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MIKE LEACH, ARMY OF DARKNESS, AND HOW TO SET UP A POKEMON TOURNAMENT

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fishing-for-megalodon

The other thing we wanted to say here is how reminiscent Mike Leach's idea for a college football playoff is of something out of a video game, a multi-tiered Super Smash Brothers game, a kind of mathematical palace of trial and error done with a kind of enlightenment-era procedural logic producing a cold, logical, and perhaps ultimately unsatisfying result: a champion determined by bracket.

When we think about what we don't like about a playoff, it's probably this freezing logic. It's the only rational way to determine a champion, but it kills the romanticism of a single game's stunning verdict. Nebraska '95, the Megalodon of college football teams pre-2000, would have obliterated anyone in a bracket, but the mythmaking's far more precious and undiluted when all you remember is one colossal crushing noise, a few muffled screams, and then the blood...my god, the blood. The mythos dies a little when you multiply it, and it's taken us years to figure out exactly that point, but that's it: one game is simpler to digest semantically than five, and is more epically compelling.

Not fair, no: but for the simpleton heart, the single game playoff means more, which is probably precisely why it's doomed. The bowl system stripped of its financial sundries right now is a purely romantic structure, a jury prize for the most part. The Darwinian playoff is no such thing at all.