For many Americans, this March Madness will be the same as ever:
brackets, ruined brackets, buzzer beaters and praying Duke doesn't win.
in years past, the NCAA tournament won't be the only March Madness
competing for headlines. Sometime next month, the College of Cardinals
will meet at the Vatican to begin their conclave, which will select the
successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Because brackets are the greatest invention since the printing press, the folks at religionnews.com fused the two competitions and put together a tournament of 16 leading contenders for the papacy.
They called it "The Sweet Sisteen," which makes me think someone came
up with that awesome name first, then decided to fill in the brackets.
we can't identify our favorite Pope Pius and know more about the
Louisville Cardinals than the College of Cardinals (though both teams
have players who wear red and leaders in white).
But if the papal brackets are anything like the tournament brackets,
we'll be able to use the process of elimination to find out who will be
the next pope.
1. In wide open brackets, the favorites rarely win.
The last two tournaments with no pre-tourney consensus pick (2011 and
2006) were chaotic and led to upset victories by Connecticut and
Florida, respectively. Thus, if you're a betting line favorite to ascend
to the papacy, don't start measuring your finger for the Ring of the
Fisherman quite yet.
Sorry: Peter Turkson (5/2 favorite), Angelo Scola (7/4), Marc Oullet (4/1), Leonardo Sandri (15/2)
The last 12 winners of the national title are Kentucky, UConn, Duke,
UNC, Kansas, Florida, Florida, UNC, UConn, Syracuse, Maryland, Duke.
You'll notice there are no Mississippi Valley States or UC-Santa
Barabaras in the mix. The takeaway? Short names are in, long names are
Sorry: Norberto Rivera Carrera, Joao Braz de Aviz, Oscar Rodrigues Maradiaga, Odilo Pedro Scherer, Luis Antonio Tagle
No saint has made a Final Four since St. John's in 1985, unless you
live in Durham and have already canonized Mike Krzyzewski. If you have
the same Anglicized name as a saint, you're not going to be cutting down
the rosary at the conclave.
Sorry: Timothy Dolan, Peter Erdo, John Onaiyekan, Robert Sarah
Senior-led teams are a relic of the past. And if 74-year-old Greg Oden
couldn't lead Ohio State to a title earlier this century, what chance
does an older man have of winning the papacy this time?
Sorry: Gianfranco Ravasi (age 70)
The American cardinal -- Sean O'Malley -- serves in Boston, as if you
already hadn't guessed that. No university from Boston has ever made the
Final Four, let alone won a national title.
Sorry: Sean O'Malley
6. That leaves one man. If the papal brackets hold true to form, the puff of white smoke will emerge to name Christoph Schoenborn
as the new pope. In honor of his reign, as crowned by college
basketball, he should choose the name of a true PTP'er and call himself Pope Vitalian II. It'd be terribilis with a capital T, baby! (Terribilis is latin for "awesome." We don't know either.)
Written By: Chris Chase, USA Today