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You must choose: Eight NC State football wins guaranteed, or a gamble with the Pack’s potential?

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There’s no going back from this moment.

Florida State v North Carolina State Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

A genie happens to pop out of a half-crushed beer can you’re walking past on the street; he halts you in your tracks, points directly at you, and begins:

“You there, humble sports-fearing human, if you can take one—”

“A billion dollars!”

He chuckles. “No, you see, mere speck of existence, what I am in fact askin—”

“A billion dollars!”

“YOU CAN’T HAVE ANY MONEY.”

“Can I have five bucks?”

He dunks you into a trash can. “No.

“But you may have wins; more specifically, football wins.”

You spit out a banana peel and wipe off several half-eaten chicken nuggets from your shirt. “I see.”

“But you must accept those wins now, knowing full well it will remove a significant amount of suspense from the forthcoming football season.”

“In that case I wish for future football amnesia.”

“Of for the love of— Listen, this is about a gift of a measure of certainty, where none would otherwise exist. You may find this a small kindness but I live in a Milwaukee’s Best can and I have a family to support; there’s no time for large kindnesses. Several millennia ago, perhaps, but not now.”

“If you’re going to go on like this I’ll need at least 20 bucks an hour.”

He dunks you into a large vat of spoiled teriyaki sauce. “Where the hell did this even come from?”

“I’m not completely out of the game.”

“Fine. What’s this about, then.” You throw up seven times.

“Yes, exactly.”

You glance back at the Milwaukee’s Best can, searching for some measure of common ground. “You know, I really thought Mr. 3000 was an underrated film.” He snaps his fingers and an above-ground pool filled with mustard-based barbecue sauce appears. You shield your face with your arms in surrender. “Okay, okay, okay, fine, okay, fine, what is it?”

“Better. I bring to you this choice: you can take, here and now, an 8-4 football season that includes four conference wins, though you cannot know the names or dates of those four defeats. Or you can choose instead to gamble fully with uncertainty and throw this opportunity away. They may win more; they very well may win less. You must choose.”

“Can I shower first?”