Look, I know March has always been steeped in a blizzard of annual college basketball madness. Heck, in college, my roommate and I would pool our pizza money together in order to purchase cable for one month. The whole point was to overdose on as many NCAA tournament games as possible.
After that, who needs cable?
But as I sat down to look at this year’s newfound field of 68 — purely for entertainment purposes, of course, because who in their right mind risks money on the whims of 18 and 19 year olds bouncing a ball? — it dawned on me that the NCAA tournament is unique. What other sporting event has spawned its own profession?
Nobody says they are a Super Bowlologist — they’re just NFL football fans. You’re not a World Seriesologist — you’re a lover of America’s pastime. You’re not an NBA Finalologist — you’re someone in early June with entirely too much time on your hands and a misplaced television remote.
But go to any sports site on the Internet these days — Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS Sports — and you inevitably will run into that newest of professional titles.
Now, admittedly, I’ve never actually seen a job posting for a bracketologist. I don’t know the qualifications. I imagine the ad copy goes something like this, however:
“Do you know the mascots of Maine, Pepperdine, Northern Colorado, Manhattan and Prairie View? Can you recite the hyphenated California schools from memory in 30 seconds or less and tell the difference between Ohio St. crimson and Wisconsin red on first sight? Can you name any member of the starting five at South Dakota? If so, consider an exciting career in bracketology.”
I’m sure there’s more to it than that. Probably even some math since you have to understand that whole RPI concept — or at least be able to offer some garbled example laced with enough mathematical jargon to cause folks’ eyes to glaze over before they realize you don’t understand it any better than they do.
After two semesters of helping the Sports Gal with her college algebra classes, I can do that. Trust me.
Look, once upon a time I was content to simulate the entire NCAA tournament on my PlayStation 2 and get away with calling it “computer research.” Not any more. My aspirations are loftier. I must be a bracketologist.
For the record: Kansas 67, Kentucky 62.