Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don't Believe the Hype


Aug 22, 2009 -

At the CDC in Atlanta, doctors and scientists are quickly becoming alarmed at another outbreak of BIDS among college football fans, bloggers, and the media. BIDS, “Book-It, Done Syndrome”, is a virus that mainly affects the central nervous system, numbing it so that the host becomes increasingly more certain of future events.

“What is interesting and dangerous about this virus,” says Dr. Mo Derashun, a specialist in gridiron-related diseases, “is that it is able to override other facts and information. For instance, everybody knows that only one man has ever won two Heismans, and that the odds against it are astronomical - but BIDS made some people think Tim Tebow was a lock for a second one last year. It’s tragic to see, really.”

This season, the cases of BIDS seems to have grown exponentially. Despite overwhelming evidence that people are absolutely terrible at predicting what chaos the BCS will heap upon college football each year, the certainty has already started – and we’re still two weeks away from the first games. Just look at the writers who have already succumbed:

“Mark it down: On Jan. 7, 2010, the Florida Gators and Texas Longhorns will meet on a football field for the first time in nearly 70 years.” – Stewart Mandel

“Should the SEC East even bother playing games this season?” – Mark Schlabach

“The Trojans have won or shared seven consecutive Pac-10 titles since then {2002}. Yet some have the audacity to suggest that streak could be in jeopardy this season.” – Olin Buchanan

And the list goes on and on. Interestingly, it was hype surrounding USC that started the current BIDS epidemic and put the disease on the map.

BIDS was first discovered just four years ago during the 2005 season when USC was in the midst of a 34-game winning streak. There were some sporadic cases of the previously-unknown affliction during the season, but officials realized they had a full outbreak on their hands when the media outlet ESPN started their series comparing the USC team to other great teams from previous years.

“That was when we knew we had a real problem,” Dr. Derashun says. “All of the sudden it's November and everybody was etching the Trojans on the crystal trophy - we weren’t prepared for it. Thank god those guys in Texas just happened to have just enough of the Young antibodies on hand or the whole country would have been in trouble.”

But even though that crisis was averted, officials knew it was just a matter of time before it popped up again.

Dr. Simma Downow, eminent hypeologist and Dr Derashun's partner at the CDC, says the rise of BIDS was inevitable. "With the way college football has been going the last few years, the whole country has turned into such a fertile breeding ground for BIDS. Profits are through the roof, national exposure is at an all-time high, and controversy is peaking - you couldn't have designed a better environment for BIDS if you tried."

"We've been lucky in the past, since every new outbreak has brought us the antivirus along with it. In 2006 we saw the OSU-UM111806 strain, which mainly affected the midwest, but that was tempered by the the UF010807 antivirus. Then it 2007 it was the USCLSUNC strain. The antivirus developed on a Palo Alto farm crushed that one. We were hoping that all of the upsets of the 2007 season would be enough to kill the virus completely, and we did see fewer cases of BIDS in 2008."

"But it seems to be back with a vengeance this year," he sighs, "thanks in no part to trends that have developed since the initial outbreak. Things such as USC losing one conference game they shouldn't, Oklahoma and Ohio State being tops in their conference but choking in the big games, and the love-fest everybody seems to be having with the SEC - all have contributed to people thinking they know for absolute certain what's going to happen this year."

Dr. Derashun says that they're working on antiviruses as fast as they can, but his team can only do so much. "There's so many strains popping up this year, it's hard to keep up. We're keeping our fingers crossed for some divine intervention - or bad calls by the refs. That would probably help too."

More on this story as it develops...

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