If James Naismith were alive today, he would be grilling Kielbasa

and cursing his brackets, just like the rest of us.


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Never the Champ?

The 2015 Smackdown began much like any other...


March 24, the banter was as follows:


I usually start to ponder my concession letter when I fill out my bracket.  Derek taught me to think like a loser.


~ John Witmayer


I am unaccustomed to this early elimination. I will be taking a sabbatical from the Strings Department to write my letter. I am too distraught to teach.

~Aron "Who should take time to smell the roses and watch some basketball in 2016?" Rider

The following arrived from Smackdown Central, suggesting a perilous end to things...


Kansas was beaten by a superior Wichita State team. I am not sure why those words are so painful to type, but however difficult – they are true. And something about losing to Wichita State makes this worse than a ‘run of the mill’ round of 32 loss. But props to Mark “Wu-Shock” Vetter and the rest of Shocker Nation. Wichita State’s Kung Fu was just plain better.

Additionally, we here at the Smackdown may be on the cusp of witnessing history. They say that even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while – and Derek may have finally found his nut…

After two full rounds, Derek is in first place with 198 points on 39 correct choices. He is followed by Barry Smith, who is heroically trying to do his part to save humanity. Barry, in turn, is followed by the momma bear, Sarah Palin.

This may get funky, people.

Finally, a number of us have been mathematically eliminated. So please go ahead and start pondering your letters of concession.

Smackdown Central



Concession letters started arriving early:


You've all heard the sound. The one that water makes as it's being pulled quickly, circuitously into the drainpipe. There are various levels of intensity with which we are all familiar, from your run-of-the-mill bathroom sink, to the sound made when water is evacuated from the toilet, and the somewhat louder version when you unplug a clogged drain in an overfull basin. I've even been nearby when entire reservoir was drained through a breach in a dam and heard the roar of the rushing water, accentuated by the sucking sound of the vortex created as the water was inextricably pulled to elsewhere. I've heard stories about the massive whirlpool created in Lake Peigneur in Louisiana when an oil company mistakenly drilled in the wrong place, and the scaled-up version of that bathtub-drain sound that resulted from that error. I imagine that if there was air in space near a black hole, that the cacophony created by light and matter being pulled in and decimated by the ultra-intense gravity of the well would be similar to, albeit far grander than, the roar of largest whirlpool experienced on Earth.  Unfortunately, all of those of those noises pale in comparison to the blaring, sucking sound of my performance in this Smackdown. 
With that, and barely a hope of placing somewhere higher than last place and certainly nowhere close to the Derekadoza line (which Lord help us may be anywhere below the No. 1 spot for the first time in history, although I'm still rooting for someone else to eke by him), I concede my defeat.  To [person to be named at a later date, hopefully not Derek] congratulations on the win. With the blood-letting of this tournament, it was an honor to lose to someone like you. May you bask in the glory of your win, at least until next year.  [Alternatively, if Derek should win: Lord help us all! It is the end of times!]


Since Derek and I both picked Duke vs. Kentucky in the championship game with Kentucky winning, I can no longer surpass Derek in the standings. He is the champion. I can tell you from being his pastor here in Roseburg, that he is a champion in more ways then one! Congratulations, Derek!

Andrew Farhat


I will relay the quote of the evening from our household after Gonzaga lost tonight: "Well, Andrew Farhat is dead to us now."
But, technically, Barry could tie Derek. Unless my math is off, which is always a possibility since I am trying to do taxes simultaneously here.

Now for the problem: root for my little brother to prevent Derek from winning outright? I know this is the Derek Smackdown and all, but root for Barry? Really?

Amy Smith


As well as prayers...

As I sit here, Derek leads the Smackdown. I know, it's tragic. Worse than Bosnia. He may very well win this thing. But I always knew it was technically possible, Yet the knowledge of the possibility was always a distant thing. It was like nightmare conjured up by village elders in order to frighten the children. Scary, but not the sort of idea you took seriously. Like zombies, or a meteor strike, or another Bush presidency. But now that the end is nigh, I am not sure
I am prepared for the horrors that await us if he actually wins. Surely dark days are ahead. I rarely give legal, financial or romantic advice, for obvious reasons. But if Derek somehow wins the Smackdown, then I for one will be quickly divesting myself of any remaining funds in my eTrade account. I will then head to my well fortified bunker in the mountains that I have specially prepared for just this occasion. And I will hopefully see you all on the other side.

Or he may lose and western civilization, and all we love and hold dear, will remain.
Good luck to all, and may God Save America.

The desperation was heart breaking...

I can't concede yet as I'm still madly calculating all of the possible outcome of these final 11 games to see if someone...ANYONE...can defeat Derek.  Yes, I'm even willing to root for (gasp!) SARAH PALIN if it means Derek won't win.).
GO NC State!
Paul Smith



A tragedy of this magnitude is inconceivable. Has it really come to this?

Scotty M.



Even the President conceded... Derek had won the Smackdown.


The Smackdon is over and Derek Simmons won.

And there is not a damn thing we can do about it.

~ The President of the United States of America


But some remained in denial...


Nope. Not buying it.

If you were to tell me that Sasquatch was alive and well in the mountain forests of western Kansas, I could believe that.
If you were to tell me that aliens once visited Dodge City for bingo night, I could believe that.
If you were to tell me that the Royals might make it to a World Series, I could … well, maybe not believe that.
But if you think for a minute I’ll believe Derek will legitimately win the Smackdown, well that makes me chuckle.
Oh, sure, the rankings show he has the most points. But this is a man, after all, whose best results in past years have come from using “eeny meeny miny moe” to fill out his bracket. Last year his own son beat him, and Alex, dear boy, didn’t know his Valparaiso from his Villanova.
What’s really going on? We may never know.
Maybe Rand is in on the take. Maybe Derek had Alex hack the CBS site, with the promise that Alex would never have to wear KU face paint to school on St. James Day again. Maybe Derek used an Ouija Board to seek answers in the great, misty beyond from Phoggy Allen. Maybe Derek made a pact with
the (Blue) Devil or with the even more evil John Calipari.

Maybe the butler did it.
What we do know is that something is fantastically, horribly, epically amiss.
So you believe what you want to believe.
As for me, I’m just putting a great big ol’ asterisk by this year and forgetting it ever happened.




I don't understand all these concession letters that are issued before the championship trophy is awarded. While I certainly do not reject that mathematics, being what it is, means some of us are pretty unlikely to win the Smackdown, conceding now would be a little like West Virginia not coming out of the locker room for the 2nd half against Kentucky.



And some... bless their hearts... couldn't help but ponder the future...


With so-called "father" in the lead and everyone else mathematically eliminated, this whole "Smackdown" business is shot to hell. And that's putting it nicely. There was considerably more swearing and throwing of heavy objects involved the last time I tried to respond to the recent crisis. I have an appointment scheduled with a therapist this Monday, actually, in an effort to avoid the inevitable trauma that will come with this latest development. Hopefully, this will help me come to terms with this gruesome occurrence.

I am faced with an issue. And that issue is the fact that [tears spill on to the keyboard] the Smackdown, a fixture of my childhood, [sobs aloud] may no longer be valid. On the other hand, if this IS the case, I am no longer bound by its rules, and I do not have to write a concession letter!

So I come to you not with a concession letter, but a philosophical discussion. What happens to the Smackdown now?

It is clearly mutilated and destroyed beyond repair, so what do we do with ourselves, these three weeks of every year, when we usually are locked in our respective rooms, plotting how to rub my dad's inevitable loss in his face once again? (Alas, his loss is no longer inevitable!) Is the Smackdown a hereditary mantle, passed from father to the next in line? (Which, incidentally, I would suggest probably should be Uncle Rand.) Is it annihilated entirely?

Or does something else happen to it, something unfathomable, that my attention span is too short to type out?

What happens to this beast we have created, the Smackdown? I, for one, believe we should all gather in the secret underground government base in Maryland , built solely for the purpose of dealing with problem such as this and on this magnitude, and try to pick lacrosse brackets. Then the person with the coolest hair would have the Smackdown mantle passed to them. What are your opinions, (former) Smackdown participants?

This question cannot be allowed to go unanswered. Discuss amongst yourselves


Alex, aka, Derek the Younger


March 30, 2015

Dispatch from Smackdown Central:



This year’s Smackdown has been mystifying, disturbing and just plain weird.

First of all, it appears that John Calipari may actually have an undefeated season. That is wrong on so many levels. We here at Smackdown Central were never so close to converting to Catholicism as on Saturday when Notre Dame was up 8 points on Kentucky. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Of course that pales in comparison with the unfortunate probability that Derek will finally win the Smackdown. It is difficult for us here at Smackdown Central to even write these words. Unfortunately, we all knew this day might come. We are trying to be brave, but we are also trying very hard not to stay sober enough to do the math. For what it is worth, we are not doing concession letters until this thing is all the way over.

Finally, it has come to the attention of management that a number of participants have gotten the idea that we here at Smackdown Central would somehow contrive to manipulate the Smackdown in such a way that Derek would win. We would point out that we here at Smackdown Central know from suffering - we actually shared a room with Derek for 18 years – the length of time that the Smackdown has been in existence!

Ultimately, it is our fervent hope that the Smackdown Field will choose not to turn on each other, but instead to choose a different path. Tests are a gift and a great test is a great gift. We may have to use this unfortunate turn of events as inspiration, as a challenge to overcome. After 18 years, it may be time to redefine the Smackdown. We have some time to consider how we might want to do that.


Smackdown Central

P.S. Go Badgers!


On April 1, the law was called in.




April 3, 2015 - The following was received by Smackdown Central:


The Oregon Supreme Court, with breathtaking speed, has acted on our petition for a writ of mandamus and has directed Rand to exercise all of his authority as Smackdown Commissioner to stop Derek from winning. The court's opinion is attached. I think this puts this matter to rest.

Paul Smith

 (click here to read entire document)





April 5, from Smackdown Central:


We here at Smackdown Central are consulting with legal counsel regarding the various and sundry issues provoked by this year's Smackdown.

We will issue a statement on the morning of Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Until then, we would ask for calm from the Smackdown Community. Also, no concession letters will be accepted prior to that statement.

We thank you for your consideration.

Smackdown Central



There was something in the air that evening. Something that left the participants of the 2015 Smackdown feeling uneasy. Was their world about to change forever? Could they be about to witness the end of an era?


The evening of April 6, however, a missive from the Pope arrived...


...as well as this note, from the Honorable Judge Witmayer:


Yesterday at Easter dinner Derek said it was mathematically impossible for him not to win. He was kinda like Thomas Dewey in 1948 claiming (wrongly) to have beat Harry Truman in the Presidential election.



...and finally, this word from the champion:


YAY!!!! I was only aiming for best of the Smiths, but this is the best Easter Surprise ever! Go Duke! Go math!

Amy Smith





page updated: 4/8/ 2015

Photos of James Naismith courtesy of The Naismith Foundation. Used with permission