Southern Nazarene has zero chance of winning on Saturday … Really?!

That’s what I read.

SNU has no chance of beating Henderson State.

Football season has finally gotten here and I was soaking in as much information as I could.  I mean, this is one of the best sports times of the year – the opening of football season.

There is a new schedule and so many possibilities and so much hope.  But not always, according to the computers.SNUatHSU

I was reading about the Division II matchups and predictions in Week One with the Massey Ratings and came across the SNU/HSU contest.

The Henderson State probability of winning is 100 percent and Southern Nazarene’s chances for success are zero.

According to the computers, SNU has absolutely no chance to win.

Ok, come on.  I get it.

SNU lost all 11 games last year and HSU was undefeated in the regular season.  The Reddies have won 24 of 25 GAC contests in the history of the league.

In last season’s opener, Henderson State took out Southern Nazarene, 82-10.

And HSU has one of the best players in the country in Kevin Rodgers back as quarterback for one more season with a stable of receivers at his disposal.

Those are all compelling facts.  But zero chance of winning?

That just sounds harsh.  And cold.  And completely devoid of any human aspect.

Which is exactly what it is.

Even Lloyd Christmas, at one in a million, had better odds with Mary Swanson in “Dumb and Dumber.”

“So, you’re telling me there’s a chance.”

Look, I enjoy computers and numbers and sports together.

As a broadcaster, I enjoy real-time and even periodic updates of stats that I didn’t have to compile myself while watching and talking about a game.

As a fan, I like seeing the down and distance in one corner of my screen and scores from other games on another corner.  And most people don’t realize just have many number and computations go into that pretty yellow line that is the first down marker.

As a fantasy football commissioner, I really appreciate that I don’t have to wait for the Monday morning paper anymore [yes, I’m that old] to compile the individual players’ stats from box scores to see whose teams won.  I really like computers and sports in that situation.

But we are who we are as people because we always have hope.  Without hope, we are nothing.SNUHicks2011A

To say that there is no scenario conceivable in which SNU can come away with a win on Saturday is beyond my ability to conceive.

There is always a chance.  It is the drive behind the preseason camp, behind the long summer workouts and weight sessions, behind the spring drills.

And it is often when the odds are stacked against us the most when a victory is the most appreciated.

When was the last time a team won a game it was supposed to win and this inspired someone to write a song or writers run to find a producer with movie treatments?  These works of art most often come because people and teams did not accept that there was no chance.

If Henderson State – highly favored and rightfully so – comes away with a win on Saturday, it will be because the Reddies earned it on the field.  It will not, thankfully, be because Coach Cochran and the Crimson Storm said, “What are we doing?  We have no chance to win.  Why even suit up?  Does anyone want to go watch a movie?”

To update an adage: the game isn’t played on paper, or on a hard drive.

The game is played on the field – where there is always a chance.