Johnny Manziel's Judgment Day: All Roads Lead to Wrestlemania (I mean, the Alabama Game)
After nearly ten months of talk, the rematch is finally here. Alabama. Texas A&M. College Station. Saturday.
Everyone has an opinion on Johnny Football.
And while, in the grand scheme of things, we still know relatively little about either team , one thing has been immutably hammered home, starting with my column from the Monday after the Rice game -- Johnny Manziel's heel turn is complete and thriving.
In fact, just to make sure, I went to the foremost authority on the topic, a man who has seen literally hundreds and hundreds of heel turns and heel pushes in his four decades in the wrestling business.
Yes, I asked WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross the age old question, "What makes a great heel?"
"Great heels are guys that fans will travel great distances and pay good money for tickets in the eternal hope that he gets his ever loving ass kicked."
Or should I say, Good God Almighty, that's the perfect answer!
Travel great distances?
It is expected that 300,000 people will be in College Station on game day. (The stadium holds 83,000.) Among them are thousands of Alabama fans who have already been camped out in College Station all week for the game.
Pay good money?
If you haven't been following the business side of this event on Saturday, the secondary ticket market is exploding. As of Thursday, the average ticket price online was $763, which makes this the most expensive regular season ticket in the history of college football.
Indeed, the world is lining up to see the Crimson Tide try to get their revenge after last season's 29-24 Aggie win in Tuscaloosa. That was the win that cemented Johnny Manziel as the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, and unbeknownst to us at the time, began perhaps the most scrutinized ten month period that any athlete has ever endured (a large part of said scrutiny admittedly invited willingly by Manziel via Twitter and Instagram as if it were a bikini clad coed).
Perhaps the greatest litmus test of Johnny Manziel's villainous stature was revealed this week, when Charles Barkley, himself one of the great heels during his playing days (he's since settled into a "lovable fat guy" role in recent years on TNT), said that he would rather root for Alabama than see Johnny Manziel lead the Aggies to a win.
Charles Barkley went to Auburn.
And maybe that's the funniest part in this whole thing, and the reinforcement that the "Manziel as Satan" narrative that ESPN and others have pushed so tirelessly has roots -- that a guy like Barkley, a pretty intelligent dude who loves booze, gambling, clubs, and women, would despise Johnny Manziel of all people. Why?
Because that's what the machine tells us to do.
So how does Saturday play out for our venerable heel, ol' number 2? Well, sticking with the wrestling theme, I've come up with seven scenarios, ranging from the outlandish to the unlikely to the favorite. I've also assessed the percentage chance of each of these happening.
So without further ado, let's do this!