NCAA Heartbreaker: Loyalty to the Bracket or the Gators?

Perry KostidakisContributor IMarch 23, 2011

Florida-BYU met last year in the NCAA Tournament, but this time, it's for bigger stakes. At least for me anyways.
Florida-BYU met last year in the NCAA Tournament, but this time, it's for bigger stakes. At least for me anyways.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Every person must face adversity at some point in their lives, it's inevitable. 

Who do I vote for?

Should I really be marrying her?

Is this what I want to do in life?

Should I play for the city that raised me or stab them in the back to try and get an easy championship?

Like I said, everybody goes through these choices. For me, I have to go through the ultimate decision.

It's one that is tearing away at my soul, forcing me to review my morals, testing my loyalties and ultimately, deciding who I am as a person. 

Do I root for BYU or Florida in the Sweet 16?

If you are naive and for some reason believe this is an easy task, let me quickly prove you wrong.

I was born a Gator. My room has been painted orange and blue for as long as I can remember. For all I know, my first words were 'Spurrier' and 'Wuerffel'. If I had a dollar for every time I have gotten into an argument defending my team, then I would have my name on the side of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Already, I've had to commit the ultimate sin and root for the hated Florida State Seminoles, because I had them picked in my bracket to upset Notre Dame. I won that battle, but not without any emotional damage.

I am currently in four bracket pools. One is a group of schoolmates, one is rapper Asher Roth's tournament, another is with family, and the last is with schoolmates and a teacher, with the winner recieving a pack of Skittles from the losers. Overall, on the line is $210 dollars, 5 packs of delicious candy, and pride...sweet, sweet pride.

Is it worth selling my soul for?

I picked the Cougars originally because I was awestruck by Jimmer Fredette's play, along with a good majority of the nation.

I mean when a kid scores 52 points, how can you bet against him?

And, call it blasphemy, but I didn't regard Florida as worthy of a No. 2 seed, along with a good majority of the nation. I thought they were too inconsistent and too unpredictable to be able to make it out of the Sweet 16 alive. 

Now, if I could fix any part of my bracket, it wouldn't be to predict VCU or Richmond's Cinderella runs or my Princeton upset pick against Kentucky, Texas in my Final Four, or even my entire horrendous West picks.

No, it would be Florida over BYU, so even if I got it wrong, I would be able to live with myself.

"It's just one pick Perry," some of you might say. "Even if Florida wins, it's not like you had BYU winning the whole thing. Right?"



Okay, I'm sorry! I was really just amazed by Fredette, the kid can do it all. And it was just one of those things that felt right, just like my FSU over Notre Dame pick, the Princeton pick or Memphis over Arizona. When it comes to brackets, you just do what you feel is right.

But now, I can't feel right after this game at all.

Florida wins and while I'm ecstatic that my favorite team of all time is now advancing to the Elite Eight with a very realistic chance to advance out of an easy Southeast Region, all I can do is think about the lost money and fame, because there is no way I can dig myself out of that deep of a hole if two of the four teams in my Final Four are missing, including my national champion.

BYU wins and though I'm thrilled I have a great shot at winning all four of my pools, all I can do is think about the selling of my soul, the ultimate sin of rooting against my team for cash and prizes.

I am anticipating and dreading Thursday night the same way NBA players are dreading the end of their season in case they meet the same fate as NFL players, who are dreading the beginning of their season.

I'm going to watch the game with my hands over my eyes, fingers spread just enough so I can see the game.

And do you want to know the scariest part of all?

Gus Johnson is calling the game, almost guaranteeing a game to remember.

God help me.