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The Cognitive Dissonance of a National Title

Winning a national championship in any given collegiate sport is difficult. If it weren't, the passion that enhances our interest in sport would be absent, the stakes lower and the accompanying sentiment far less focused and intense. Much in the same way that teams from four-year powerhouses can beat the teams of the local community college in pretty much anything or Phil Fulmer can put down an entire White Castle Crave Case by himself, the easy stuff--that which we expect after years of familiarity--doesn't really get us hot and bothered, so to speak.

But it's not everyday that your team wins a national title, and that's why the pursuit of that distinction of preeminence is so important. It carries so much currency, in fact, that the competitions have broken down the traditional barriers that help measure sporting seasons because the pursuit of "winning it all" is a year-round activity.

There are competitive advantages to be had, of course. Weather conditions can affect the circumstances for which competitors are prepared. Fluctuating academic requirements can dictate the amounts of time and energy that are left available for the college kids to focus on what it is that they do when they're not studying. You get the picture, right? There is a plethora of variables that influences what the winning equation looks like.

I write all of this because with its, um, lenient institutional attitude toward discipline and thriving classroom-to-cellblock exchange program, the Ohio State Joke of a University should probably be killing its competitors every season. I mean, the kids on the team have lots of free time, little regard for rules, and almost no guiding requirements regarding their school work.

In short, the Buckeyes should be really, really good at bridge. Prisons are notorious for their card games, and kids freed from the shackles of academic responsibility have ample time to bone up on their imps, pairs, and negative doubles.

But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and so it was that the University of Michigan recently beat Princeton to claim the Collegiate Bridge Championship.

Go Blue!