in sanctions)
2. Arkansas (John L. Smith, amiright?)
3. Virginia Tech (Because Beamer ball is the new Tressel Ball)
4. Clemson (They may lose along the way, but when they do, it will be spectacular)
1. South Carolina (We all worship at the altar of Steve Spurrier)
2. Oregon (I feel like Buckeye fans should hate them, but I can’t come up with a good reason why)
3. Florida State (If we’re going to have ol’ Free Shoes University in the bracket, they have to be in Spurrier’s division)
4. Stanford (Because…NERRRRDS)
1. West Virginia (Because you never know when Holgo is going to mess around and drop 70 on someone.)
2. Texas (Basically the same school as Ohio State only located in a state that executes the mentally handicapped.)
3. Georgia (Obviously, March Richt has lost control of this tournament).
4. Alabama (Man, I really don’t want to end up rooting for these guys)
1. Louisiana State (I know, I’ve inlcuded a lot of SEC teams. You try making a bracket without them.)
2. Oklahoma (Not the highest-ranked B12 team in the bracket, but likely the best)
3. Michigan State (The lone B1G team in the field. Someone has to win the conference, and I’d like it to be Sparty.)
4. Texas Christian (See what happens when you join a big kid conference? Take note Boise State)
Have a favorite? Let me know. I value the Empire’s opinion and it could quite possibly sway me.
Stay tuned Wednesday for first-round results.