You’ve Won This Round, Computer

The optimism that came with the establishment of a new year didn’t even last for the first 24 hours of 2008. As it turns out, sometimes the objectivity of a computer is, in fact, superior to the subjectivity of humanity. When we last updated the Christ Dude, Don’t You Have Any Real Friends? Championship Series, man and machine found themselves neck-and-neck. It was established that with only four conflicting picks remaining, a share of a “championship” — at minimum — could be clinched if things worked out perfectly for one of the two parties.

Outback Bowl – #16 Tennessee vs. #18 Wisconsin

  • Merrill Park Superstar (12-9): Tennessee
  • NCAA Football ‘08 (12-9): Tennessee 45, Wisconsin 0

Cotton Bowl – #7 Missouri vs. #25 Arkansas

  • Merrill Park Superstar: Arkansas
  • NCAA Football ‘08: Arkansas 38, Missouri 21

Gator Bowl – Texas Tech vs. #21 Virginia

  • Merrill Park Superstar: Virginia
  • NCAA Football ‘08: Texas Tech 36, Virginia 26

Capital One Bowl – Michigan vs. #9 Florida

  • Merrill Park Superstar: Florida
  • NCAA Football ‘08: Florida 27, Michigan 20

Rose Bowl – #13 Illinois vs. #6 USC

  • Merrill Park Superstar: USC
  • NCAA Football ‘08: USC 39, Illinois 25

Sugar Bowl – #10 Hawai’i vs. #4 Georgia

  • Merrill Park Superstar: Hawai’i
  • NCAA Football ‘08: Georgia 69, Hawai’i 28

The video game predicts huge efforts from Tennesee quarterback Erik Ainge (13-for-28, 344 yards, three TDs), Arkansas running back Darren McFadden (31 carries for 226 yards and two touchdowns), Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (19-for-33, 326 yards, 3 total TD), Southern Cal receiver Vidal Hazelton (5 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown) and the Georgia defense (12 interceptions — that’s right, 12).

It also looks for disappointing efforts out of Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel (14-for-40 for 106 yards, four interceptions), Michigan running back Mike Hart (16 carries for 44 yards), Illinois quarterback Juice Williams (10-for-25, 112 yards, one touchdown) and what would be one of the worst statistical lines in NCAA history — particularly in a bowl game — from Hawai’i Warriors quarterback Colt Brennan (11-for-32 for 151 yards, zero touchdowns and seven interceptions before being relieved by Tyler Graunke at halftime.)

I’m not going to make any specific predictions, but I will go out on a limb and predict that Brennan will throw more touchdown passes to his teammates than he does to the Bulldogs defense — a prediction the game seems to disagree with.

Where do I even begin? Well, how about this? I’m a dipshit. Not only did I go 2-4 compared to the video game’s 4-2 mark, but I mouthed off in a smarmy fashion (imagine that) regarding NCAA Football ’08’s projection that Colt Brennan would fail to throw a touchdown pass to his own team, but would facilitate several for the defense. Well, he at least spared me the embarrassment of throwing a pick-six, but he did lose a fumble in the end zone which led to a Georgia score. Also, he failed to throw a touchdown pass.

The game’s individual projections were more hit than miss in today’s games, too. Anyway, the bottom line is that the best Merrill Park Superstar can now achieve is a tie with the computer. And since the gauntlet that was laid down was that I must defeat the computer to justify my continued existence as a modestly-read and poorly-respected college football analyst, I regretfully concede defeat in the 2008 Christ Dude, Don’t You Have Any Real Friends? Championship Series.

Since this “contest” is now moot, I see no harm in providing the remaining slate of picks. I will hold off on details of the computerized version BCS Championship Game for now, since I actually recorded the happenings of the virtual game in some detail and feel that that may command its own column prior to the big title game. However, here’s the bare bones remainder of the contest:

CURRENT RECORDS: 
NCAA Football ’08: 16-11
Merrill Park Superstar: 14-13

Fiesta Bowl – #11 West Virginia vs. #3 Oklahoma

  • Merrill Park Superstar:  Oklahoma
  • NCAA Football ’08: West Virginia 30, Oklahoma 17
    • two teams combined for 270 yards of total offense

Orange Bowl – #8 Kansas vs. #5 Virginia Tech

  • Merrill Park Superstar:  Virginia Tech
  • NCAA Football ’08: Virginia Tech 44, Kansas 9
    • Sean Glennon, QB (VT): 9/18, 245 yards, 3 TD
    • Branden Ore, RB (VT): 24 carries, 118 yards, TD, 86 yard TD reception
    • Justin Harper, WR (VT): 2 receptions, 104 yards, 2 TD

International Bowl – Rutgers vs. Ball State

  • Merrill Park Superstar: Rutgers
  • NCAA Football ’08: Ball State 33, Rutgers 21
    • Spain Cosby, LB (BALL): 5 tackles, 3 INT, TD
    • Ray Rice, RB (RU): 15 carries, 23 yards, 4 receptions, 95 yards, TD

GMAC Bowl – Tulsa vs. Bowling Green

  • Merrill Park Superstar: Bowling Green
  • NCAA Football ’08: Bowling Green 24, Tulsa 13
    • Total Offense: BGSU 167, Tulsa 90

BCS Championship Game – #2 LSU vs. #1 Ohio State

  • Merrill Park Superstar: LSU
  • NCAA Football ’08: LSU 38, Ohio State 7
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