With brackets in ruins, count Cowherd as a Florida Gulf Coast disciple

My NCAA tournament brackets are in shambles. The South regional, in particular, looks like a vast Loser Wasteland. And no amount of Smithwicks (left over from St. Patrick's Day) can put a happy face on the horror that has been done there. Believe me, I've tried.

Did I mention I had Georgetown going to the Final Four?


I should probably mention that.

And you know who knocked Georgetown out of the Big Dance, of course. Yes, the team that torched my dreams is none other than America's new darling, that scrappy bunch from the school no one's ever heard of, Florida Gulf Coast University, coached by Andy Enfield, who no one had ever heard of after he played for Johns Hopkins years ago.

Thanks, Eagles. Thanks a whole bunch.

But a funny thing happened as my brackets went up in flames and I sullenly swilled my Smithwicks while clicking between the dozens of games on TV last weekend: good 'ol 15th-seed FGCU won me over.

This, it pains me to say, is one fun team to watch.

They race up and down the court like the gym's about to close and they got last game. They fly through the air and corral alley-oops with one hand and throw down vicious, rim-rattling dunks.

They strut and preen and laugh, and when they have a team on the ropes, they don't let up – they stick it to them even more. And their post-game dances -- and the sheer joy they take in celebrating wins -- will make you laugh out loud.

The most entertaining player of all might be point guard Brett Comer, who's a magician with the ball. He's never met a no-look or alley-oop pass he didn't like and he had 14 assists as FGCU  -- doesn't that just roll off the tongue? -- hammered San Diego State last weekend.

You may have noticed Comer has an inscription tattooed on his right arm, an inscription that looks longer than a transcript of a Senate sub-committee hearing.

It's a tribute to his late father, who died of lung cancer a few years ago. Comer wrote it himself.

It reads:

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. You may not control all the events that happen to you. But you can decide not to be reduced by them. Love never hate; forgive but never forget. Live the life you've dreamed to the fullest.

-Pursuit of Happiness.

FGCU has pretty much killed my pursuit of happiness when it comes to cashing in a winning bracket sheet.


But I'm moving on. And now I want the Eagles to move on, too, all the way to the Final Four and beyond, no matter the odds. Which is why I'll be pulling hard for them when they meet mighty Florida, the No. 3 seed, Friday night in Arlington, Texas.

Win or lose, I'll have a couple of Smithwicks in the Eagles' honor.

They've been that amazing to watch.