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The Sweet Sistene: Pope-Picking Brackets

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(credit: CBS 11 News)

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - A man from Iowa thinks he’s figured out a way to pick the next pope. Think cardinal conclave meets the Sweet 16 in college basketball.

Tom Rauen is a 30-year-old, Catholic, t-shirt entreprenuer in Iowa. He combined the two into brackets that he’s calling the Sweet Sistine.

He says, his website, www.popebracket.com generated 30,000 views the first day it was up.

CBS 11 spoke to Rauen via SKYPE.

“You know, some people would be offended by it. But then, otehr people could have a great time with it,” he said.

Rauen chose 16 men and included their odds. He even added his local priest.

“I showed it to him after mass and he absolutely loved it. He thought it was the funniest thing ever,” Rauen said.

While the Dallas Diocese wasn’t exactly “ROTF,” it did give its blessing.

Annette Gonzales Taylor, the Diocese Communication Director, said, “We have a sense of humor. And we think it’s, you know. It’s funny. But, it’s also a way to get people engaged. To get Catholics engaged and non-Catholics.”

John Bush is Catholic and a fan of college basketball.

“I follow it religiously,” he said.

He and his brothers are rooting for a Pope from America.

“I think that’s a long shot. But then long shots and Cinderella stories have made it in March madness. So, who knows?” he asked.

For these Cardinals, it’s a whole new ball game.

Tom Rauen is the owner of Envision Screen Printing in Dubuque, Iowa. He’s created a buzz for his t-shirt company before by putting on 247 t-shirts to secure a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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