So the Freemasons have won. Or the Illuminati, Rosicrucians, Elders of the Priory of Sion – let’s just call them the E-lders of the S-ion P-riory freemasoNs. They and their Rodent Overlord enjoy a complete victory; they have taken over college football and forced the creation of the playoff system that they have long wanted, and will long broadcast, for lots of money. I mourn the passing of an era. Gone are the days when the leading teams from regional affiliations of colleges would compete in the top bowl games. This year they forced us to watch a Midwestern school, a Pacific coastal school, an Atlantic coastal school, and a school from the Deep South. It was so very different.
One is compelled to ask who are these teams and how did they get here. We know Florida State slithered into the system like an Everglades python thanks to a little yellow hankie thrown after Everett Golson’s pass was caught. We know Ohio State made it into the mix because Urban Meyer, wearing his earring and turban, playing his fiddle, and driving his mule and wagon, settled his caravan for a while in Columbus, where he has found his fourth and possibly final Dream Job. Alabama returned to the fore of competition after Crimson Tide fans sacrificed sufficient numbers of vermin and unfortunate livestock to that lurching cult object known as Saban. But I always thought Oregon was a trail.
Unlike in the past, when these teams would have to be conference champions, this year a secretive group of selectors, meeting is seclusion, using inscrutable criteria, began deciding the fate of the entire college football system half-way through the season. I suppose this is marginally better than the BCS which left decisions to a heartless, soulless machine; but I understand Willingham was one of the selectors, so what’s the difference. In any event, we should all instinctively bristle at the notion of a mysterious and relatively unknown group meeting behind closed doors to make weighty decisions. Unless it’s the College of Cardinals electing a Pope. But we all know very well that they can make mistakes, too.
The Elders gave us four teams in a playoff, of which we shall now watch the two victors fight for the Championship. The Elders’ winged-monkeys at ESPN have been emoting so effusively about this being the “First True National Champion” that one would hope they invested in some extra-absorbent loincloths. One must also ask if this ludicrous First-True declaration somehow invalidates the last century-or-so of so-called College National Champions. In the case of Alabama, I heartily hope some of their self-awarded crowns are removed. But for every other team never graced by this miracle of a playoff system, some allowances should be made.
For Notre Dame, certainly. Do not misinterpret me: the Fighting Irish had no place in the playoff this year – not after our original team was taken up in a temporary rapture and replaced with Notre Dame High School. (Thank goodness an astute coaching staff and an additional quarterback were returned to corporeal form in time to defeat Louisiana State in something other than a Spelling Bee.) Certainly the Irish have suffered grave injustices at the hands of championship awarders in the past. But who would ever trust sports writers to vote without bearing long-standing grudges against colleges that either beat their alma maters, or never admitted them in the first place. And who could ever say coaches voting on other teams was anything less than asking the Germans to choose which country to fight and in which order.
Ultimately, every system will be flawed. Yes, even this playoff system is flawed, though the ESPN chatterboxes adamantly refuse to admit this as they sit in their own lukewarm pools. How do I know every system will be flawed – because any system depends on humans, who since Eden, live in a fallen state, and who sin. Also, because there is a small Christian school in Texas that should very well have been included in the playoff, yet was not. “But they would have taken Ohio State’s place, and Ohio State won,” say they Elders as they sip their fine vintages and eat their delicate canapés in the luxatorium overlooking the field at Jerry Jones’ Temple to Mamon. “But we’ll never know if Texas Christian also could have beaten Alabama,” say I, as I sit contemplating this mystery in my frozen office under Our Lady’s Golden Dome, wondering simultaneously whether my tongue would become permanently affixed to said Dome if I licked it when the temperature is this far below zero.
So come Monday, I will be cheering for neither Ohio State nor Oregon, and certainly not for the Elders. I will be saying a prayer for small Christian schools everywhere that they may never again be unjustly excluded from this playoff system with which we are now yoked. And by small Christian schools, I mean that Jesuit colleges are specifically NOT included.
Son, in 199 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard, incontrovertible facts: There is a God, and I'm pretty tight with Him.
Now I’m going to tell you a whole lot of things I’ve kept to myself for years. None of you ever knew me. I was along before your time, but you all know what a tradition I am at Notre Dame. And one of the most important things I ever said was, “Friends, sometime when my University is up against it and the breaks are beating the students, tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win at everything for Padre. I don’t know exactly where I’ll be then, friends,” I said, “but I’ll be looking right over your shoulder.”