Wednesday, January 8, 2014

(Poker) Lessons from the BCS

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and in the East and Midwest, that would be a very frozen rock), you’re aware that the very last BCS Championship Game has been played1 and Florida State is the new champ!  Despite being an overwhelming favorite, it took a gutsy comeback and a last-minute touchdown drive to seal the victory2.  And even then, there was time for Auburn to make another miracle finish and capture yet another crown for the SEC3.

But as it turned out, the Seminoles were able to shake off a shaky start and overcome a 21-3 deficit for a 34-31 victory.  And can we learn anything from this game (perhaps the best BCS game since Texas/USC in this very same stadium 8 years ago)?  I mean, besides the fact that Musburger is a colossal dipshit and sometimes doesn’t even know who he is? (re:

Never give up.  Never, never, never, give up.

Sure, this sounds like a Jimmy V promo on ESPN, but the man was right.  Never give up.  Sure, it looks bad, and you’re low on chips and can’t seem to get anything going.  But…don’t just toss ‘em in on a 9-6 offsuit and hope for the best.  Wait.  Be patient.  Pick your spots.  Aim for the low hanging fruit (lousy players) to rebuild your stack.  Set a trap.  Be aggressive with the nuts.  Don’t give in, don’t give up.  Battle until you win, or lose, but battle to the end.  In poker as in life.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve got to the final table and been low on chips, seemingly overwhelmed by monster stacks, and…fought back.  No, I don’t win ‘em all (or I would have written another book about it), but I usually made a better finish than if I had just quit and gone all-in on seven-deuce.  Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston struggled throughout the first half, yet he finished with a better quarterback rating than Auburn’s Nick Marshall4.

And he also got another trophy at the end of the game(MVP), as did the Seminoles.  Because they never gave up.


1.  And thank goodness, too - although the new 4-team format only means a different level of bitching come next season.  Once we get to a true 16-team playoff, then, maybe, most of the bitching will go away.  But not all.

2.  Now would be a good time to remind everyone that Vegas makes the point spread not on who they think is better/worse and by how much, but by the amount of money being bet on each side, so they can “even it out.”  What this should tell you is that there was some very serious money on Florida State (perhaps even some future wagers) that caused a potential shortage because of so much bet on FSU, hence, the need to give point…lots of points…to attract Auburn wagers to even things out.  Best (easiest) bet on Monday might was Auburn and points. The over got middled5.  Bummer.

3. Brent Musburger actually presented the trophy to Auburn at about 8:43 in the second half.  Twit.

4. No doubt this will end the “SEC is superior to all other leagues” discussion.  Yeah, right.

5.  Most places had it at 65.  34+31 = 65.  Pisser.

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