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Vikings Conquer First Weekend


Player Scenarios Posted—79 Can Still Win It All


A Player Gets Mentioned


The next three days will be the Age of the Vikings, as Vikings to the Breslin! (Sean Smith) pillaged and burned his way to the top of the standings on Sunday. SaturdayÕs leader Scrapbook Girl finally succumbed to the noble savage when Illinois lost to Miami. Day Two leader natethegreat, who actually sounds like he could be a Norse king, moved back up to second place, three points behind Vikings.


But Vikings, a former lifeguard, shouldnÕt get too comfortable up on his perch. In this tournament, you can be basking in the sun, seemingly immune to danger, when all of a sudden someone comes along from behind with a high-pressure water hose. Although seven of SmithÕs Elite 8 teams are still alive, many players below him in the standings have seven teams left as well (nobody has all eight).


In fact, 79 players still have a shot at winning it all, and 98 players are still in the running for prizes. Check out Player Scenarios, a new report just posted, to see your best possible finish, worst possible finish, and which teams to root for.


Even This is the year I get mentioned in an update post (Travis Rogers) can still win. Travis is one of three players to have Florida going the distance, so he will be paying close attention to the GatorsÕ matchup with high-flying Florida Gulf Coast in the late game Friday.


This is TravisÕs eighth year in the Challenge, and the last seven years have, well, not been kind. Since 2005 heÕs finished 63rd of 73, 58th of 58, 57th of 57, 57th of 64, 52nd 0f 72, 42 of 73 (a great year), 51st of 86, and 54th of 98. Out of the 48 players who have played at least five years, Travis ranks 45th.


Yes, for the last seven years, Travis has been like the kid looking through the window of the candy store, watching as all the other kids get to take their turn stuffing their hands in the bulk bins, eating a few pieces while no oneÕs looking. Jeez, Travis thinks to himself as he looks on, even that albino gopher Cotter gets to leave with one of the Tootsie Rolls that Bucephalus dropped.


But not Travis. No, not ever poor Travis. If someone leaving the store drops a gummy on the sidewalk, before TravisÕs little fingers can get down there to pick it up, someone else comes along and stomps on it.


ThatÕs what happened two years ago. Travis was in fourth place after Day Two, and I urged everyone to root for poor, poor Travis. But his life at the top was short-lived. No glory came to Travis that year. It was all a cruel joke. Instead of Travis, the title went to a person who needed three people to help her work her computer mouse so that she could make her picks in time.


But that could all change this year. Travis has seven teams still alive, and his Final Four is completely intact. The way to victory is stretched out before him like the Champs-Elysees. All he needs to do is take the first step. So as it says in the Psalms, let these words be a lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path.