I know I promised to keep these weekend blogs shorter but going to go long form here today on the Flyover Sports "Sports Personalities Bracket". Thought about saving it until Monday but I'll be coming back from Spring Break in Chicago and there should already be enough stuff to talk about then after Selection Sunday. So I'm going longer today. There's just nothing better than a single-elimination, bracket style tournament. It just makes everything better. That's what the Flyover Sports Podcast is putting on in March. Again, if you haven't followed this on Twitter yet get on it because I plan on spending a lot of time breaking down this bracket and making my bracket selections in upcoming Three Counts next week. @flyoversports_
Now if anyone knows how hard it is to make a bracket, it's me. I run a Sup? Tournament every year on Facebook that pits my friends against each other in a single elimination tournament. It's so much fun, mostly because of the survive-and-advance feel that a tournament bracket creates. But creating that bracket is no easy task, as easy as it may look. It's not about just throwing random names down on the lines and seeing how it plays out. You have to seed everyone 1 through whatever, then place people in pods, and then place people in groups. You have to look for not only entertaining first round pairings but also potential entertaining second, third, and fourth round meetings. You also have to look for potential openings for upsets and sleepers. It's a process. Even when you think you are done, you're not done. In 2014, I had to have my Selection Sunday Show on Monday because my YouTube video wouldn't load in time and then once it did everything was off on the timing so I had to redo it and show it on Monday. Then in 2016, I accidentally put the same guy down twice. He had taken the place of another guy's spot in the field and was in two different regions. Bracket making is tough.
So I appreciate the work the the Flyover Sports Podcast has done to put this together and let me enjoy it. Running the Sup? Tournament I never get to actually experience and participate in it so I'm very much looking forward to seeing how this bracket plays out and being a part of it. I just wanted to get all that out there before I start bashing the bracket's creator Nathan Welsch in the next couple sections.
In case you missed it yesterday, here was the complete bracket to this year's tournament:
SHOULD BE OUT
1. Pam Oliver - I was shocked when I saw her name show up on my screen during the Selection Show. I could have been making a 64 person field and I don't think she would have made my cut. There is zero chance in hell she is winning a first round matchup against anyone. If she gets to 25% of the vote I'd even be surprised. This was egregious. Welsch putting her in the tournament was even a bigger cluster-bleep than him rigging his Flyover Sports contest so his brother could win it.
2. Mike Patrick - I had to Google who Mike Patrick even was. Maybe that's an indictment on me too but I watch enough sports to the point where if I don't know who you are you can't be taking up a place in a prestigious 32 person field.
3. Bob Uecker - I love Bob Uecker. Everyone loves Bob Uecker. He doesn't announce games anymore though. If this tournament was in 2007 and not 2017 then I'm all-in with Harry Doyle. But this seems like a reach to me.
4. Keith Jackson - Everything said about Uecker applies to Keith Jackson here. You gotta be present to be in the tournament. If not, then you can bring legends back from all eras and it's a completely different tournament. (NOTE: I'll allow Vin Scully since he has worked a full season in the past year). And even if you do put Keith in the tournament, you can't put him at a 1 seed. That's like putting Michigan State on a 1 line this year because Tom Izzo won a lot of championships back in the day.
5. Terry Bradshaw - I don't hate this pick since he has some personality and he's only an 8 seed but if I have to cut people to make room for new selections, he's an east cut for me. Not sure he belongs in a 32 person field where it should be the elite of the elite.
And finally, here are my list of people who were snubbed in the Flyover Sports bracket this year. I'll start with 5 personal favorites of mine who shouldn't have made the bracket but I'd like to give some love to anyways. And then the final five are people who should definitely be pissed about not making the field this year, in reverse order.
A. Keith Murphy - A close personal friend of mine. Would have loved to see him make a run.
B. Chris Hassel - I get him not being in the tourney since he's an Iowa guy and this is a national tournament
C. Reggie Miller - I know he gets hated on during telecasts but I love him.
D. Peter Rosenberg - Really starting to make moves on ESPN and WWE. Going to have a huge next 5 years.
E. Verne Lundquist - He gets the Vin Scully treatment. Still allowed in tourney because of work in the past year.
SHOULD BE IN
5. Stephen A. Smith - I'm actually OK with Stephen A. Smith being off the list because I don't really care for him that much but when you think "Sports Personalities" I'd be shocked if Stephen A. isn't one of the first 5 or 10 people that come to your mind. He's a presence. He's a force. He's gotta be in the tournament. And if he's the villain, then so be it. That's Pro Wrestling 101. You need some "bad guys" in the tournament, some people to root against.
4. Kirk Herbstreit - He's basically the face of college football. And I don't know if you guys have picked up on this or not in the past couple decades but college football has become fairly popular. He's the announcer for the biggest night game of the week every week on ABC, he's a prominent figure on College Game Day every Saturday morning, and he's ESPN's go-to guy to breakdown and preview college football every week in the fall. That's a heck of a resume that Nathan apparently glossed over.
3. Doc Emrick - I know hockey is a niche sport for some but Doc is the best announcer in sports today now that Vin Scully has retired. And UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT: Vin Scully was a little overrated. I know I've only heard him call like 2 games in my entire life. And I don't think I'm in the minority on that front. If you've ever listened to Doc Emrick call a game though, it really is something to behold. His verbiage is unparalleled. And with playoff hockey, he gets so many intense, big-time moments to call. If we are putting other play by play guys or color analysts in the bracket then Doc has to be in there as well, no questions asked.
2. Dan LeBatard - Hard to have a Sports "Personalities" bracket without one of the most entertaining shows in sports being represented in some way. I just put Dan LeBatard in the title since he is the most well-known of the group but you couldn't go wrong with either Dan, Stugotz, or Papi. They balance humor and sports better than anyone. They don't take sports too serious, all while maintaining a measure of seriousness that other shows can't top. All three should be in the bracket and not even one made the field. Tough break for the guys in Miami.
1. Jeff Van Gundy - An unbelievable oversight by Welsch. He's basically the voice of the NBA. Between college football and the NFL, I'd guess there are roughly 15 football announcers in the field but the voice of the NBA can't make the field? He's insightful, entertaining, and doesn't mind being controversial. Not a Dan Dakich type of controversial just for the sake of being controversial, but he'll say things he believes in no matter what other people think. Tough to have a sports personalities bracket without JVG in there.