The lights come up to thunderous applause from the live studio audience. Two teams are standing on stage, each on opposite sides. One is wearing scarlet and gray, the other, a really ugly shade of yellow and blue. The producers are informed that it's called "maize," but that doesn't make it any less ugly. From backstage, a the host walks out to center stage. He is smiling, wearing a nice suit with a flower pinned to the lapel like he were picking someone up for the prom. The audience claps even more.
"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Family Feud: College Football Edition, brought to you by Dr. Pepper. My name is Kirk Herbstreit, and I'll be your—"
"ICE COLD DR. PEPPER HERE!"
An awkward-looking pop vendor is walking up and down the stairs in the audience. He is shouting and wearing short shorts.
"Larry, what are you doing? We're trying to film a show here."
"I'm sorry," he says, kicking at the ground. "I just wanted the good people to have some Dr. Pepper." As he says this, he chokes up. It's really weird, and everyone is visibly uncomfortable.
"Well, just keep it down, will you? As I was saying, I'm Kirk Herbstreit, and I'll be your host today. Now, before we start, I know that a lot of people out there have been complaining about me hosting. To them, I'd just like to say [expletive bleeped] you. Now, let's go over and meet our first team, shall we?"
There is a brief murmur of confusion from the audience, as this is not how a game of Family Feud starts. Everyone decides to just go with it, though and no one has any problems with it at all. Herbstreit heads over to stage left, where the scarlet and gray team is clapping along to the canned studio music. Five men stand behind the sign that reads The Ohio State University: Urban Meyer, Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones, and Brutus Buckeye. Herbstreit stops by Coach Meyer.
"Welcome to the game, Coach," he says while respectfully shaking hands with Meyer. "It's great to have you here hot off your big win in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship."
The audience bursts into applause, except for one guy in a TCU shirt. The applause continues for several uninterrupted minutes, broken up only by continued shouts of "ICE COLD DR. PEPPER HERE" and "You know I invented the Playoff, right?" When the clapping finally dies down, Herbstreit continues.
"Coach, not only did you make history by winning the national championship this year—" More applause. "—but you made headlines by promising to get a tattoo to commemorate the win. Have you finally gotten the ink?"
"Yes, Herbie, I have. It was a big win for a storied program, so we decided to go with something that represents tradition and excellence."
He rolls up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo of the Golden Pants on his forearm. The irony of getting that as a tattoo is lost on no one. There's an uncomfortable silence that lasts way too long for television.
"ICE COLD DR. PEPPER HERE!"
"Well," Herbstreit finally says, already moving down the line, "it looks great. Up next, we have Braxton Miller."
Braxton stands silently, his arm in a sling. He's 22, which is crazy old for a college football player. He is staring off into the distance like a wise old man or something.
"Braxton, it's great to have you here."
Miller says nothing.
"Are...so are you looking forward to playing?"
"We're in a great matchup here," Miller says. "The other team looks sharp, and I fully expect them to go all the way here."
"Wait," Herbstreit says, looking confused, "are you saying that you're rooting for the other team here?"
"No. That was an accident."
The audience is abuzz with chatter about Miller's comment. Many people begin asserting that Miller will soon be transferring to a different Family Feud team. Herbstreit has moved down the line to J.T. Barrett.
"So, J.T. Barrett," continues Herbstreit. "You were under-recruited out of high school, overlooked as a prospect, and still managed to pull together a heckuva season. What can you tell us about that?"
"Well," Barrett replies, "people often say that Texas quarterbacks can't throw, miss their targets, and make terrible decisions with the ball...but enough about Tyrone Swoopes. I'm ready to win this game."
Herbstreit gives an award-winning smile and moves on down the line to late-season hero Cardale Jones.
"So, Cardale, you went from being the third-string quarterback to the championship-winning starter. How does it feel?"
"It's an amazing feeling."
"And are you ready to win again here on the show?"
"I'm always ready to win. I just wish my dad could be here with me today for this."
"Oh, I'm sorry. Did he recently pass away?"
"What? No, Tyvis is just in class right now." Jones turns and looks directly into the camera. "Stay in school, kids."
Herbstreit moves down to the final contestant, Brutus Buckeye, who has been shooting tee shirts into the audience this whole time.
"And how about you, Brutus? Are you ready to play?"
Brutus nods violently, then begins to jump around as Seven Nation Army begins to play from somewhere. The people in the sound booth shake their heads; the music isn't coming from any of them. Brutus continues to celebrate, doing one-armed push ups and hitting the sides of his head. Herbstreit and the others all cheer.
"I couldn't have said it better myself, Brutus." Herbstreit walks back to center stage. "We're going to take a quick commercial break. When we come back, we'll meet our other team today, the Michig—wait, where did Harbaugh get a guitar?"
The camera pans out to reveal that Coach Harbaugh is indeed strumming a guitar and screaming out a very harsh cover of Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire. He is drowned out by Seven Nation Army, which Brutus has again summoned from the nothing, and Larry's continued shouting about Dr. Pepper.
The screen cuts to a commercial for ESPN, featuring that Fall Out Boy song that everyone thought they'd never have to hear again.