Disclaimer: This is a satirical piece.
By Michael Comodeca
The years of suffering are over for Cleveland State University students who were forced to cheer on other college football teams. Cleveland State now has a football team.
The pressure that was applied by students and alumni over the years finally caused the board of trustees to cave in and create a football team.
In its inaugural season, Cleveland State did the unthinkable and won the national championship.
The team was led by Tom Brady Jr., Lebron James Jr. and Theodore Bosa, who wreaked havoc on their opponents throughout the year.
In an unprecedented turn of events before the season started, Cleveland State was appointed to the Big Ten Conference instead of the Mid-American Conference.
The Vikings opened the season as huge 63-point underdogs against the defending national champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide, who are led by head coach Nick Saban. However, Saban unexpectedly announced his retirement after being trounced by Cleveland State, 56-7.
As the season rolled on, so did the Vikings. They easily dispatched their non-conference opponents.
While conference play was a little more difficult, especially against tough opponents such as Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin, Cleveland State won all those games.
The highlight of those games included a Hail Mary touchdown pass as time expired for a victory over Penn State in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania.
Then came the showdown in Indianapolis against The Ohio State University in the Big Ten Championship game. The winner would go on to make the college football playoffs, while the loser would head home for the year.
Ohio State jumped out to an early 14-0 lead on an interception and fumble by Brady, but the Vikings did not let it crush their confidence. The Buckeyes held a 14-3 lead at half, although Cleveland State would receive the ball after halftime.
The Vikings took the second half kick-off for a 106-yard touchdown to cut Ohio State’s lead to 14-10. This is where the score stood until the latter moments of the fourth quarter.
Cleveland State’s defense produced a huge strip sack by Bosa in the red zone, giving their offense one last chance at either tying or winning the game.
Brady was under center for a third and ten when he took the snap. He was under immediate pressure but was somehow able to get his pass off to a streaking James up the seam for the winning touchdown.
The score gave Cleveland State the 17-14 victory and an invitation to the College Football Playoff.
The Penn Quakers, Gonzaga Bulldogs and Rice Owls made the playoffs with the Vikings.
Prior to the start of the playoffs, Cleveland State won most of the big awards such as the Heisman Trophy, Coach, Wide Receiver and Defensive Player of the Year.
Jon Gruden won Coach of the Year for Cleveland State after leaving the Oakland Raiders because he knew they would never win a Super Bowl with the Cleveland Browns dominating professional football. An opportunity to coach the Vikings was too good of an opportunity for Gruden to pass up.
Gruden was excited about winning the award. He believed it was the highest achievement of his career. The only thing that would surpass this would be Cleveland State winning it all.
“I have won many games, many awards and even a Super Bowl,” Gruden said. “But winning this award for this team in its inaugural season is the greatest award I have won to date. The only thing better would be winning a championship with this team.”
The Gonzaga Bulldogs blew the doors off the Quakers 67-0, setting up a showdown with the winner of Cleveland State and Rice to play for the national title.
Cleveland State found themselves in another nail biter.
Rice jumped out to an early 7-0 lead behind a long 15 play, 87-yard drive that was capped off by a two-yard rushing touchdown by Rice’s quarterback.
That lead did not last long as Cleveland State scored on the ensuing drive to tie the game at seven. This is where the score stood until early in the fourth quarter.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Cleveland State was able to force a turnover that lead to a pick-six by Bosa to take a 14-7 lead.
The score was still 14-7 Cleveland State with Rice driving as the game clock continued to wind down.
Rice had a first and goal with 17 seconds to go with the ball on 14 yard line. Rice tried four passes in the end zone to tie game, which was to no avail. The fourth pass attempt as time expired was intercepted by Bosa to seal the victory and punch their ticket to the College Football Championship.
The championship game was historic because both teams, Cleveland State and Gonzaga, were in their inaugural seasons as football teams and made it to the title game.
The odds at the beginning of the season were so astronomical for these two teams making it this far that a one dollar bet would have netted a person $10,000.
As the game got underway, Gruden was excited and liked his team’s chances of winning the game even though Gonzaga dismantled Penn in the semifinals.
“My guys are ready to play and pumped up to win this national title,” Gruden said. “The score is 0-0, so it does not matter what the Bulldogs did to the Quakers last week.”
Gonzaga was a formidable foe with 14-0 record. They were ranked number two in the country behind Cleveland State and won the Big 12 Conference with ease.
Although the Bulldogs came to play, Cleveland State dispatched them quickly by winning 49-17.
Cleveland State scored touchdowns on their first five possessions to take a 35-0 lead at halftime and never looked back.
On Cleveland State’s first possession of the second half, Gonzaga was able to stop them, but the Vikings scored on the next two possessions to take a 49-0 lead.
Gonzaga scored late in the game as Cleveland State played every player on the bench to give them all a chance to get some playing time in the national title game.
As the game clock wound down to zero, the Vikings stormed the field to celebrate their first college football national title. Brady led the charge as the fans sang Cleveland State’s fight song.
Brady was named most outstanding player of the game for his performance and for breaking a college football national championship record by throwing seven touchdown passes in the game.
When Brady spoke after winning the award, he praised his teammates and coaches for everything they did to put him in the best position to help his team win the national title for Cleveland State.
“I didn’t even realize I threw seven touchdowns. All I cared about was bringing home some hardware to put in Cleveland State’s trophy case.” Brady said. “Everything is due to my coaches putting together a great game plan and my teammates making plays when called on.”