$1B exists at end of rainbow

Isn’t it awesome being an American?

In what other country would a company sponsor a contest where the winner is guaranteed $1 billion? The only requirement is picking every game correctly of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Thanks to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the Quicken Loans’ Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge will commence in March. A perfect entry results in 40 annual installments of $25 million.

Of course, correctly selecting 67 winners is no easy task. For instance, of all the millions of entries filled out in ESPN’s College Bowl Mania this past bowl season the closest anyone came to perfection was six incorrect picks out of a possible 35.

Yet, imagine the fervor of someone flirting with perfection during March Madness. The tournament alone creates unparalleled excitement. Now add the prize money into the equation and the first word that comes to mind is ‘bonkers.’

The media frenzy would not only be in-tune to the college basketball teams advancing each round, but also on the individual or individuals trying to earn a check they couldn’t spend in a lifetime.

Reminds me of the lottery and Mega Millions – except these are games of complete chance. Your numbers are at the mercy of a spinning wheel and random numbers.

Doesn’t sound very entertaining to me. I would rather take my wife’s route and do the scratch-offs. Now you’re talking drama.

At least with college basketball, educated guesses come into play. No 16th-seeded team has ever upset a No. 1 seed. That’s four correct picks down and 63 remaining.

From there, you are on your own. I compare it to my days of preparing for the ACTs and SATs. There are guides to help you study for the exams, but you either know it or you don’t.

Same goes for college basketball. As long as you stay abreast of game scores, standings and injuries during the regular season you have a fighting chance.

Then again, I remember one year of our family bracket pool and my nephew who was in third grade at the time based his picks on mascots. Guess who won the traveling trophy that year? He did.

Could you imagine a reporter asking the winner of the $1 billion prize and his method for picking games? I’m sure all sorts of methods will be in play.

But here comes the hard part. Say you have a family of six. Entries are limited to one per household. It becomes a contest within a contest in order to determine which family member earns the right to turn in their picks.

Or maybe, everyone is included in the selection process. A group effort, so to speak.

The combinations are limitless. That’s why when Selection Sunday arrives and college basketball teams learn their fate in the tournament draw, $1 billion is in play.

Contact Kerry Patrick at kpatrick@newsandsentinel.com