Brackets and "Back to the Future"

To recognize Neil Patrick Harris’ dominance in the “MVP of CBS Monday night comedy” voting, I propose a new principle—in the time-honored tradition of his How I Met Your Mother character, Barney—to explain the phenomenon I experienced after filling out my NCAA tournament bracket last night.

Its name? The Back to the Future rule.

This rule states that you can follow a storyline right from the beginning, being pleasantly surprised by its twists and turns and willing to look past your doubts because it’s so darn engaging, and yet still arrive at a WTF moment when you get to the end.

In Back to the Future terms, this explains how a trilogy that started so promisingly with things like a time-traveling DeLorean, the flux capacitor, a photo that gradually erases itself, Chuck Berry’s cousin—Marvin Berry—hoverboards, Café 80s, and an alternate 1985 can nevertheless wrap up with a movie set predominantly in the Old West, which Doc escapes using a flying locomotive (far more unrealistic than the DeLorean) before sagely telling Marty and Jennifer: “Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.”

Really? You solved the mysteries of time travel and this is the parting advice you give us after six hours of movie watching?

In terms of my bracket, the Back to the Future rule explains how what started out as surprising—but I think reasonable (at least compared to Doc and Marty being able to figure out the exact second when the lightning would strike the clock tower)—upset picks in the South region paved the way for Notre Dame to go to the Final Four.

Hmmm. Come to think of it, maybe I should’ve asked Doc for some advice.


  1. Jenny Fox

    You are going to be so miserable to live with if the Irish lose early – now not only are they your team but your bracket and bragging rights in our pool rely on them?!? I guess I am seriously rooting for ND now.

  2. Patrick

    I'm imagining both of you sitting sadly in the dining room office, drinking half empty beers out of ND and MU pint glasses, respectively.

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