My fellow Americans:
In 1958 William P. Rogers added college football handicapping to the Attorney General’s responsibilities in an effort to pay off Mamie Eisenhower’s spiraling baccarat debts. But even with the vast resources of the federal government at its disposal, the Justice Department has been only about as accurate predicting N.C.A.A. Champions as ESPN analyst Lee Corso. Adding insult to injury, Corso has been considerably better than us at fighting organized crime.
That’s all about to change.
With the passage of the 2001 PATRIOT Act and the recent debut of the TIPS network of citizen informants, my odds-making staff at the Justice Department has more tools to work with than ever before and you, the pathetic, compulsive sports bettor, will see improved results in this season’s picks.
(Just a few notes about terminology: When I use the word ‘ineligible,’ I’m not referring to an enemy combatant’s right to counsel, and when I say ‘Home Dog,’ that’s not my pet name for Paul Wolfowitz.)
So let’s get started!
5. Boston College
Let the Eagles sooooaaaaar
Like they’ve never sooooooaaaaaared befoooore!
It’s been a bad year for papists in general and for Boston papists specifically, but if my intelligence is correct, things will take a heavenly turn for Beantown Catholics this fall. Did you know that BC is 11-1 against Army since 1987, and 8-4 versus the Cadets against the spread? Not too shabby. Sadly, I just found out that the Eagles don’t play Army this year so the 300,000 taxpayer dollars we spent researching that statistic are pretty much wasted. But TIPSter and postal carrier Jackie K. reports that Left Tackle Alvin Banks has been receiving a monthly package from an individual in Mexico City named Andre Cretiano. Meanwhile, puzzle expert and TIPSter Will S. of New York City points out that ‘Andre Cretiano’ is an anagram of Androcreatine, the substance that turned Mark McGwire from the Bash Brother who didn’t have sex with Madonna to the Major League single-season home run champ. It could give them the edge they need to top Miami in the Big East, and I happen to know from a certain Senate page whose parents don’t know he’s gay that Ted Kennedy’s already hit up the Insight.com Bowl for free ducats.
The folks who run the AFIS Fingerprint Database have developed a very accurate predictor of Cornhusker football over the years: The more Nebraska players arrested in the off-season, the higher Nebraska will be ranked in the final polls. Last summer six Cornhuskers were indicted on various charges of assault, domestic battery, and disturbing the peace, and the team responded with an 11-1 record and a shot at the national title. This season Nebraska fans combing the Lincoln police blotter have found little cause for optimism. Until now, that is. We sent an alert to nearly 17,000 local snoops and busybodies and asked them to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity involving young men who look like they could be Nebraska football players (‘any black men within 300 miles of campus’ is how we worded it, actually). Just as I’d hoped, these fans and patriots responded with over 400 new leads! Law enforcement officers are aggressively pursuing these cases right now and I’m hopeful that we can have at least five starters in custody by the time Nebraska kicks off against Penn State on September 14.
The Evans family matriarch from the classic sitcom Good Times and the site of the decisive battle that put President George W. Bush in the White House. This fall I predict the Sunshine State will see plenty of ‘good times’ and a whole lot more ‘W’s,’ courtesy of the Florida Gators. Not only that, but with long-time coach Steve Spurrier having been replaced by Ron Zook (who promises to put increased emphasis on the running game), Gainesville might start looking a lot like ‘Gains-ville.’ The Gators have fewer than half their starters back, but 52 players with big game experience return, and I predict all those ‘Lettermen’ will translate into plenty of ‘Late Nights’ for the opposition. The Gators outscored opponents by an average of 30 points last year, and I expect them to post similar numbers this season, but if I were hypoglycemic I’d put my money elsewhere, because this sweet bunch is headed for the Sugar. These boys might have been ‘spurned by Spurrier,’ but ‘Zook is on the hook’ with a team more loaded than Madeline Albright after three funnels of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and when the Gators play Georgia at the World’s Largest Cocktail Party in November, Florida fans will be ‘giving thanks’ for yet another season of double-digit victories. Here at the DOJ we’re AOK with the—oh, screw it. They’re going 10-2.
2. Ohio State
Historically one of the most important predictors of a team’s success is the off-season regimen of its key players. My fellow prognosticators employ a variety of resources to obtain that information, including interviews, on-campus spies, and paid informants. Personally, I prefer to have Bob Mueller subpoena players’ credit-card statements. Of course, acquiring the intelligence is only half the battle. You have to be able to analyze the data, as well. For instance, I know that Jorge Johannsen, running back for OSU’s Big Ten rival Michigan, spent over $1,000 this summer at jewelry stores and expensive restaurants, while Ohio State fullback Tony Combs spent nearly an equal sum on amateur, Costa Rican pornography. We all know that steady girlfriends weaken knees so: Advantage Buckeyes!
Regular subscribers know that last year I picked Texas to win the national title too. The Longhorns blew an early game to the Sooners in Dallas, but they still could have made it to the Rose Bowl if they had defeated Colorado in the Big 12 Championship game. Alas, it wasn’t to be. However, I’m confident things will be different for the Burnt Orange and White this year. They have eight starters returning on offense (including a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback) and ace recruiter Mack Brown has once again assembled one of the most athletic squads in the nation. Also, this morning I declared Oklahoma wide receiver Lacy Boudreau and Colorado linebacker Domenic Fatsis ‘persons of interest’ in the federal anthrax investigation. Between you and me, we’ll probably never actually charge them with anything, but the stress of the inquiry and the permanent tarnishing of their reputations should be enough to keep these arch-rivals out of the picture all season.
So, with the Longhorns inevitably Orange Bowl bound, I feel another song coming on. Call your bookie, lay a big wad down on those Tea-sippers from Austin, and raise your voice along with mine:
The Eyes of Justice are upon you,
All the live-long day.
The Eyes of Justice are upon you,
You cannot get away.
Do not think you can escape them,
At night or early in the morn.’
The Eyes of Justice are upon you
Gen’ral John says, ‘Hook ‘Em Horns!’