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2014 Concession Letters For Posterity





Andrew Farh-out-in-left-field wins the pool without picking a single Final Four team?


Even Derek managed that much.


I think it’s time to turn up the heat on that Simmons Syndicate in Kansas, to see how much kielbasa someone has to smack down on the table to grease the Commish's hands. (There's an image for you to chew on.)


As for Derek: I’ve nearly run out of adjectives to describe his annual Smackdown Meltdown. Shakespeare, however, came up with an apt description of the comedy/tragedy that is Derek’s yearly bravado-before-the-storm: Much Ado About Nothing. Geez, even your son is going all Stanford on your Kansas patootie now, Pops. But I guess you can at least take solace that your bracket wasn’t completely blown-to-Smith-ereens like some others.  


In conclusion, I want to again mount my soapbox to denounce the redundancy of March Sameness. Three of the Final Bore teams have multiple recent titles, and even though Wisconsin hasn’t won in 70 years, they’re still a big-school, big-conference bully. That’s what’s truly Maddening. Aside from Colorado, I was SO hoping Wichita State would win this year. But as I said last year at this time, the only Shocker would be if a Cinderella ever wins the Big Boys tournament.




'Til next year …


Craig Kurtz




Annual rituals, like picking your teams every March or cheering for the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA tournament (25 years in a row and counting) bring a sense of joy into my heart. I now have a new ritual each year, the concession letter. You see, no matter how much I research the teams by analyzing RPI divided by a team's shooing percentage, I have failed to prove my brilliance by winning Smackdown. Even prayers to our patron Saint James have fallen on death ears.

So it is with my unsolvable data sets and faithless feelings about my Jayhawk's point guard, that I write to concede to this year's winner Andrew. Although he didn't pick the champ, he picked well when the picking was good! Bravo, King Andrew.

And as bad as my picks were this year, I still beat Derek! 

Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Go KU! 
John Augusto




I have been bested in the Smackdown  by a worthy opponent who has the ear of GOD. Mayhap, that is how he won. Thank you, Mr. Farhat, for thoroughly smacking Derek and the rest of the field, myself included. I look forward to next year.


Katherine Holtmeyer




It was a good run. I guess my picker is broken except the one I use in my nose.

Congrats to the winner.






Beings in general* entered in the smack down,
* I'm talking about Derek and the dog here

Let me start by saying that this was not by far my best year, but that being said, I would like to congratulate The
Great, The Mighty, The Prophet of the greatest game on earth, Mr. Farhat. I would also like to congratulate Mr.
Herkimer, who because of one measly point lost the whole shebang. I offer my greatest condolences and hope he can come up with a good reason why he lost before the next Thanksgiving, when I will  have a chance to rib him
mercilessly. So, for what it's worth, (not very much, seeing that I was beat by a bloody dog) I tip  my hat, once again, to Andrew Farhat and Mr. Herkimer.

Unfortunately, I only placed in twentieth this year. I take a small condolence in that, I actually did place ahead of
Derek. So did about twenty-seven other people, but still, that feels gooood. Which is also completely erased by the
fact that the dog beat me. But, at least I won't have to try to figure out how to send a hot dog through email.

All in all, this year was not my best. I will come again (next year), and the year of the Alex will begin. Derek the
Younger is gone. Alex "The Emperor" is steamrolling in, and will be the best. (By making all of my picks with no
research or care in about five minutes, since that seems to be working really well this year.) Once again, Good job Mr. Farhat, Mr. Herkimer, and (sigh) the dog.

Happy smack down everyone!


Alex Simmons




This is my attempt at a contrite concession letter, whereby I honor the apparent winner of this year’s Smack down, Andrew Farhat. So let’s get the concession part out of the way first. 

I bow before you for your amazing ability to beat me by one lousy point. I can only assume that your first place finish was the result of hours and hours of analysis of the teams throughout the course of the entire season. Whereas my picks, resulting in a second place finish, were made in about 5 minute’s total, after paying virtually no attention to the season as it progressed. 

I take solace in my defeat by you for having “bested” 30 other smack down participants.   And in particular I am thrilled to have come out ahead of the “Smith” extended family of smackers, especially Aron, John, David, Patrick, Bryn (my own daughter – who knows even less than I know about basketball), Barry, Paul & Amy. But most of all, from the “Smith” family, I am honored to have defeated Aron & Amy’s dog. 

And then there is Derek. What a pathetic performance. Even my daughter, Bryn, beat Derek. But to soften this terrible blow to poor Derek, perhaps all of us who sent campaign contributions to his wife’s election campaign can magnanimously let him know that now that she has no election opponent, and does not need bundles of cash for an expensive campaign, they can keep the money for whatever legal purpose they can conjure up. No refunds are expected.

John Wittmayer



Bless me, Champion Pastor Andrew, for I have sinned.

First of all, I know that we are Lutherans, and we technically do not do the confession thing, but we do share common roots with the Catholics, and I assume you have some  cross-training from your seminary days, so I figure we will be OK.

Second, I know that these typically are concession letters, but since you are unaccustomed to victory in Smackdown basketball, I thought you might be more comfortable if we went to your religious wheelhouse.

Here goes: I have had loads and loads of impure thoughts. I am talking about a wide variety of shapes and colors of impure thoughts. I suspect I have a gift for it. However, at the moment, I am thinking specifically of thoughts that Kansas should recruit criminals with athletic skills in pursuit of victory, like certain other schools that I am not going to name here, but whose initials are "Nebraska." I do know this thought is wrong.

In this tournament, I also picked against Kansas. I know, everyone else was doing it, and they were all ... er ... "correct," but we both know there can be a difference between what is "correct" and what is "right." I knew in my heart that it was a sin.

To be candid, I have questioned our creator. Why should I be cursed to lose--what is it, 15 consecutive Smackdowns now?--when neophytes and my sister and other heathens (and apparently a dog) enjoy greater success? I know God has a plan for me, and I am sure that that plan includes inevitable domination of the Smackdown, but I confess my 
impatience with his plan.

Finally, I confess that Ann Marie's campaign contributions will not be adequate to fund a strategy meeting in Hawaii, largely because I have not worked hard enough. Had I really dug in, I am pretty sure I could have gotten more Smiths and Wittmayers to kick in more cash, and the bankroll alone would intimidate future challengers. I know God rewards industry in his service, and ... I am sure that God ties into Hawaii somehow, so it all would have worked theologically, if only I had put my back into it.

For these sins and others, I justly deserve punishment, and I am fairly sure I have gotten a good measure already. I suspect that you might sentence me to 17 rounds of the Kansas alma mater (same as the number of victories that the Washington Huskies had this year), or you might send me to visit the purgatory that is Washington (motto: "Our athletes are Vicious Female Dogs!"), or you might let me off with a warning, because you know you just got lucky. 

Whatever you decide, I do know that the drill includes absolution at the end. And possibly a few more campaign donations, not that I am hinting or anything. This is me, 
making the sign of the cross, pantomiming a couple of jump shots, and trusting in my redemption.





I am but new to this thing people call Smackdown, and I fared poorly at Smacking anyone, though  I did score better than this Derek who I know not but have been made aware of by the Great Smackdown Central  Grand Puba (Rand).  Praise to Andrew and his first place finish, a job well done.  I pause and slowly toast Andrew with a fine Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout.  I feel honored to be included in this endeavor, and pledge to learn more about this Derek and why we should feel proud to bring him some Smackdown.  Until next year's tournament, all be well, even Derek.


--Michael Bird




I hate being a loser but with our esteemed Champion having whipped up like a step child (or KU in football) it is with a heartfelt wish of congratulations and best wishes. I hope you are able to spend your winning wisely and display your trophy with immense pride. 

May you picking acumen be only luck that doesn't won't reappear any time soon. 

Paul Lehmkuhler




Congrats to Andrew on being the king of Smackdown. The tensions and anxiety of Final Four Weekend need not apply this year, as Andrew had the whole thing wrapped up by then. I am not sure if that speaks more to Andrew’s game picking ability or a poor field of pickers. Needless to say, Buffet’s Billion is safe with this group. My bracket was equally as pathetic as Derek's, but at least I can be assured that I can still eat more broccoli than him. 

Michael Dome




Congratulations to Andrew. You rein. However not supreme as we only have one supreme. I have beaten Derek and Alex who needs to be schooled in picking winning teams. Who would have guessed U Conn & Kentucky.

Wayne Simmons




From Art "the Derekdozaline" Gepner. 

Congrats to Andrew on being the king of Smackdown. I'm amazed at the possibility of winning the Smackdown without having any idea of who would make it to the final four AND doing it before the final weekend. I was bested by almost everyone but Derek to include a dog apparently who has the ability to use a computer. I don't feel bad though....'cause I made my picks in all of 5 minutes, 30 minutes before the games started. AND I just don't like feeling bad, so I choose not to ;) Thank you Rand for all your work in making this a fun endeavor and to all those who participated, hope to do it again next year.




All I can say is: 

I'm a dog.  I don't even have thumbs to turn on the TV - how on earth am I supposed to keep up with basketball?!

Congrats to Andrew.  I'm sending hot dogs and belly rubs your way.  To the 25 or so of you who came in behind me.  Well.  I can teach you about my patented kibble-selection 
method sometime.  For a belly rub.

Slim T. Dog




To Andrew and everyone else who beat, I guess:

Many congratulations to you, and I hope this means I don't get bumped from the Smackdown next year or have to pay Rand extra money just to join. I can barely afford the entry fees as it is.

I know I should feel ashamed to score below Derek, but I think there should be some acknowledgement of the skill in coming in dead last. I mean really, that's kind of an 
accomplishment in and of itself. I bet even Derek couldn't pick *all* losers.

Obviously, my selection method will need tweaking, but it looks like I can take some pointers from my dog and greatly improve my standings...

Till next year.

Amy Smith



Dear Andrew,

To you, I concede defeat. I'm suspecting divine intervention, but I can't prove it. I am positive though that some non-human force must have been responsible for Derek finishing ahead of me. God? I doubt it. I'm sure she has better things to do, and I'm sure she wouldn't want Derek to beat anybody. 

St. James? Well, he is biased toward those from Kansas, and he has been known to take pity on sad soles (see the whole being from Kansas thing). And, he was probably upset at my choice of kielbasa (I've already been given a penance of 10 free throws and 15 bounce passes). So, I'm convinced that must be it. St. James has smiled on Derek by allowing him to place ever so slightly higher than me. I will learn my lesson for next year. Only real kielbasa, and always pick Kansas.

To the rest of you (except my sister), you may have finished ahead of me, but don't think that makes you better than me. Most of you were beat by a dog. And, to my sister: we have
brought shame on our family.

Finally, thank you to Rand for running a most excellent Smackdown for the 7th year in a row (and 13th out of the last 14 years). (We won't mention what happened in '07).

Until next year!

Paul "not quite the worst" Smith



To Andrew, congratulations on winning the smackdown. You guessed better than most of the rest of us and for that, I congratulate you. All I ever want out of the smackdown is to beat my husband, and that I did, for the 3rd year in a row. I feel this proves that actual basketball knowledge means nothing when it comes to the Smackdown. I made my picks in about 4 minutes while also in the final preparations to host a birthday party for 10 8-year-old girls. I think I did fairly well, considering the handicap and much better than my complete lack of attention and knowledge should place me.

Rand, thank you for your hard "work" again this year. See you all next year!

Bryn Wittmayer



Dear Andrew,

I must say that I was close behind you. Thankfully I smacked Derek with everyone else. Sadly, my own dog beat me by 4 points, I will be giving him belly rubs. I would like to say though. I will be back in greater strength and hours and hours of internet reading so that I will win. 

Look out,
David McFarlane




I was holding out hope for a stirring comeback by myself last night (I'm not too good at nor do I trust "Math Forecasting"). Alas, with the tournament now over, I can concede defeat. Congrats to Andrew for your magnificent Smackdown victory!

Though victory eluded me for another year, and eleven souls bettered me (do dogs have souls?), I smashed my three older siblings so I can breath easy 'til next year.

Oh, must important of all, I and the majority of the field smacked down Derek.


Patrick Smith




Part I


What else is there to say? 
After years of futility I emerge right where I usually do, 
smack in the middle of the pack, just misery.
I was above the Derekdoza line, but just by grace and luck. 
Next year, I swear, it will be different. 
I have suffered enough at this infernal game.
It's almost like a sad, scary poem.

The Smackdown Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The tv cannot hear me screaming:
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
And He can't shoot free throws for shit, either!
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The booze-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
This ceremony of advertising is drowned;
The best lack all conviction in their picks, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity for KU.

Seriously? KU? Again?


Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Smackdown is at hand.
The Smackdown! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Oregon
Troubles my sight: somewhere in that land of lumber 
and organic, free-range, grain fed, home-schooled chicken
A shape with jayhawk body and the head of a man,
Well, Derek's head, so yes, technically a man
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant participants.
The brats drop again; but now I know
That fourteen years of rage
Were vexed to nightmare by a glancing three point shot that 
should have gone, 
but it didn't, 
and that really screwed me again, 
and again, it's always like this...why do I even bother?


What rough bracket, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Yeats. 1919 Smackdown. Picked Arizona. Tragic.

Cheers and all the best and that,




MTT, Part II


Just thinking about this for a second, it's all well and good, we smackdown Derek year after year, then we post harmless jibes.

And then we do it again. 

But it must be infuriating. For him.

Because I know, and Derek knows, that Derek knows much more 
about basketball than me.  He knows more about many things, but college basketball, in particular. So it must be very annoying to lose this thing for over a decade. 

Imagine that?

I don't even really understand the rules!

Oh, I know the basics, but anything really wacky like that possession arrow thing, I have no clue. I'll bet Derek knows how that possession arrow thing works. 
I don't. And to be perfectly honest, I'm not so sure half of the 
"schools" in this tourney really even exist! I recognize about two dozen, and I used to teach in the Big 12. K-State, so obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but still....

Anyhow, half of those schools on the bracket sheet could be made up by Anheuser-Busch for marketing purposes, for all I know. Stoner Valley Junior College, sure, why the hell not? But I bet Derek can tell you a little of the basketball history/tradition of most of the teams in the tourney. Any yet I win this game. This silly, stupid, little game. 
It. Must. Be. Infuriating!

Anyhow, all the best and it's on to 2015!

Todd Thummel




My Dearest Andrew, 

Hail to all within you that made your selections supreme over all, including mine. You are clearly in favor with the powers above, a situation I feel may not be my own, especially after being put through the completion of my state taxes!

You have not only come out on top, but continue to uphold the sacred trust of the Smackdown: Defeat forever and always to Derek. Hear that, Derek? Forever. Always. 

While I find my own state of affairs to be hardly worth remarking upon on within this missive of mediocrity on my part, I do have a few fine points to remember throughout the next year as I ponder the direction of college basketball, and whether I myself will take up the "Kibble Selection Method," which might work as long as the kibble is bacon flavored and bourbon is nearby: 

1) I am grateful to have married into a family that has helped me find a place, no, a new mission in life, with participation of the Smackdown. 

2) While grateful for #1 above for so many reasons, this  year has proven to me once and for all that I was CHOSEN by this said family to give them a standing in the smackdown a step above pathetic. I mean, look: not only my progeny, but  EVEN MY DOG has finished above the Smithies, and not just steps, MOUNTAINS above them. No Games, No Numbers, just a little bit of Hoosier Common Sense. 

3) While it pays to procrastinate and be the last in your family to complete the Smackdown letter, especially when you are married to the QUEEN of all smack, one should be more careful to avoid coming in right after the specially composed POETRY concession letter. I will try NOT to let this happen again. (Well done, sir.)

In conclusion, while the dog will not be able to participate in subsequent Smackdowns to carry on Derek's shame that his basketball prowess can be reduced to nothingness at the bottom of the pack by a dog selecting based on diet kibble, I WILL CARRY ON. Forever. Always. Until Rand tells me otherwise.

Sincerely yours, 
Aron "Tomorrow is another Day" Rider

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