Do you know the problem with the NCAA basketball tournament?
It isn't the fact that some teams with a chance of competing are left to the NIT as an after-thought to many American sports fans. It isn't that we have four play-in games now, making filling out your bracket just that much more difficult. It isn't that many games will now be telecast on the Turner family of networks, including truTV (formerly Court TV). No, despite whatever gripe you may or may not have with the "new-and-improved" version of March Madness, the number one problem is this: we only get that kind of raw hardwood college intensity during the month of March.
Well, in this regard, I have good and bad news.
The bad news is that there's very little I can do about this issue. The good news is that I scoured NCAA rule books and legislations for hours and there was absolutely nothing saying that we weren't allowed to fill out our own brackets any time we wanted!
Unfortunately, certain NCAA sanctions prevent us from staging our own personal out-of-season tournament using actual collegiate teams. But that's exactly when it hit me! What do I love more than sports itself? PEOPLE WHO MAKE A LIVING TALKING ABOUT SPORTS!
That's when it was born: The OKC Sports Media Spectacular. Inspired mostly by a famous (infamous?) ranking I devised a few years ago for a different blog, its a good way to pass the time during the NBA down-time.
The format of the tournament isn't exactly rocket surgery, but needs some explaining nonetheless. It's a basic 16-person bracket including Oklahoma City sports media personalities seeded 1 to 16. The seeding was done by yours truly, with consideration going into the particular person's overall impact on the local sports scene. By this I mean how many viewers/listeners/readers is this media personality able to reach and how many in that audience actually care about what that person has to say. All other attributes, such as veteranship, entertainment-value, and major sport experience were also considered, but only as bonus.
In order to spice things up a bit, I decided to give out "automatic bids" to those who I felt were the best representatives from the major media outlets within the city. These seven major outlets (as determined by me) include KFOR Channel 4, KOCO Channel 5, KWTV Channel 9, KOKH Fox 25, WWLS: The Sports Animal, The Oklahoman, and those involved in Thunder television broadcasts (Fox Sports Oklahoma).
Most of the automatic qualifiers would have made the tournament on their own accord, but one or two may not have made it otherwise. If you have a problem with any of the media outlets I included (or didn't include), note that I was trying to be as representative as I could while still allowing bracket flexibility.
With 7 spots accounted for, I filled in the rest of the bracket with the nine next best "at-larges." These spots were filled with no regard to the station or publication the person happened to be representing.
Without further adieu, the 2010 OKC Sports Media Spectacular Bracket:
The Bob Barry Senior Region
(1) Al Eschbach*
(16) Daniel Holdge*
(8) Mike Steely
(9) John Rohde
(5) Bob Barry Jr.*
(12) Mark Rodgers
(4) Dean Blevins*
(13) Craig Humphreys
The Bill Teegins Region
(3) Berry Tramel*
(14) Jenni Carlson
(6) Matt Pinto
(11) Pat Jones
(7) Brian Davis*
(10) Toby Rowland
(2) Jim Traber
(15) Myron Patton*
*-denotes automatic bid
Now that we have a bracket, we need a way to determine a winner. As much as we'd like to get a shirts and skins best 1-on-1 basketball tourney going, several additions to the field made this a somewhat distasteful option. Therefore, we decided that there was no better way determine a winner than through the votes of the reader.
Each coming day, a new match-up will be available for you the vote on using your own criteria and judgment. You have 24 hours to help decide the outcome until the next match-up is posted. At the end of each round we'll post a short recap and then continue with the proceeding round on the next day. Therefore, the voting schedule SHOULD go down as follows:
July 27: Eschbach vs Holdge
July 28: Steely vs Rohde
July 29: Barry, Jr. vs Rodgers
July 30: Blevins vs Humphreys
July 31: Tramel vs Carlson
August 1: Pinto vs Jones
August 2: Davis vs Rowland
August 3: Traber vs Patton
August 4: Round 1 Recap
August 5: Bob Barry Sr Regional Semi 1
August 6: Bob Barry Sr Regional Semi 2
August 7: Bill Teegins Regional Semi 1
August 8: Bill Teegins Regional Semi 2
August 9: Round 2 Recap
August 10: Bob Barry Sr Regional Final
August 11: Bill Teegins Regional Final
August 12: Round 3 Recap
August 13: The Championship Match
August 14: Ode To The Champion
So, with all of this establish, I have but a few more things to say to you. First, VOTE! Second, invite your friends to vote (if you have any). Third, if you have any issues with the bracket or any of my procedures – if you think I'm the biggest nincompoop this side of Red River, if you think I should be involuntarily sterilized in order to prevent the possibility of spreading such irresponsible stupidity that could only have been a product of inbreeding – don't be afraid to let me hear about it. I have a reason for all of my selections, rather or not it is a just one is up to your own interpretation. Remember, all I did was lay down the framework of tournament. Whatever happens after that is completely out of my hands.