I am a big sports fan. My love of literature and film aside; my beard and unkempt hair aside; my everything else that does not a sports fan stereotype make aside. I love sports. I watch even more sports than shows about buying, selling and fixing houses. Even more than all those ‘Top’-type shows. I have been a life-long (disgruntled) Philly fan. I had just turned four the last time any of my teams won anything. But I persist. I have adopted the Cincinnati teams, only fearing those rare occasions when a Philly team plays a Cincinnati team (it would seem only too fitting that if a Philly team were to win a championship they would have to beat a Cincinnati team to get there or in the actual championship game).

Having proclaimed my love of sports, here is what I hate…ESPN. It used to be great. They showed highlights; lots of them. They talked about actual sports, instead of pretending that these failed or former jocks know anything about the penal code. And they used to show sports. Now, with the exception of certain times of the year–like right now, actual sporting events have gone the way of the music video (ok, it is not quite that bad). If you are lucky you get two hours a day out of 24 hours of original programming (you can extrapolate this 1 to 12 ratio out over all of the ESPN channels if you’d like) that are pure, unadulterated sports–well, depending on who is calling the game.

Before going too far I should add that I do not hate all of ESPN. There are a handful of personalities who are not dreadful, one that is good (Bill Simmons) and  two that are great–Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. These guys understand the power of, and the place for, sports; perspective lost on most of the heads on the family of channels. I watch, listen or read them in all of their multimedia forms.

My ire today is toward those bloody bracketologists (this is not a real word). I am sure they are nice people, but their existence is crazy to me, and is symptomatic of what is wrong with ESPN overall. Too much prognostication, not enough…what is the right word…sports.

So here is my response to these people and to ESPN who spends so much time guessing and guessing and guessing. I spent an hour this morning looking at all the teams who might get in or are in the tourney and have made my list of 65–this from a guy who so far on his blog has reviewed food (two more restaurants coming soon), movies, written an essay about Ohio politics and tried to start a novel–and if I even come close to doing as well as all those at ESPN, they should all be fired and ESPN should go back to just showing games and highlights. A guy can dream.

The List:

American

Arizona

Arkansas

Austin Peay

Baylor

Belmont

Boise State

Butler

BYU

Cal State Fullerton

Clemson

Coppin State

Cornell

Davidson

Dayton

Drake

Duke

George Mason

Georgetown

Gonzaga

Indiana

Kansas

Kansas State

Kent State

Kentucky

Louisville

Marquette

Memphis

Miami

Michigan State

Mississippi State

Mississippi Valley State

Mount St. Mary’s

Notre Dame

Oklahoma

Oral Roberts

Oregon

Pittsburgh

Portland State

Purdue

San Diego

Siena

South Alabama

Southland Team

St. Joseph

St. Mary’s

Stanford

Temple

Tennessee

Texas

Texas A&M

UCLA

Uconn

UMBC

UNC

UNLV

USC

Vanderbilt

Villanova

Washington State

West Virginia

Western Kentucky

Winthrop

Wisconsin

Xavier

 

 Note: If Illinois and Georgia win today, then Dayton and Villanova are out, with Dayton being the first out. These two teams will probably not make the tourney anyway, but they should as they have the best resumes amongst many mediocre teams. Plus, I need to give some love to my A10 and Big East-loving friends.

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