Picking Football Winners… with Table Tennis Logic
(By Steve Hopkins)
It’s no surprise to anyone reading this post that my sport doesn’t make headlines in the US. Because of this, I like to find table tennis angles to most of the big sporting events. And at this time, I’m announcing my TT-focused pick for the College Football National Championship.
Fans have some strange ways of picking winners in important games across all sports. Some cheer with their heart, having followed a team and developed an attachment over the course of a season. Others pull for underdogs or favorites and rely upon the experts and the betting lines and the resulting buzz.
During the 2018 world cup soccer tournament for instance, there were several stories about animals selecting winners including Paul the Octopus in Germany, Shaheen the camel in Dubai, and Marcus the pig in England. Many rely on commentators or Las Vegas to pick the winners for us (currently the Vegas odds are at 5.5 points in Alabama’s favor). I’m actually not suggesting that this pick has more science behind it than the experts in Las Vegas or the cuteness factor associated with selections by an animal.
Just for fun, I’m going to make my pick based upon something closer to my heart – how many table tennis tables each team has in their training facility.
Both Alabama and Clemson have a player lounge in their football training facility (I’ve attached photos). Alabama has foosball, billiards, and a single table tennis table. Clemson, on the other hand, has two table tennis tables prominently situated in their facility. It is my strong belief that table tennis benefits everything from mobility to mental health and assists with eye-hand coordination and touch. I don’t know if other teams in the College Football Playoff also had made table tennis available to their players, but it is clear that both of the finalists have tables available. I also can’t speak to how the teams have used their tables – but it is clear that Clemson has provided twice the opportunity within their facility – and that is good enough for me.
I am picking Clemson University. Go Tigers.