Chapter 5: Before the Final Battle.
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I looked up and behold, a rider on a white horse! A voice summoned him from among the Raiders, and said, "go out and make my team the undisputed champions again." He had a play book in his hand, and he galloped into the cornfields to teach the huskers how to throw a ball.
Now there were four coaches at the corners of the earth, one at Washington, one at Southern California, one in Miami, and one at Penn State. And a fifth coach came and said to them, "You will again dominate the earth, but you must vote your conscience when it comes to the BCS standings." And there at the Rose Bowl 144,000 who had bought tickets and come down to watch the Badgers, but lo, they had no tickets.
12,000 had come from Madison, and 12,000 from Milwaukee, and 12,000 from Green Bay, and 12,000 from the Waukesha/Oconomowoc area, and 12,000 from the Rhineland, and 12,000 from Eau Claire as far as the Red River, and 12,000 from Steven's Point, and 12,000 from Appleton, and 12,000 from Oshkosh, and 12,000 from the Dells, and 12,000 from Kenosha, and 12,000 from Beloit.
But there was an even greater multitude that had turned out for the Rose Parade. They held flowers in their hands and said,
"Thank God we're watching this live and not getting the cheesy commentary from Day Time Soap Opera actors."
There are seven bowls the next day, but that all comes later. No one who reads this and the vision of the bowls that comes afterward and the computer standings that compute the national champion will be half as confused as this writer. "By myself I have sworn," saith the Lord God of Hosts and Hostesses (inclusive language translation), "The one who figures out a way to declare an undisputed champion without shutting down the gravy train of college bowl games, shall be given a place at my right hand, and all sports shall be put under his or her (right, like any woman cares enough to give this issue half a thought, but we're being inclusive even when it makes no sense at all) feet."
And then the man on the white horse ended the scrimmage against a 1-AA team, and lo, they had scored 8 times by 7 points, including many by throwing the ball, and there was great rejoicing in the corn fields. And a voice inside my head said, "Where is all that cheering coming from?"
"I have no idea?" I said, "since no radio in Illinois carries Nebraska games."
The voice said, "That cheer comes from the fans of the Monsters of the Midway, who are rising out of the land and sea and setting their faces to consume the north. But they will be slain by the rod of anger, the man of justice on whom I have poured my favre, in order to avenge the 144,000 who went to the Rose Bowl for nothing. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."