Elimination games are cool.
The Sword of Season's End that hangs over them is part of why the NCAA Tournament for men's basketball is so beloved, why Games 7 are so lionized, why college football's regular season feels like four months of bloodsport, why the NFL playoffs are so transfixing.
Florida and Virginia get to play such a game on Saturday (8 p.m., ESPN or WatchESPN), in which one team's months-long journey will culminate in a chance to play for a national championship — and the other team's months-long journey will just end.
Elimination games are cruel, too.
Florida has been through two of them this postseason, and scored 10 runs in each; those games, against Miami on Wednesday and Virginia on Friday, felt less like elimination games for Florida than exhibitions for the Gators' offense.
But Florida has experienced despair in this NCAA Tournament, too, in a 1-0 loss to Virginia that pushed them to that brink of extinction. That felt like an end — but it wasn't, thankfully, just a trapdoor to the trapdoor that leads to it.
Maybe that's why the Gators played looser, and better, in their last two games.
Maybe the best way to avoid it ending is simply to play on.
But maybe's one of the best things about elimination games, too.
Maybe Florida will lose this one — but maybe, just maybe, Florida will win.