One sports team or another is often heavily favored to beat another. But that expectation doesn't eliminate the need to play the game.
Indeed, many heavily favored teams have lost.
So what is televangelist Pat Robertson thinking when he predicts a "blowout" for President George W. Bush in November's election?
The short answer is that he's not thinking.
His pronouncement that Bush will win in a landslide no matter what he does is reckless. It may not be accurate, for one thing. But more importantly, such thinking could lead Bush supporters to haughty overconfidence. And if too many of them stay home, the president loses.
This is an incredibly important election. We've engaged a treacherous enemy in a war for our very way of life. We've got a Supreme Court teetering over the edge of liberalism - and, therefore, meddling activism and moral rudderlessness. We've got a legislative branch that is so evenly split it can only come off as schizophrenic.
Clear-thinking Americans must engage in this election as never before. Too much is at stake.
One wonders at weak moments if it's a good idea for some people to vote. A new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press indicates one-fifth of young adults consider the often unreliable Internet their No. 1 source of campaign news. Perhaps worse, a similar number of young voters get their political news chiefly from comedy shows.
And cagey candidates, who once sat for interviews with probing journalists, have moved on from the soft - Larry King - to the silly: The road to any major office now passes through Jay Leno and David Letterman.
All the more reason for serious and focused voters to get involved.
The campaign is entirely too long. We know that. But it's too important to tune out.
And there's too much hanging in the balance to think anything is assured.