Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Football seems very far away, the most stressful part of the school year is steadily approaching, the weather is acting like a girl with extreme PMS who can't seem to decide what kind of mood she's in, and my local FOX channel just took Seinfeld off it's nightly schedule (Some thing I will never forgive FOX for this)! I know what you're thinking, 'That's on odd way to start this post given the very positive title'. But the point is that with that heaping pile of crap consuming our lives this is still my favorite part of the year, and here's why:
  1. March Madness Final Four - Well after two weeks of twists and turns we have one of the most improbable final fours of all time, with none of the top 8 seeded teams still around. Does it really get any better than Kemba Walker (With an underrated amount of help from Jeremy Lamb) leading UConn to 5 wins in 5 days to win the Big East tournament than following that up with pulling off a run to the final four in the big dance? Or John Calipari take a very young Kentucky team this far after losing pretty much his entire team to the NBA draft last season? What about VCU, who was not even supposed to be in the tournament if you ask a lot of 'experts', beating number 1 seed Kansas by double digits to make it this far? Or Butler making a crazy unexpected, 'cinderella-like', run in the tournament for the 2nd year in a row, which many people say might be the greatest 2 year tournament run of all time? No matter what angle you take it is impossible to ignore how awesome this tournament is and insanely entertaining. By the way make sure to vote in the weeks poll featured on the left side of this page! (This shameless plug brought to you by Howie Mandel last night on American Idol, I mean really Howie? That was embarrassing for us all..) 
  2. The Masters - I understand golf is not the most popular sport out there but you have to respect the Masters, which begins in a week. The history itself at Augusta National is enough get you hooked and this year has an added twist with the fall of the mighty Tiger. If you can't appreciate the golf then you can at least appreciate the truly beautiful landscaping that will grace your television screen for the very compelling four days.
  3. NBC's Thursday Night Comedy Schedule - No way of denying it, NBC has got it right when it comes to comedy. You'd be hard pressed to find a better lineup than that that includes hits like Community, 30 Rock, The Office, and (my new personal favorite) Parks and Recreation.
  4. Opening Day - Today is the day I've been waiting for for months now. It is opening day in major league baseball which means the start of a season of watching my Yankees, watching and laughing at the Mets (sorry Mets fans), Fantasy Baseball, hotdogs, beautiful Spring and Summer days, and hopefully frequent trips to the ballpark. You have got to love the feeling of opening day and the excitement it brings. You can bet that come 1:00 PM EST today I'll be sitting with the always exciting combination of my girlfriend, chinese food, my Brett "the threat" Gardner shirt jersey, plenty of soda (Enough to fuel countless gassy moments leading to a disgusted look by my aforementioned girlfriend) and watching  New York Yankees baseball. Hopefully this is the beginning another playoff bound season filled with memorable moments. So really now, does it get any better than this?  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We All Have Our 'Pitt Falls'

Well, what can I say? It seems as if my long awaited bracket may in fact be one of the worst brackets of all time.. After a pretty mediocre first (or 'second' if you actually buy in to the fact that the play in games were actually considered the first round... I think not) round I was at least content with the fact that my final 4 teams all preformed very strongly and I only lost one of my elite 8 teams. (Why I decided that Tom Izzo would be able to over achieve THAT much with a less than impressive Michigan State team, I will never know). Then the second ( or 'third'...whatever) round came and I watched Butler upset Pitt, the team I thought would finally win it all, in a crazy finish, crap... Well at least the remaining three teams from my final 4 are still alive, right? right? right? WRONG. The team I picked to play against Pitt in the National Championship game, Syracuse, lost to Big East rival and underdog Marquette. Well, this sucks.. With only half my final 4 still in tact (the half that I didn't have in the national title game by the way) and half of my elite 8 gone, it's not looking good. Safe to say at this point it would appear as if we will have a guest blogger once this tournament is all said and done. I won't show the actual results until the tournament is over but you should all be able to see how you're doing in your bracket on your own.

As depressing as my bracket has been isn't this why we love sports, though? And particularly March Madness? The great thing about sports is that it's not scripted, anything can happen. One week any team can look elite and the next they can fall to far inferior competition. In life we are always looking for an underdog to take our imagination on a wild ride, cheering for the unexpected, and rooting for the improbable. Sports fills this part of our lives and tells us real life stories that even the best hollywood writer couldn't script. So looking back at the first two (or three!) rounds of the tournament, would I change the way I made my picks? I was originally going to say no I wouldn't change them and that it's been a fun ride but who am I kidding? Heck yes I would change my picks! Have you guys seen my bracket? This is just embarrassing.. Please remind me next year that as much as I love the Big East teams during the regular season they tend to disappoint come tourny time. So while I cry myself to sleep tonight because of how worthless my bracket is (True story: Last night I was doing some reading in my room , Bill Simmons' "The Book of Basketball; The NBA According the the Sports Guy",  and I saw an ant crawl across my desk. Wanting to 'dispose' of it i looked for a piece of paper. Sitting in my printer was plenty of paper but I decided that may be valuable in the future so I shouldn't use that. I then saw my bracket sitting there and feeling like it had absolutely no worth to me, I used that to 'do the deed'. Safe to say my opinion of my picks has fallen to an all time low..) I implore you all to enjoy the remaining games of the NCAA tournament because there are sure to be more twists and turns that will keep us coming back for more. Good luck, and enjoy.

Class Dismissed,
The Sports Undergrad


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Sports Undergrad's Bracket!

Here it is guys! The Sports Undergrad has posted his bracket, let the games begin!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Update on Tournament!

Hey guys just an update on the Student of Sports March Madness Tournament Tourny! All completed brackets must be sent to before any games start on Thursday. That's right, Thursday! I know there are the play in games today but I'm giving you guys a pass and you can submit them as late as Thursday as long as they're submitted before game time. Remember, winner of the tournament get's to be a guest blogger on Student of Sports. My completed bracket will go up either tonight or tomorrow so stay posted for further updates. Contact me at

Class Dismissed

The Sports Undergrad


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The March Madness Tournament Tourny

So I was sitting in class today bored and trying to think of something fun to do with the blog. I've had a bit of a lul in the page views and didn't have something I really felt passionate or intelligent enough about to blog about.
I would love to get into the ins and outs of the current NFL labor negotiations but I would probably just do you all a huge disservice seeing as I do not consider myself an expert on a topic like that. I do however, suggest you all check out what Bill Simmons writes about the labor issues on his page on the ESPN website. "Bill Simmons: Greed is good in NFL labor talks" I thought reading this really cleared a lot of things up for me and offerred some unique perspective so I suggest all of you check it out as well.
OK! So enough about that and back to spicing up the page. I've decided that it would be a really awesome idea if I could incorporate the quickly approaching March Madness tournament into the blog. So here'es the plan: 

  • We take this week as an opportunity to watch some of the conference tournaments so we all have a good idea of how we think the upcoming big dance may go.
  • A few days after Selection Sunday I will post on my blog my completed 2011 March Madness bracket.
  • Any of you who are interested in taking me on will send me their completed bracket. (You can do this by emailing it to me at
  • You can also attach what you think good rules for the tournament contest should be. For the time being these will be the rules:
    • 1 point awarded for each victory in the first 2 rounds.
    • 2 points awarded for each victory in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8
    • 4 points awarded for each victory in the Final 4
    • 5 points awarded for selecting the Tournament winner
    • Tie Breaker: How many upsets you selected correctly
    • Note: In order to get points you only need select the winner, not the loser. For example if you have Team A beating Team B in the Sweet 16  in your bracket and in the tournament Team A beats Team C because C knocked out B, You still get the points for picking Team A to win.
  • Once again, feel free to email me with any questions or concerns about to contest, I am not assuming the above format is perfect and would love to get your suggestions. (Reminder: reach me at
  • If anybody actually beats me, the person with the best score will get a chance to write their very own post for the blog that will be published the following week.
So I think this will be a fun way to generate excitement for the blog and a good way to be interactive. Now I'm not idiot and I assume that most of you will have brackets completed for other competitions with possible some more financial incentive to get involved in. I understand this and just urge you to use that bracket and also partake in the contest just for fun. It should be a good time.

I know I will be taking advantage of this early notice for the contest and paying close attention to the conference tournaments this week so I can better build my bracket and I suggest you all do the same. 

Good Luck!

Class Dismissed,
The Sports Undergrad


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

MLB Preview

So last weekend was the start of Spring Training in Major League Baseball and I could not be more pumped. For me this marks the time of year where I can finally kiss the winter goodbye and look forward to sitting in shorts and a t shirt, my hat on backwards, watching America's past time, baseball. This season promises to be as exciting and fun as years past and I cannot wait. 
I'll start my 2011 MLB preview with a focus on the two local clubs, the Yankees and the Mets, then I'll do a pretty general preview of what I think will happen this season in the entire league.

New York Yankees
Most Yankee fans this offseason are upset that the Yankees didn't do enough but I'm pretty content with the way things went. I would have loved seeing Cliff Lee sign with us but the Yanks really couldn't have done anything different in signing him. If you're upset about them not getting Carl Crawford that's a little but ridiculous because they did not need him. This offseason they needed to improve their pitching and over paying for Carl Crawford would just simply not have done that. I like the acquisition of Rafael Soriano because he does help the starting rotation by making it a shorter game. If the combination of Pedro Feliciano, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, and David Robertson can piece together a good 6th and 7th inning then hand it off to Soriano and Mo, the back end of the Yankees rotation will only need to give them 5 productive innings. 
Strengths: Their lineup is still among the leagues best. No pitcher will feel safe having to deal with the 3,4,5 of Mark Texiera-Alex Rodriguez-Robinson Cano. They should be able to produce runs like crazy and can hopefully compensate for their pitching deficiencies. They also have a steller bullpen, as mentioned earlier, that has the ability to shorten games and take a load off the starters.
Weakness: Now way of denying it their starting pitching is a weakness. I love Sabathia and Hughes 1,2 but have major concerns with the rest of the rotation consisting of AJ Burnett, Ivan Nova, and a cornucopia of veterans. If they plan on making the World Series and beating the Red Sox they'll need to make a move by the trade deadline. Fortunately for Yankee fans knowing them, they probably will.
Outcome: I see the Yankees getting off to a seemingly ordinary start but picking up a productive arm at the deadline to make strong late push at the division but losing out to the Red Sox by a few games. I see them going 92-70 and winning the American League Wild card.

New York Mets
If I've learned anything in the past few season is that being a Yankee fan and having no emotional attachment to the Mets whatsoever, I love the Mets. They are the most entertaining franchise in baseball. Whether they're dropping routine fly balls, making bonehead plays on the base paths, or practically losing the franchise to a Madoff trustee they are MLB's lovable losers. I will admit I think by retooling the farm system and being very patient the Mets, under new GM Sandy Alderson, are heading in the right direction. I actually like the pick ups of Chris Young and Chris Capuano as low risk/high reward type pitchers. It'll be interesting to see how this Madoff thing works out and what major stars, if any, will be dealt by the deadline. (think Carlos Beltran or Jose Reyes)
Strengths: Like it or not on paper the Mets actually have a very formidable lineup. The core of Reyes-Pagan-Wright-Beltran-Bay-Davis is one that can match up with most teams out there. They need a big comeback year from Bay and some improvement from Davis but I expect a big year from Reyes, Beltran, and Wright so expect competitive number from the offense.
Weaknesses: Simply put, the pitching. Who knows when Santana will be back? Pelf is afraid of his own shadow, and they're relying on a knuckleballer as their number two starter. I do think however they will get some production out of one of the vets they brought in but overall their pitching will be an achilles heal all year for them and the primary reason they won't make the playoffs.
Outcome: I expect the Mets will hover around .500 all season staying a comfortable distance away from the Phillies. If they're out of contention early they'll make a move to deal Carlos Beltran in an attempt to bulster their farm. If they stay healthy they may have a chance to be in some sort of a wild card race for a little but of time but I don't think that will happen. I see them going 80-82 missing the playoffs.

The Rest of the League Real Quick!
American League: Red Sox win the east with a potent offense and more than formitable pitching staff. Twin to easily get the Central with a healthy Pavono, Mauer, and Morneau. And the Angels to have a bounce back year and win the west with big years from Vernon Wells and Dan Haren. Wildcard goes to the Yankees.
National League: The Phillies run away with the east with the three headed monster in their pitching staff. The Brewers to surprise everyone and with big years from new acquisitions Zack Greinke and Shawn Marcum and win the Central. And the reigning champs, San Francisco Giants, to ride their pitching to win the West. The Wildcard will go to the Atlanta Braves as the continue to display good, consistant pitching and expect big years from Jason Heyward and the newly acquired Dan Uggla.

 World Series:  Yankees over Phillies in 7 games.

Class Dismissed,
The Sports Undergrad