"Hey Bob, how we doing man?"
"It's been a while man. Life's so rad. Making my bracket is the greatest; don't you love it?"
"Hey Bob, you want a beer?"
"Oh Bob, this is the best, man. I'm so glad it's March and the tourney is about to start."
Every March the entire nation gets the stomach-screaming hunger to make their NCAA brackets. It's human nature to pit people or teams against each other to truly see who is the best while we all sit back and enjoy the festivity in revelry.
The NCAA Tournament is the greatest sporting event known to man, even better than the NFL Divisional round of the playoffs, Opening Day, or that night of the NHL playoffs that has three OT games. It combines two of America's current activities: gluttony and feeling special. Most of America loves to slog through episode after episode of a television series to gain access into the groupthink that is pop culture until our skin grows into the couch's upholstery. On top of that we get to feel special and take part in the event with a bracket of our own. This year I even got my lady friend to make one by saying,"It will be a lot of fun if you make one as well. We can watch the games together!" Just so I can watch the games without listening to the complaints and whines about basketball residing in the television screen. She quickly joined the hoopla by hollering at the television screen when her champion, New Mexico, lost to Harvard in the first round. This happens every year. The underdog grabs the string to your bracket's sweater, pulls the thread, and runs away, until you're left naked yelling on the floor.
This method of determining a champion is the form that teems with the most excitement, so why don't other leagues adopt it? The FCS runs it, but nobody cares because it's smaller schools against smaller schools. College hockey uses it, but nobody other than me, a couple of hundred people in the South, and a bunch of Yankees watch hockey in this country. The NFL is set up perfectly to run this system. There is already a perfectly round 32 teams to be used in the tournament. In the NFL, a team plays twenty games to win a Super Bowl (without getting a bye). By using the Madness style bracket, a team only has to play one more game (5 total) to rub their smutty fingerprints all over Lombardi. To account for this extra game, the league would simply add one more bye at the end of the regular season to give the extra rest needed to take on the challenge.
If the corporate giant NFL used this system, a black hole would rip in the dark void and swallow the galaxy like an anaconda. Imagine a world with a Saturday of 8 games on at once, with the same thing on Sunday. All with actual importance. This idea is what I have been pondering the past few weeks, and have now taken on the task to do it myself.
There will be four host cities for a South, North, West and East region. Each host city can't have a NFL team reside within its borders because we will try to keep home field advantage out of it as much as possible. Also, the games will have to be played in a stadium with a capacity of at least 65,000 humans.
San Antonio will host the South since tourists love the Riverwalk for some weird reason. There's not much traffic and plenty of vacant hotels to choose from. Every NCAA regional and championship played in SA has had zero problems, and the Alamodome is lonely and needs something inside it.
The West will be played at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, which will be a temporary location until the inevitable LA pro team materializes.
Columbus, a sneaky great town, will host the North region at Ohio Stadium. [Editor's note: There is nothing sneaky great about Columbus that couldn't be improved with a small thermonuclear device. --MDC]
The East region is a bit of a predicament since there are zero big Eastern cities without a NFL team and with a suitable stadium for this endeavor. The only way to not break the sanctity of neutrality is to make a bracket that ensures Philly/NYG/NYJ/NE to not play in this region. However, doing so would screw up the algorithm used to make the seedings. So the East region will have to play their games at Beaver Stadium in University Park until a new dome stadium is constructed out east.
The Final Four will be located in the center of America, Nebraska, and will play at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Remember, the key is to neutralize home field advantage as nonaligned as possible. The stadiums will have to do until the money pours in and indoor stadiums can be built.
The actual bracket will be broken down into 8 teams per region. The one seeds will be broken down from best to worst, and the best one seed will have the worst eight seed, two seed, three seed and four seed in their region. The second seed will share the same region as the third-best eight, two, three and four seeds, etc. Then the five, six and seven seeds will be matched up the same way. The one and two seeds will be division winners and the rest of the field will be ranked by regular season record, even though I prefer to use DVOA, point differential, and strength of schedule when measuring a teams resume. The overall one seed is the Atlanta Falcons, number two is the Patriots, number three the Broncos and the fourth number-one seed is the 49ers. Records will be used as the central criteria for seeding until a RPI-esque metric is created and a John Madden-led selection committee takes over the reigns. The rosters being used will be those final at the end of last year's regular season. That includes injuries, so the Cardinals won't have Kevin Kolb walking through that door, and Sean Payton will still be watching the games on his couch with a stained shirt bedazzled with Fruity Pebbles.
When making picks, please don't spam and don't pick against Detroit simply because you hate Hardcore Pawn as much as the rest of America. Without further ado, here is the bracket.
SOUTH REGION-SAN ANTONIO
1. Atlanta Falcons
WEST- Los Angeles
*Opposite side of bracket
East- University Park
1. San Fransisco 49ers
Below are links to pick the winners for the first round of madness.