If you’ve come here for actual NCAA Tournament Bracket analysis, come back tomorrow. Plus, who’s really interested in who I think is going to win and why? I’m not even that interested.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t have any bracket fun. Around the Web, you’ll see brackets based on mascots, hottest women from the school and so on. Here at Rumors and Rants, we want to bring you something different. So I’ve been researching diligently to bring you the 2010 NCAA Tournament Notable Alumni Bracket.
What exactly is the Notable Alumni Bracket? Basically, I’ve looked at each of the 64 teams remaining in this year’s field (sorry Winthrop) and found famous alumni from each school, or in some cases famous people that went to the school and failed to graduate. Hey, they’re famous, who says they need a college degree?
But it’s pretty simple (albeit long). If you bear with me, I think you’ll enjoy it. If not, then I wasted an entire night of sleep. I’ve broken down every match-up and eventually crowned a champion. Suffice it to say, this is unlike any bracket you’ll find in America.
Here we go.
(1) Kansas vs. (16) Lehigh
Kansas: There’s billionaire and MLS enthusiast Philip Anschutz as well as the father of sabremetrics and god to all baseball geeks alike, Bill James. Mandy Patinkin starred in “Chicago Hope” and “Criminal Minds” but he could have been so much bigger had he not mentioned Juilliard classmate Kelsey Grammer’s name during his audition as Dr. Fraiser Crane for “Cheers.” That one backfired. Oh well, things worked out for Patinkin. He went on to land my favorite role of his, also said to be Mandy’s favorite role of his. That being Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride.” “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Good stuff.
Clyde Tombaugh is the great uncle of Los Angeles Dodgers phenom Clayton Kershaw. But that’s not why he’s famous. The dude discovered Pluto, which may or may not be a planet anymore. Coincidentally, the current NASA director Steve Hawley is also a KU alum. Kansas also provided us with John Hadl, the focus of a Rumors and Rants History Lesson. We’ve got more in reserve, but we’re holding back for Round Two.
Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks boast the co-founders of hipster stores Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie (Scott Belair and Richard Hayne). Lehigh alum, actor Don Most voiced Stiles in the “Teen Wolf” Saturday morning cartoon show in the late 1980s. Now everyone knows my affinity for everything “Teen Wolf,” but I can’t say I have a strong memory of the cartoon. Most is better known for his role as Ralph Malph on “Happy Days.” There’s also actor Jim Davidson, who played T.C. Callaway on “Pacific Blue.” I watched the show pretty religiously as a tween because it was basically “Baywatch” gone bike cop. It was my introduction to Shanna Moakler before Oscar De La Hoya and Travis Barker got to her. A.C. Slater Mario Lopez, had a 44-episode run as Police Officer Bobby Cruz as part of his comeback to TV. Now, we can’t get rid of him. But perhaps most importantly among Lehigh alumni is Jesse W. Reno, the inventor of the world’s first escalator. As a youngster, escalators were the bane of my existence. I was petrified of them. I always thought I was going to have a “Mallrats”-like incident involving an appendage of mine getting stuck and torn off. Growing up in Atlanta, the ridiculously long escalator at Hartfield Airport certainly didn’t help matters. Even to this day, I apprehensively reach with one foot while I grab the side railing to make sure I’m on safely. Damn you, Jesse W. Reno!
UNLV: Suge Knight gives UNLV some instant intimidation factor. The co-founder of Death Row Records helped launch Dr. Dre, Tupac and Snoop Dogg’s careers and played football at UNLV. He – as to be expected of a gangsta rap mogul – ran afoul with the law a few times and spent a good amount of time in jail. Sticking with the music motif, the drummer for The Killers (Ronnie Vannucci) and Marilyn Manson (Kenneth Robert Wilson, a.k.a. Ginger Fish) attended UNLV. As did MMA chick Gina Carano, who is just too pretty to get beat up.
Northern Iowa: The Panthers are in trouble. I’m pretty sure Kurt Warner would have problems with Suge, but who knows, the power of Jesus is pretty strong (so I hear). Northern Iowa football also provided us with Mike Furrey, who has played both defensive back and wide receiver in the NFL, most notably with Detroit. Sack artist Bryce Paup also comes to us via Northern Iowa, but Warner is the bell cow here. He’s a surefire Hall of Famer and his wife has gotten really, really hot since she abandoned the salt-and-pepper butch hair cut for blond flowing locks. She didn’t go to Northern Iowa, but she counts by proxy. Now away from the football field, it’s pretty slim pickings. UNI has to settle with “Entertainment Tonight” co-host Mark Steines. My mom used to watch “ET” religiously and I would say, “Why do you watch this crap?” She’d respond, “Why do you watch “SportsCenter” three times a day?” Touche salesman. I’ll tell you one thing, Steines ain’t no John Tesh, or even Bob Goen for that matter.
(5) Michigan State vs. (12) New Mexico State
Michigan State: MSU alum Robert Ressler coined the phrase “serial killer,” which really pissed off the Kellogg’s people. UFC “Ultimate Fighter” Rashad Evans will kick my ass if I don’t pick the Spartans to get past the Aggies, and looking at the prestigious (cough) alumni list of NMSU, I think Evans alone could take them all. And besides Miami, I think Michigan State has cornered the market on receivers running afoul with the law (Andre Rison, Charles Rogers and Plaxico Burress).
New Mexico State: Well hmm, there’s the mayor of Santa Fe (David Coss) and the producer of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” (Kira Davis). That’s right, not even the original, but the sequel! Motivational speaker Ed Foreman provides a little backbone, but not for the $10,000-a-pop he charges for speeches like “How to Make Every Day a Terrific Day!” Want to know how? Don’t go to NMSU.
WINNER: Michigan State
Maryland: I didn’t want to have to use Larry David in the first round, but Houston has a lengthy list of attendees (not graduates) which put the pressure on early. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Seinfeld” will go down as two of the all-time great TV shows and it gives Maryland much needed clout. The Terps also give us ESPN personalities Norman Chad, Tim Kurkjian (baseball’s Polly Pocket), Pam Ward and the gangly Scott Van Pelt. Bonnie Bernstein also fits the genre, but she’s not with the Worldwide Leader. The co-founder of Google (Sergey Brin) and co-founder of SIRIUS radio (Robert D. Briskman) are Terps as is boxing historian and luminary Bert Sugar. News hounds Connie Chung and Carl Bernstein (one half of the Watergate-breaking journalist duo) called College Park home. I’m sure they’d love to be put into the same news-gathering category with Giuliana DePandi, who keeps us updated on current events on “E! News.”
Houston: Ah if rappers could get degrees in two semesters. Lil’ Wayne, Master P, Chamillionaire all went to Houston, but didn’t graduate. No shame in that. Randy and Dennis Quaid also went that route at UH. Robert Flores (ESPN) and Jim Nantz (CBS) are the Cougars’ answer to Maryland’s sportscaster troupe. Nerds like the one Jim Parsons (a Houston alum) plays on “The Big Bang Theory” will get a kick out of Star Trek’s Data (Brent Spiner) gracing Houston’s campus. But not all is well. The View’s eyesore Star Jones is also a Cougar, but not in the sense I’d prefer most of my over-45 women. There’s not enough Mary Kay products that could make her doable. And yes, Mary Kay Ash went to Houston as well. Country singer and rotisserie chicken genius Kenny Rogers also went to Houston as did “Arliss” (Robert Wuhl), Wade Phillips, Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, Doug Drabek, Fred Couples, Nick Faldo, Steve Elkington and Olympians Shannon Miller and Carl Lewis.
(6) Tennessee vs. (11) San Diego State
Tennessee: Peyton Manning gets the Volunteers off to a nice start, but it might not be enough. How many MVP awards does it take to counteract Woody Paige? I’m not sure four does it. Dixie Carter, better known as Julia Sugarbaker on “Designing Women” doesn’t help either. Luckily, hot country singer Deana Carter offsets the other D. Carter. Is it sad that I know all the words to “Strawberry Wine?” My sister used to listen to it all the time on the ride home from school and it’s etched into my brain. Surprisingly writing carries some weight in Knoxville, even though reading isn’t a high priority. “Roots” author Alex Haley and “No Country For Old Men” and “The Road” author Cormac McCarthy both called Rocky Top home. Toss in some miscellaneous alums like the first Canadian to walk in space (Chris Hadfield), one of the two originators of Trivial Pursuit (Charles Scott Abbott) and James Denton from “Desperate Housewives” and UT has a shot.
San Diego State: Raquel Welch is a good place to start. I don’t care how old she is, I still throw her in the category of Oldies I’d Do (Morgan Fairchild is in there too, but not an SDSU girl). Apollo Creed, a.k.a. Carl Weathers was an Aztec as was Cleavon Little of “Blazing Saddles” fame. There’s the San Diego Chicken (Ted Giannoulas) and the voice of Marge Simpson (Julie Kavner) as well as “Entertainment Tonight” co-host Bob Goen, who we’ve touched on earlier. On the sports side, Mark Grace, Tony Gwynn, Marshall Faulk, Herm Edwards, Stephen Strasburg and Eric Wynalda were all Aztecs. And I promise Eric, I didn’t sleep with your wife.
WINNER: San Diego State
(3) Georgetown vs. (14) Ohio
Georgetown: We could be here all day listing all the government officials and top lawyers that got a degree of some sort from Georgetown, but that would bore you. How do I know this? Because it bored me, and as you could tell, I’m pretty hard to bore. We’ll just let Bill Clinton represent the government arm of Hoyas grads, which I’m sure 35 percent of you will hate. “Hangover” star Bradley Cooper started at Villanova, but graduated from Georgetown and gives the school some much needed celebrity appeal because, to be honest, Carl Reiner and Maria Shriver really aren’t doing it for me. Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue went to Georgetown and we can add Hoyas big men Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing to the list. The Los Angeles Dodgers ownership divorce saga got its start at Georgetown because I’m assuming that’s where Frank McCourt met his soon-to-be-ex-wife Jamie McCourt.
Ohio: I’m sure Ohio alums would like to forget that Jay Mariotti went to school in Athens, but luckily some of his sportswriting dribble can be outshone by Peter King’s work, another Bobcat product. On the TV side, “Today Show” host Matt Lauer, former talk show host Arsenio Hall, Fox News President Roger Ailes, the voice of Bart Simpson (Nancy Cartwright) and Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) all went to Ohio. Who knew? Phillies third base legend Mike Schmidt was a Bobcat as was super-cute actress Piper Perabo. And then there’s actor-turned-sauce man Paul Newman.
(7) Oklahoma State vs. (10) Georgia Tech
Oklahoma State: Garth Brooks attended Oklahoma State on a track scholarship for the javelin. True story. I’m not a big country fan, but I kind of found that somewhat interesting. The crazed Gary Busey also went to school in Stillwater, which is definitely a nice feather in the Cowboys’ cap. The creator of the “Dick Tracy” comic strip (Chester Gould) went to OK State too, which kind of works because so did Doug Gottlieb, ESPN’s resident dick (I kid, I kid). It’s a long way from Stillwater to Hollywood, but James Mardsen (Cyclops in “X-Men”) and Rex Linn (the other bad guy in “Cliffhanger”, i.e. not Jon Lithgow) made it. MMA legend Randy Couture was a Cowboy and will kick anyone’s ass to get to the second round. And if that doesn’t work, T. Boone Pickens will throw $235 million your way, though I hear he only cares about football, so that might not work. Then for T. Boone, we’ve got Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders to scratch that itch.
Georgia Tech: Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, is a Yellow Jacket and I’m sure the school known for engineering has helped him engineer houses for the underprivileged. Jeff Foxworthy definitely plays up the dumb redneck role pretty well, but he’s certainly “Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” if he went to Georgia Tech. I love Google News, so its creator Krishna Bharat has a soft spot in my heart. The founder of Days Inn (Cecil B. Day) is a Ga. Tech alum, which explains why they always seem to be next to a Waffle House because the co-founder of Waffle House (Joe Rogers, Sr) is also a Yellow Jacket. Bobby Jones helped design Augusta National and founded the Masters. Not sure if he planned on accommodating the likes of TMZ or the National Enquirer who are sure to flock to Augusta next month.
(2) Ohio State vs. (15) UC Santa Barbara
Ohio State: If the Buckeyes advance past the first round, they can thank sporting luminaries Bobby Knight, George Steinbrenner, Jesse Owns, Jack Nicklaus and Jack Buck for squeaking by. Comedian Richard Lewis plays the neurotic Jew to a T on “Curb,” but all his good work can’t make up for the train wreck that is Bruce Vilanch. I feel like Ohio State should issue an apology to the entire nation for Vilanch. If I was a Buckeye, I’d probably be more proud of Jeffrey Dahmer, even though he never actually graduated from OSU, just attended a few classes before eating roadkill and then humans. Speaking of roadkill, the founders of Shoney’s (Alex Schoenbaum) and Longhorn Steakhouse (William G. Lowrie) both attended school in Columbus. For the kid in all of us, “Goosebumps” author R.L. Stine and the creator of “Doug” Jim Jenkins also came via The Ohio State University. And a Buckeye currently holds the hardest job in charity. Gregory McLaughlin is President of the Tiger Woods Foundation.
UC Santa Barbara: To be expected, Hollywood has been good to the Gauchos. Michael Douglas, Benjamin Bratt, Gwyneth Paltrow and Oscar-winning writer of “Forrest Gump” Eric Roth all hail from UC Santa Barbara. The other side of Hollywood’s valley is well represented too with porn icon Tera Patrick. Jim Rome is probably one of my favorite sports talk show hosts going right now, despite his unfailing disdain for soccer, but I’ll give him a pass. Folk singer Jack Johnson was always a big hit with the ladies in college dorm rooms, and I’m pretty sure I got laid with him crooning in the background. But unfortunately, my sex life has gone the way of the Titanic, which was discovered on the Atlantic Ocean floor by Gaucho Robert Ballard.
WINNER: UC Santa Barbara
(1) Kansas vs. (8) UNLV
Kansas: OK, we touched on a bunch of KU alums already, but we’ve got more. And I told you I was holding out the big names for the later rounds. Well bam! Don Johnson. It doesn’t get any bigger than that does it!? Paul Rudd (“Role Models” and “The 40-Year Old Virgin”) and Scott Bakula (“Quantum Leap” and “Necessary Roughness”) add some depth, but Johnson ruled the ‘80s. And to do this day, Crockett is still a popular Halloween outfit. A lot of stink has been made over porn star Samantha Ryan sitting courtside courtesy of Jayhawks assistant coach Kurtis Townsend earlier this season. But come on, if the star of “Lick Between the Lines” and “Crack Her Jack 4” asks you for tickets, it’s the least you could do. Ryan tweeted, “So excited for my floor seats at the KU/KSU game! Coach Townsend kicks major ass!” Not sure if she means “Absolute Ass 3.”
UNLV: The Rebels answer to Samantha Ryan is Ashlyn Gere (an eight-time AVN winner and member of the Adult Video News’ Hall of Fame) and Veronica Hart (Neu Wave Hookers). It’s Sin City, of course they’ve got porn stars in the cache. Food Network star Guy Fieri went to UNLV too, and that’s probably where he picked up the whole sunglasses-on-the-back-of-my head, arm-band-wearing, spiky platinum blond hair look. Dude looks like a serious tool and repeats the same things over and over again. But I’m just a hater. Jimmy Kimmel went to UNLV for a year before transferring to Arizona State, so he kind of counts. ESPN afterthought Kenny Mayne also went to UNLV as did “CSI” franchise creator, Anthony E. Zuiker. And now you know why the first one was set in Vegas. UNLV sports brought us Cecil Fielder, “Hang Time” head coach Reggie Theus, Randall Cunningham and the Ickey Shuffle (Ickey Woods).
(5) Michigan State vs. (4) Maryland
Michigan State: Luckily for the Spartans, we didn’t have to dip too far in the alumni database to blow out New Mexico State. Maryland poses a tougher challenge, but the likes of James Caan, the writer of “Top Gun” (Jim Cash) and director Sam Raimi will keep Maryland on its toes. Throw in “How To Catch A Predator” sensationalist Chris Hansen of “Dateline” and it’s looking pretty good in East Lansing. That is unless you’re a 45-year old dude thinking you’re cyber-chatting with a 15-year old girl. Then you’re screwed. Former Howard Stern pal Jackie Martling was a Spartan as was the inventor of the Big Mac (Jim Delligatti) and Jimmy Hoffa’s son (James P.).
Maryland: Larry David still carries a lot of weight for the Terps. He’s just that good. But Maryland needs to come up with more than “Muppets” creator Jim Henson and Diane Wiest if they want to advance to the Sweet 16. Tiffany Taylor was one of my favorite Playmates growing up, but I’m not sure she’s enough. Karen Allen (“Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Animal House”) would have helped if this were 1981. Maryland does however have an answer for Jackie Martling. That being Robin Quivers, who has been at Howard Stern’s side since 1981. Look how that worked out.
WINNER: Michigan State
(13) San Diego State vs. (14) Ohio
San Diego State: We pretty much told you most of SDSU’s top alumni to get them out of the first round. I’m sure Kathy Najimy (“Hocus Pocus” and “Kirstie”) and Armen Keteyian don’t do anything more for you. Perhaps Mika Tan (“Nurseholes 2”) and Playboy’s Crystal Harris do though. Oh yeah, and there’s FOX Sports’ Jeanne Zelasko, who in no way reminds us of the two previously mentioned women, but she’s a face we all know.
Ohio: OU was something of a surprise package getting out of the first round going against some political big shots in Georgetown. But Al Bundy, Arsenio Hall and Bart Simpson carry a little more weight with me. Ed O’Neill’s resurrection in “Modern Family” is enough to put the Bobcats into the Sweet 16.
(10) Georgia Tech vs. (15) UC Santa Barbara
Georgia Tech: The Masters is among the only golf tournaments I’ll watch (the Ryder Cup being the other). Thanks Bobby Jones. Had Stephon Marbury stayed more than one year at the prestigious technical institute, he probably wouldn’t have tattooed his shoe logo on his head and gone completely nuts. Georgia Tech’s baseball program gave us Mark Teixeria, Kevin Brown and the recently retired Nomar Garciaparra. Not too shabby.
UC Santa Barbara: Michael Douglas can only do so much. Copping some forced dome from Demi Moore in “Disclosure” was a high note, and I love “Black Rain,” but it’s a tough sell when you’re going up against the Masters and Google News.
WINNER: Georgia Tech
(1) Kansas vs. (5) Michigan State
Kansas: Now deep in the tournament, we’ll work our way into the actual basketball alumni of KU. The game’s inventor James Naismith is a good place to start. Phog Allen, Wilt Chamberlain and Adolph Rupp aren’t exactly chopped liver either. Though I doubt Rupp would have been the biggest Wilt fan. But the Jayhawks are more than just hoops. Gale Sayers and John Riggins give KU a nice running back 1-2, that would be tough for any school to match.
Michigan State: We all know Magic Johnson didn’t graduate from MSU, but he’s synonymous with the program. Magic vs. Wilt. One Lakers legend vs. another. Both had eventful sex lives. One managed to bang the whole West Coast, the other, well I’m not going to make an AIDS joke…Joining the Michigan State sports parade is U.S. Hockey Olympic hero, goalie Ryan Miller. He’s also the goalie for my drafted franchise in “NHL 10,” so that helps. And we can’t forget about “Police Academy’s” Hightower, though Steve Gutenberg or the dude that does the sound effects might have served Sparty better.
WINNER: Kansas, this is semi-basketball related, right?
(14) Ohio vs. (10) Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech: Have I mentioned I love Google News? And the Waffle House late night definitely serves a purpose.
Ohio: This is where Jay Mariotti will end up biting the Bobcats in the ass. It was a good run, but dead weight is dead weight.
WINNER: Georgia Tech
(1) Kansas vs. (10) Georgia Tech
Kansas: Bob Dole didn’t win the Presidency. He did however, fall off a stage. Which provided me with just as much amusement as four years in office would have. It all comes back to James Naismith and Wilt Chamerblain. Oh yeah, and that guy Don Johnson.
Georgia Tech: This is where John Salley trips them up. Salley made Tom Arnold seem manageable on “The Best Damn Sports Show.” It’s a good thing for Iowa’s sake they didn’t make the tournament. Though Todd Lickliter probably disagrees.
MIDWEST REGIONAL CHAMPION: Kansas
(1) Kentucky vs. (16) East Tennessee State
Kentucky: UK definitely wouldn’t be a No. 1 seed based on alumni, if you know what I mean. Luckily for the Wildcats, East Tennessee State is a bonafide No. 16. Ashley Judd can’t seem to stay away from my TV screen despite the fact she hasn’t made a decent movie since “A Time To Kill,” and she was just a periphery character in that. I’ll give her a nod for her work in “Heat,” but that’s about it. Roman Grant is one of my favorite chilling polygamists and UK’s Henry Dean Stanton plays him to aplomb on “Big Love.” Pat Riley, Brandon Webb and Jim Leyritz do their best to offset the massive disappointment that is Tim Couch.
East Tennessee State: If I was a chick, East Tennessee State might have a chance to go deep. Why? Because Kenny Chesney was a Buccaneer. No, that doesn’t mean I think he’s dreamy. It just means that women trip over themselves for this dude. Stupid, stupid girls. ETSU also has Timothy Busfield, who actually didn’t graduate but did attend then school. He’s most notable for his role in “Thirtysomething,” but that was in the ‘80s, and I didn’t watch TV dramas in the 80s. I know him because of “Field of Dreams,” “Little Big League” and as Arnold Poindexter in “Revenge of the Nerds.” Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith also went to ETSU, but based on the sparse crowd at his press conference during the NFL Scouting Combine this year, I don’t think too many people care.
WINNER: East Tennessee State, believe it or not, there’s more star power there.
Texas: The list of people who attended Texas, but never actually graduated is better than what Wake can offer up, which doesn’t bode well for the Demon Deacons. Farrah Fawcett, David Geffen (Geffen Records), Michael Dell (Dell Computers), Janis Joplin, Kevin Durant and Roger Clemens all left Austin without a degree. But they are still Longhorns at heart. We’ll save the actual alumni for the second round.
Wake Forest: Billy Packer is a poison pill here for the Demon Deacons and will be tough to overcome. The blind “Jeopardy!” champion is a nice touch (Eddie Timanus) as is the co-creator of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” (Dave Willis). Muggsy Bogues gave me hope as a young midget athlete, but then I realized most successful basketball players were built more like another Deacon, Tim Duncan. Former Chicago Bears linebacker Bill George is a Hall of Famer and Arnold Palmer is a golf legend. But it all comes back to Billy Packer. Want to know the best thing about Billy Packer? He’s not on my TV anymore. You know because we all love his veiled racist comments about how black players seem to play “urban city ball.”
(5) Temple vs. (12) Cornell
Temple: Well, Bill Cosby certainly comes to mind when you think Temple University. But the Owls are more than a one-man show. In fact, it’s a two-man act that gives Temple hope of advancing into the second round. Hall and Oates, baby! That’s right. “She’s a man-eater. Oh here she comes. Watch out boy, she’ll chew you up.” Daryl Hall and John Oates met on the Philadelphia campus and the rest as they say, is history. Not to be outdone, Temple also has Bob Saget, who may or may not have sucked dick for coke.
Throw in Mickey from “Seinfield” (Danny Woodburn) and the boys from The Bloodhound Gang and Temple has a chance. But it won’t be easy. Cornell is a pre-tournament favorite.
Cornell: The only Ivy League school in the field, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that The Big Red has big expectations in this tournament. And that’s despite carrying dead weight like Ann Coulter. The school boasts 14 Nobel laureates, a former prime minister of Iran (Jamshid Amuzegar), a Thai princess (Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol), the President of Taiwain (Lee Teng-hui) and former President of Cuba (Mario Garcia Menocal). Janet Reno, Paul Wolfowitz and Ruth Bader Ginsburg just add to the stable of great Cornell minds. But what gives Cornell the edge over Temple in the first round isn’t esteemed diplomatic alums. It’s the Big Red’s answer to Hall and Oates – Huey Lewis (just Huey, not the News). He dropped out after three years, but it was either that or commit suicide, which people at Cornell tend to do at an alarming rate. Thankfully, Huey made it out alive and went on to make music gold.
(4) Wisconsin vs. (13) Wofford
Wisconsin: Wisconsin boasts unattractive actresses with heavy accents (Joan Cusack and Jane Kaczmarek), an even more unattractive talking head (Greta Van Susteren), but the Badgers aren’t all bad. Charles Lindbergh is considered a national treasure despite his alleged adoration of Adolph Hitler. But man, could he fly a plane. Steve Miller left Madison six credits shy of graduating, but he was probably too much of a midnight toker to realize. Bud Selig is a Badger, which doesn’t help their cause, but the co-creator of the iPod is a Wisconsin man (Michael Dhuey), which definitely helps.
Wofford: For a small school, Wofford alums certainly are up to big things. Michael Copps is a commissioner and the acting chairman for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), while Paul Atkins served as a commissioner for the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) for seven years before his term expired in 2008. But that does nothing for us. What might do something for you is the fact that ESPN blondie Wendi Nix is a Wofford girl. And while she stinks up the joint when working on the desk (seriously count how many times she messes up. Teleprompters are not her friend), she can nail the hell out of a standup.
Marquette: Funny seems to come out of Marquette. There’s Chris Farley, first and foremost. But Danny Pudi of “Community” and Bob Odenkirk of “Mr. Show with Bob and David” also went to Marquette. Unfortunately, so did Matthew Lesko and his question mark covered business suit.
Washington: Marquette didn’t corner the market on funny. Washington has some of its own. Rainn Wilson, Dwight on “The Office,” and Joel McHale of “The Soup” and “Community” fame provide the laughs in Seattle. Anna Faris provides the hot. Dyan Cannon probably did back in her day, something like 1908, right?
You know those moments where you’re like, “You really can’t make this stuff up…” Here’s one for you. A Washington alumnus invented vinyl and synthetic rubber. His name? Waldo Semon. All semen in the world curses Waldo. There’s more from UW, including the inventor of disposable diapers (Victor Mills) and the co-founder of Baskin Robbins (Irv Robbins), but we’ll save them for later.
(3) New Mexico vs. (14) Montana
New Mexico: If you thought New Mexico State gave us trouble finding alumnus, New Mexico wasn’t much easier. Take away sports stars Danny Granger, Brian Urlacher and Michael Cooper and you’re left with dead wrestler Eddie Guerrero and the dude that played Ogre in “Revenge of the Nerds” (Donald Gibb). Gibb went to UNM on a basketball scholarship only to leave to play football at the University of San Diego. On a side note, I occasionally mutter, “Ogre, you ass hole,” when I burp in homage to a comedic classic.
Montana: I wasn’t expecting much from Montana, but I came away surprised. Pearl Jam’s bassist Jeff Ament spent two years at Montana before leaving after his major (graphic design) was discontinued. I’m sure he’s not crying about that today. Actor J.K. Simmons did a helluva job as neo-Nazi Vernon Schillinger in “Oz,” even though I’m preconditioned to fear characters like that. Then there’s Carroll O’Connor, who wasn’t as much a neo-Nazi as he was a racist in his portrayal of Archie Bunker in “All In The Family.”
(7) Clemson vs. (10) Missouri
Clemson: Continuing on that racist theme, that brings us to former South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, a Clemson alum. But it’s not all bad from Clemson. Though it’s not very good. There’s “The Bachelor: Season Two” (Aaron Buerge), Nancy O’Dell, Gunther from “Friends” (James Michael Tyler) and George H. Ross, Donald Trump’s advisor on “The Apprentice.” Go Tigers!
Missouri: Mizzou provides us with men we’d all like to be. That being Brad Pitt and Jon Hamm (otherwise known as Don Draper). Not a bad place to start. Then there’s the pipeline from Columbia to Bristol, Conn., too to make us all a little jealous. John Anderson, Pat Forde, Matt Winer and Michael Kim all ply their trade at ESPN. Go Tigers!
(2) West Virginia vs. (15) Morgan State
West Virginia: Start with the logo, Jerry West, and go from there. Don Knotts (Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show”) was born in Morgantown and really didn’t really have a choice. Former pitchman supreme Billy Mays also went to WVU before bumping his head on a plane and dying hours later in his sleep. JonBenet Ramsey’s mom, Patty was Miss West Virginia in 1977 and a Mountaineer before parading her daughter around like a doll before her murder. “Training Day” director Anthony Fuqua went to West Virginia, but didn’t graduate, but that’s good enough for me.
Morgan State: Morgan State boasts four Pro Football Hall of Famers, which isn’t bad at all for a school I didn’t know had a football team. Roosevelt Brown, Willie Lanier, Leroy Kelly and Len Ford are all enshrined in Canton. If Visanthe Shiancoe keeps putting up figures like he has over the last two seasons, who knows about his future prospects. Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back John Fuqua isn’t in Canton, so in the Battle of Fuquas, the edge goes to West Virginia. Be careful saying, “Battle of Fuquas” out loud.
WINNER: West Virginia
(16) East Tennessee State vs. (8) Texas
East Tennessee State: Kenny Chesney, blah blah blah.
Texas: Matthew McConaughey I guess counteracts Chesney. Director Wes Anderson (“Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums”) continues to find roles for his fellow Longhorn alumnus Owen Wilson, who I first saw in Anderson’s “Bottle Rocket.” Renee Zellwegger and Marcia Gay Harden provide the actress backbone, while Lady Bird Johnson and Laura Bush gives UT two former First Ladies.
Cornell: We touched on a lot of the top minds to come out of Cornell in the first round, and there are still plenty to choose from. But I want to bring your attention to Robert C. Baker, the inventor of the chicken nugget. A deserved member of the American Poultry Hall of Fame (a real Hall of Fame), Baker is the “Thomas Edison of poultry.” He’s accredited with more than 40 chicken, turkey and cold cut innovations, none more inspiring than the chicken nugget.
Wisconsin: People in Wisconsin don’t have much need for poultry recipes. Wisky is cow country, and that’s probably why heart disease is so rampant there. Something about fried cheese curds and steak everyday. Andy Katz is lucky he got out when he did, or else he’d probably look more like Joe Lunardi. Movie director Michael Mann also studied at Madison, and he’s provided us with some good work, most notably “The Insider,” “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Heat” and “The Kingdom.” However, he’s responsible for quite possibly the worst movie of the decade, “Hancock.” Bad Michael, bad.
(11) Washington vs. (14) Montana
Washington: My dad would like the fact that Kenny G was among the Huskies, and my mom would love that the entire Nordstrom Family (responsible for Nordstrom’s department store) also studied in Seattle. Atom bomb enthusiasts never fear, UW alum Major General Leslie Groves headed the Manhattan Project, which probably alerted life on all other planets to stay away, making Peter Davenport’s job pretty boring. He’s the Director of National UFO Reporting Center.
Montana: We’ve pretty much touched on all the notable Montana alums. Pearl Jam’s bassist probably wishes he had gone to Washington, you know with Seattle being the center of grunge and where Peal Jam first made their mark.
(2)West Virginia vs. (10) Missouri
West Virginia: Bob Huggins hopes to lead his alma mater to glory, but is going to need some help from the rest of his alumni. And to be honest, I don’t know if Jeff Hostetler, Pacman Jones or Mike Vanderjagt are going to get the job done.
Missouri: Some Mizzou grads certainly know how to kick ass. We touched on Brad Pitt, who knocked people out in “Fight Club” and “Snatch,” but how about George C. Scott as “Patton.” Good stuff. Chris Cooper beat up his son in “American Beauty” in some sort of repressed homosexual rage, which may or may not have intrigued Tennessee Williams, another Mizzou attendee.
(8) Texas vs. (12) Cornell
Texas: Walter Kronkite carries the newsman torch for UT, which will be hard to match against the likes of the Ivy Leaguers from Cornell. CNN talking head Paul Begala is insufferable most of the time, but he’s better than Cornell’s Ann Coulter.
Cornell: Speaking of Coulter, fellow Cornell alums Keith Olbermann and Bill Maher probably aren’t lining up dinner reservations with the Conservative pundit anytime soon. In fact, I’m sure they’d rather have her roast over a fire and dine on, rather than dine with. Both Olbermann and Maher have very slanted views, but they give it to me with some humor, and I appreciate that.
(11) Washington vs. (10) Missouri
Washington: Serial killer Ted Bundy attended Washington and not even Jim Caviezel (another Husky) as Jesus could save his soul. Had Bruce Lee, who met his wife at UW, been around, he probably would’ve kicked Bundy’s ass.
Missouri: Sheryl Crow and Kate Capshaw provide Mizzou with women who were borderline hot in their prime, but have since passed the Best Before Sell Date. Missouri has a top journalism school, so for the news hounds, we have PBS’ Jim Lehrer and Chuck Roberts of Headline News. Mizzou grads also seem to have found a niche with investments with the founder of Scottrade (Rodger O’ Riney), chairman of Edward Jones Investments (Edward D. Jones) the chairman of Bear Stearns (Alan Greenberg) and Stan Kroenke, who bleeds money I think.
Cornell: Time for the Ivy League to go Hollywood. Jane Lynch is everywhere these days. The “Glee” star has found a comedic niche and her performances in “40-Year Old Virgin” and “Best In Show” are great. Jimmy Smits’ good looks offset the grizzled Dennis Franz on “NYPD Blue.” Sure, Andy Bernard is a fictional character on “The Office,” but I’m not sure if you’ve heard or not, the Nard-Dog went to Cornell and sang in an a capella group. And before Christopher Reeve was Superman, he was an undergrad in Ithaca. And while his life took a tragic turn, he’ll always be an American icon.
Washington: The Huskies are up against it having to deal with the likes of Superman. And while Patrick Duffy was a great dad and stepdad in “Step By Step,” he’s no Superman. The closest thing UW comes to the Man of Steel is Tim Lincecum, but we can’t in good conscious compare athletic achievements against Cornell. It’s like comparing hot to cold.
EAST REGIONAL CHAMPION: Cornell
(1) Duke vs. (16) Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Duke: It’s not going to take a lot to get out of the first round for Duke. Jay Bilas and the guy that invented the beer launching fridge (John W. Cornwell) will get the job done. But we might as well get “The Bachelor,” Lt. Andy Baldwin out of the way.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff: There’s not much to choose from. L.C. Greenwood, a member of the Steel Curtain on the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line during the ‘70s is as big as it gets. Well, technically rapper Big Tuck is big, but in name only. He raps with Dirty South Rydaz, who I’ve never heard of, but that’s because I don’t listen to hip-hop, let alone obscure hip-hop.
(8) Cal vs. (9) Louisville
Cal: We’ll open with Cal’s music credentials because Louisville doesn’t seem to be much of an obstacle. Lead singers Stephen Jenkins (Third Eye Blind), Les Claypool (Primus), Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) and Adam Duritz (Counting Crows) were all Golden Bears. On the literary side, Terry McMillan, showed us what it’s like “Waiting to Exhale” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” while Philip K. Dick got over his unfortunate name to create short stories that later became movies such as “Bladerunner,” “Minority Report and “Total Recall.”
Louisville: Johnny Unitas, Tom Jackson and Wes Unseld can only take you so far. It’s never good when Larry Birkhead is in your top-10. The alleged gay father of Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter Dannielynn, Birkhead is likely to find his way on a VH1 reality show here in the next five years. Sorry Sue Grafton, L is for Loser.
(5) Texas A&M vs. (12) Utah State
Texas A&M: “Weird Science” was a big hit for John Hughes in 1985. Kelly LeBrock, Anthony Michael Hall, Robert Downey Jr., and Bill Paxton all went on to do bigger and better things. But what about Wyatt? Apparently, he went to Texas A&M. The other guy from “Weird Science,” Ilan Mitchell-Smith made a guest appearance in “Silk Stockings” in 1991. Now, he’s an assistant English professor at Long Beach State. Things worked out a little better for Rip Torn, who has one of the best fake names in all of Hollywood, which is much better than his given name Elmore Rual Torn, Jr.
Utah State: Here is a man that was a hero to most boys ages 5-20 during the 1980s and 1990s. Nolan Bushnell ended up graduating from Utah, but he started his college career at Utah State. And he’s important because he founded both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s. That’s right. He founded both. And who said nothing good came out of Utah? Newsweek called him one of the “50 Men That Changed America.” Hell yeah, he did. He’s a founding father of video games and creepy animatronic animals playing banjo music while you jump in a bin of plastic balls.
WINNER: Utah State
(4) Purdue vs. (13) Siena
Purdue: Every Purdue grad brags about Neil Armstrong. We get it, the dude was the first to walk on the moon. We’re proud of you. What else do you have? Well, quite a bit actually. They’ve got the designer of the Golden Gate Bridge (Charles Ellis), the co-founder, chairman and CEO of C-SPAN (Brian Lamb), the chief engineer for construction of Hoover Dam (Elwood Mead; Lake Mead gets its name from good old Elwood) and the food connoisseur from “Queer Eye For the Straight Guy” (Ted Allen). Oh yeah, and if the Chinese ever decide to bomb us and blow us off the map, it’s all Purdue’s fault. Physicist Deng Jiaxian, known as father of the Chinese A-Bomb, went to Purdue. Thanks PUkes.
Siena: Speaking of confused, who does Jack Cashill root for this weekend. He studied undergrad at Siena, but got his Ph.D from Purdue. But confused should be write up his alley. He’s an author and contributor to WorldNetDaily and has written a series of essays concerning his theory that Barack Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams From My Father” was ghostwritten by Bill Ayers. Apparently Purdue just hands out Ph.Ds. (Can you tell I went to Indiana?) And long before the citizens of California elected an Austrian bodybuilder as governor, they tabbed an Armenian lawyer to the position (no not Robert Kardashian). George Deukmejian, the 35th governor of California, is a Siena grad.
Notre Dame: George Wendt made “Saturday Night Live” gold with his contributions to the Chicago Bears Superfans bit. He’d be happy with fellow Notre Dame alumnus Ted Phillips, President and CEO of the Bears, who just orchestrated the biggest free agent splash this offseason. “I’ll take that Polish sausage with some extra Peppers!” Though I’m not sure how Wendt would feel about another Chicago sports figure and Notre Dame graduate, Steve Bartman. Yikes!
Old Dominion: I was excited to see Kenna as an ODU alum. I’m a fan of his music and it might be worth knocking the Irish out of the first round, I like it so much. ESPN’s Jay Harris also went to ODU, as did Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, Nancy Lieberman and 1970 Miss USA Deborah Shelton, who appeared in “Dallas,” “Fantasy Island,” “The A-Team,” “T.J. Hooker,” “Cheers,” “The Love Boat” and most recently “Nip/Tuck.” So do you go with Norm from “Cheers,” a staple of the show, or some hot chick they threw in for a few episodes?
WINNER: Notre Dame.
(3) Baylor vs. (14) Sam Houston State
Baylor: I’m not one for ventriloquists, but people seem to like this Jeff Dunham character. He can’t be all bad if he has a show on Comedy Central right? (Paging Carlos Mencia.) ESPN’s Trey Wingo is a Baylor grad as is Mike Singletary, who can scare the Grim Reaper with just a stare. Speaking of scary, Thomas Harris, the author of “Silence of the Lambs,” also went to Baylor.
Sam Houston State: Dan Rather is a pretty big name for a pretty small school, and while I never really watched the CBS News (I was always more of a Tom Brokaw guy), Rather is a legend in the journalism world. I’m not sure what Rather would say to Badd Ass Billy Gunn at the school alumni bash, but the 1999 King of the Ring was a 10-time World Tag Team Champion. On the topic of guns, I’m glad I chose to pick up “Lone Survivor” last year at an airport bookstore. It’s the account of Marcus Luttrell, who attended Sam Houston State, and his Navy Seal team in Afghanistan during a covert op that went wrong. It’s a really good read and I highly recommend it. It can get a bit preachy, but it’s definitely worth the time.
(7) Richmond vs. (10) St. Mary’s
Richmond: Mel Kiper’s nemesis Todd McShay went to Richmond. And it seems the two have learned to co-exist, which is good for everyone because we can never have too much NFL Draft. People always give Deion Sanders the love for playing two sports at once, but often forgotten are the exploits of Brian Jordan, who played both baseball and football as well for the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons. Earl Hamner, creator of “The Waltons” and “Falcon Crest” is a Richmond alum, though I must admit, I’ve never seen either show. A show I did watch was “Murphy Brown,” and one of my favorite characters was Miles. The actor who played Miles (Grant Shaud) also went to Richmond.
St. Mary’s: How a kid with a name like Mahershalalhashbaz Ali goes to a Roman Catholic school is a bit puzzling. But the actor with the ridiculously long name appeared in “Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and was a regular on the science-fiction show. “The 4400.” There’s not much else, not that Mahershalalhashbaz Ali is anything but a mouthful. Herman Wedmeyer was an original cast member of “Hawaii 5-0,” Harry Hooper (Pro Baseball Hall of Fame) and John Henry Johnson (Pro Football Hall of Fame) also went to St. Mary’s.
(2) Villanova vs. (15) Robert Morris
Villanova: Ah Villanova, the alma mater of disgraced NBA ref Tim Donaghy. I bet that makes the alumni newsletter. It’s either that or celebrate Toby Keith’s one year at Nova or Don McLean’s three months. Luckily for the Wildcats, apparently no one of importance ever went to Robert Morris.
Robert Morris: There’s center Hank Fraley, who recently signed with the Rams and has started 123 of his 135 career games in the NFL. Then we have Pittsburgh Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert. Colbert has held the position since 2000. Guess what year Fraley entered the league and which team gave him his first shot in the NFL. That would be 2000 and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s not what you know. It’s who you know. And with so few Robert Morris grads running around, it probably wasn’t hard to find each other.
(1) Duke vs. (8) Cal
Duke: Hayden Panettiere’s TV dad in “Heroes” (Jack Coleman) went to Duke. So did “Mad Men” British import Jared Harris. Sports writer extraordinaire John Feinstein did some graduate work in Durham. Ken Jeong (Senor Chang in “Community” and nude trunk dweller in “The Hangover”) got his M.D. at Duke, while super agent Drew Rosenhaus earned his law degree from Duke. Just another reason to hate the Blue Devils (not Jeong, he’s hilarious, I’m talking about Rosenhaus).
Cal: So Duke had Ken Jeong. Cal had “American Idol” reject turned awful sensation William Hung for a few months. Cal’s answer to Drew Rosenhaus? How about the model for “Jerry Maguire” Leigh Steinberg. We’ll cal it a wash, because both battles are obviously lopsided. The tiebreaker? Jeff Cohen went to Cal. Who is Jeff Cohen? You might know him better as Chunk from “The Goonies.”
(4) Purdue vs. (12) Utah State
Purdue: UPS Chairman and CEO Michael L. Eskew went to Purdue. We all know the UPS slogan, “What can brown do for you?” Well for anyone whose ever been to Purdue’s campus brown is certainly the dominant color. But with this being a semi-basketball related post, I’d be neglectful not mentioning the Wizard of Westwood, John Wooden is a Purdue product. And then you’ve got a gaggle of accomplished NFL quarterbacks. There’s Drew Brees, Bob Griese, Len Dawson, Gary Danielson and Jim Rome’s mortal enemy Jim “Don’t Call Me Chris” Everett.
Utah State: Aggies visionary Nathaniel Baldwin invented headphones. How you ask a dude from Utah State invented headphones? It’s simple. If you think one wife is hard enough to drown out, try multiple spouses. Another USU alum Gregory C. Carr, founded the company that first developed voicemail, therefore allowing us to screen calls.
WINNER: Utah State. Headphones and voicemail. Come on, it’s a no-brainer.
(3) Baylor vs. (6) Notre Dame
Baylor: Willie Nelson’s music isn’t my cup of tea, but I’ll certainly drink any tea he’s making if you know what I mean. Baylor has also contributed tiny blonde TV actresses for our consumption. There’s Cheryl Bernard, who played Joe’s wife in “Wings” and Angela Kinsey from “The Office.” However, Baylor is going to be hurt by Kevin Reynolds, who directed “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and “Waterworld.” Kevin Costner gets a lot of grief for how bad these movies are (go back and re-watch “Robin Hood,” now that you’re not 15, you’ll see what I mean), but I’m putting the blame on Reynolds. “Waterworld” will go down as one of the epic flops in Hollywood history after costing more than $175 million to make, a record at the time.
Notre Dame: So her wardrobe was the focus of a Tony Kornheiser radio rant, Hannah Storm is still one of the premier sports anchors in the business. Even though Kornheiser was completely right. A 50-year old woman doesn’t need to be showing so much leg, especially when her knees look all banged up. On the topic of ESPN radio personalities, there’s also Notre Dame grad Mike Golic, which depending on your taste is either slightly OK to insufferable. I want so badly to hold the fact that Regis Philbin went to Notre Dame against the Irish. But the man spent nearly every morning with the twit Kathy Lee Gifford, you’d be a little off too. Phil Donahue doesn’t have such a good reason.
WINNER: Notre Dame
(2) Villanova vs. (7) Richmond
Villanova: Maria Bello is hot and that helps. But there’s really not much else that we haven’t mentioned. Howie Long, Brian Westbrook and Kerry Kittles? Come on, now.
Richmond: Bruce Hornsby attended Richmond briefly, and I probably only like his Grateful Dead stuff (1990-92). Other than that, eh.
WINNER: Maria Bello. Er, Villanova.
(8) Cal vs. (12) Utah State
Cal: Before starring as a stoner in “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle,” John Cho was starring as a stoner at Berkeley. He ditched the bong for the Starship Enterprise, where he starred alongside fellow Golden Bear Chris Pine in “Star Trek.” The creator and founding member of MySpace, Tom Anderson, went to Berkeley, though he probably knows by now, nobody uses it anymore. But I’m sure he’s not too worried about it. He sold it to Rudolph Murdoch’s News Corp. for $580 million.
Utah State: Cal has Hall of Fame-bound tight end Tony Gonzalez, Utah State’s response? Chris Cooley, the penis-picture taking, cheerleader-marrying Washington Redskin. Utah State also has Sen. Harry Reid (Nev.), the U.S. Senate Majority Leader, but not too many people want to be Harry Reid right now.
(6) Notre Dame vs. (2) Villanova
Notre Dame: Time to play the football card. Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Paul Hornung, Rudy, Tim Brown, etc. You get the picture. But I bet you didn’t know that William Shakespeare went to Notre Dame. Think I’m lying? Think again. William Shakespeare, the All-American halfback played for the Irish in the 1930s and is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Villanova: Howie Long once read Shakespeare. He didn’t finish.
WINNER: Notre Dame
(8) Cal vs. (6) Notre Dame
Cal: Berekely has so many alumni even the fake ones are famous. There’s Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner’s character in “Field of Dreams”), Nancy Botwin from “Weeds,” and Jack Bauer, who claims to have gotten a Master’s in Criminology and Law from Berkeley even though no such degree is offered at the school. Come on, you were expecting something else? Ever hear of the Islamic Republic of Kamistan? Didn’t think so. But the prize of the Cal fictional characters is Dr. Emmett Brown, who brought us the Delorian time machine in “Back to the Future.” Can’t beat Doc Brown.
Notre Dame: The Irish have their own fictional characters, but they can’t really compete, though Josiah Bartlett, the fictional President on “The West Wing,” did manage to snag quite a few write-in votes for President in 2000. On the fiction kick, Nicholas Sparks, author of “The Notebook” and “A Walk To Remember,” is real and went to Notre Dame. I still haven’t seen “The Notebook.” Want to know what that tells you? I haven’t had a girlfriend in a while.
SOUTH REGIONAL CHAMPION: Cal
(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Vermont
Syracuse: We’ll just go ahead and get all the sportscasters out of the way in the first round because you know they’re coming. We’ve got Marv Albert, Bob Costas, Ian Eagle, Sean McDonough, Dick Stockton, Mike Tirico and Dave Pasch. Jayson Stark is an ESPN contributor so he kind of counts too.
Vermont: Does it surprise anyone that Ben Affleck dropped out after one semester? Vermont actually has a decent alumni list. There’s ABC Sports sideline guy Jack Arute, Rollie Massimo, who led Villanova to the 1985 NCAA title, the founder of Linen’s ‘n Things (Eugene Kalkin), Phish frontman Trey Anastacio and then a bunch of hockey players (John LeClair, Martin St. Louis, Patrick Sharp and Tim Thomas).
Gonzaga: John Stockton is the most famous Gonzaga alum to sports fans, but Stockton can’t touch the star that is Bing Crosby. In fact, Crosby has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Crosby sold more than a half a billion records and won an Oscar for Best Actor for “Going My Way.” His childhood home is the alumni association office for Gonzaga. His dorm blanket hangs in the stairwell. Talk about overdoing it. New York Mets outfielder Jason Bay also went to Gonzaga, but that’s what happens when a Canadian plays baseball.
Florida State: Bing Crosby is hard to top, but Jim Morrison fits the bill. The Doors frontman didn’t finish his undergrad degree at FSU, but he spent a few years in Tallahassee, appearing in a campus recruitment video before being arrested for a prank after a Seminoles football game. Sticking with the music theme, Creed lead singer Scott Stapp also went to FSU. I feel guilty putting Scott Stapp and Jim Morrison in the same paragraph.
WINNER: Florida State
(5) Butler vs. (12) UTEP
Butler: There’s not much. Female race car driver Sarah Fisher, college coaches Scott Drew and Thad Matta and the real Jimmy Chitwood, Bobby Plump.
UTEP: I was surprised to find out that Jack Handey was actually a real person. A UTEP alum, Handey’s Deep Thoughts used to be featured on “Saturday Night Live.” Probably the most prominent UTEP alum these days is NFL referee and workout king Ed Hochuli. OK, so he makes a few major mistakes here and there, are you going to get up close and let him know about it?
(4) Vanderbilt vs. (13) Murray State
Vanderbilt: I was harsh on Ohio University in the end because of its ties to Jay Mariotti. Vanderbilt will likely get the same treatment because of Skip Bayless. I can’t think of a soul who likes this guy, and I know that’s his M.O. But seriously, this guy oozes irritation. A much better sports writer, Buster Olney, also went to Vanderbilt, so I’ll cut the Commodores a break in the first round.
Murray State: I don’t know what Molly Sims is going to do. The model turned actress was born and raised in Murray, Ky. She’s always repped the Racers. But she went to school at Vandy before dropping out to pursue her modeling career. We’ll call this the Molly Sims Bowl. An actual Murray State student is W. Earl Brown. The name probably doesn’t ring a bell, but he played Cameron Diaz’s mentally-handicapped brother Warren in “There’s Something About Mary.” You know, “Have you seen my baseball?” That’s the guy.
(6) Xavier vs. (11) Minnesota
Xavier: Jim Bunning isn’t doing the Musketeers any favors lately with his Congressional grandstanding. A good pitcher. An awful politician, though that seems like an oxymoron. Basketball alums David West, James Posey and Brian Grant make the cut because it’s hard to find much else. XU grad Robert Romanus played Mike Damone in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” While Judge Reinhold, Sean Penn, Anthony Edwards, Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Eric Stoltz, Phoebe Cates and Forest Whitaker all went on to enjoy varying levels of Hollywood success, Romanus, well, didn’t. He appeared in a “MacGyver” episode in 1985. Apparently, he had a cameo as himself in last year’s “American Pie: The Book of Love.” I didn’t know they were still making those.
Minnesota: It won’t take much to beat Xavier in the first round. I figure Loni Anderson, the co-founder of the LPGA (Patty Berg) and two U.S. Vice Presidents (Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale) will do the trick.
(3) Pittsburgh vs. (14) Oakland
Pittsburgh: Pitt was “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” as the alma mater of one Fred Rogers. Fellow Panthers include Gene Kelly, Mike Ditka, Curtis Martin, Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, Marty Schottenheimer, Zelda Rubinstein (“Poltergeist”), Beth Ostrosky (Howard Stern’s wife) and Gust Avrakatos, the CIA agent responsible for arming the Afghans in the 1980s (Philip Seymour Hoffman played him in “Charlie Wilson’s War.”).
Oakland: Rumor has it David Hasselhoff attended Oakland but never graduated. I, however, cannot 100 percent confirm that. If I could, Oakland would be an instant Final Four contender. But the uncertainty keeps me hesitant. However, we do know for sure that Curtis Armstrong, Booger in “Revenge of the Nerds” and Robert Englund, famous for his role as Freddy Krueger, both attended Oakland.
(7) BYU vs. (10) Florida
BYU: Actors Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite”), Aaron Eckhart (“Thank You For Smoking”) and Matthew Modine (“Memphis Belle”) all attended BYU, however Modine didn’t graduate. Former Presidential nominee Mitt Romney is also a BYU man as is historic “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings.
Florida: BYU’s top sideline reporter is Todd Harris. Florida’s? Some woman named Erin Andrews. Ever hear of her? Then there’s probably the equally hot Jenn Brown. Unfortunately for UF, they admitted the uber-douche CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel, who I’d put in the Mariotti-Bayless category, only I hesitate because he’s thankfully not no my TV daily.
Kansas State: It’s not good when Kirstie Alley is your top female actress celebrity. That is unless were ranking them by the pound. Speaking of poundage, “Modern Family’s” lovable gay teddy bear Cam is played by KSU alum Eric Stonestreet. Manhattan has produced its share of college hoops coaches with Gene Keady, Lon Kruger and Bill Guthridge all spending time at KSU. Erin Brockovich, Earl Woods (Tiger’s dad) and William A. Porter (founder of E-Trade) also attended Kansas State.
North Texas: When the school’s nickname (Mean Green) matches up with one of your top alums we’re going in the right direction. Mean Joe Greene is a Hall of Famer and was the lynchpin of the Steel Curtain. Add Stone Cold Steve Austin and Blue from “Old School” (Joseph Patrick Cranshaw) and now we’re really talking upset. Not even Pat Boone or Dr. Phil (who got his Ph.D in clinical psychology from North Texas) can trip them up in the first round.
WINNER: North Texas
(1) Syracuse vs. (9) Florida State
Syracuse: We touched on Syracuse’s sportscasting tradition, well plenty of actors and actresses have used the Orange’s communications degree to good work. Among the list of notable alumni are Dick Clark, Taye Diggs, Peter Falk, Vera Farmiga (she gets double points if someone can prove that wasn’t a body double in “Up In The Air”), Frank Langella, Jerry Stiller, “The West Wing” writer Aaron Sorkin, Vanessa Williams and porn star Lexington Steele.
Florida State: Burt Reynolds really carries the Hollywood torch for the Seminoles, but he’s got a little help from some lesser celebs. Cheryl Hines used her role as Larry David’s wife in “Curb” to good effect. Paul Gleason made a name as the ball-busting detention dictator in “The Breakfast Club.” Hunter S. Thompson spent time at FSU, which is kind of a good thing. One thing that’s not is the admission of Richard Simmons. Ouch, FSU.
(4) Vanderbilt vs. (12) UTEP
Vanderbilt: Al and Tipper Gore call Vandy their alma mater, and depending on your viewpoint that’s either a good or bad thing. I’m not going to hate on a guy for trying to stop global warming. That’s like making fun of someone for trying to cure cancer. Author James Patterson has kind of gone all over the board recently with some of his novels. I’m used to the types like “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider,” both of which are much better than their Hollywood adaptations. Also a Vandy alum is Chikai Ohazama, creator of Google Earth. And we all love Google Earth (just not as much as I love Google News).
UTEP: If F. Murray Abraham and Sam Donaldson don’t do it for you, I’m going to have to reach on some basketball names here like Tim Hardaway, Nate Archibald and Nolan Richardson. For where UTEP is located, the Miners should be happy they escaped the first round.
(3) Pittsburgh vs. (11) Minnesota
Pittsburgh: I struggled to name off Pitt alums without having to dip into athletes in the first round. You’re asking for trouble in the second round. We can go with Adrian Cronauer, a radio disk jockey who was the inspiration for “Good Morning Vietnam.” That’s good and all, but then I’m reminded that Dave Wannstedt is a Pitt man. Ugh.
Minnesota: There are a number of newsmen I hate. None more so than the sensationalist that is Rick Sanchez. Living in South Florida during his years as a local anchor down there will do that to you. I thought I escaped him when I moved. Then bang! He lands on CNN. Awful. Fortunately for Minnesota, they seem to have enough to offset him. There’s Bob Dylan (didn’t graduate), Nature Boy Ric Flair, Brock Lesnar, Ron Perlman, Jessica Lange, Peter Graves (“Airplane) and “LOST” antagonist Ben Linus, who has a fictional degree from Minnesota.
(10) Florida vs. (15) North Texas
Florida: How many rounds is Erin Andrews worth? Probably a few, but don’t sleep on North Texas. Florida still has “SNL’s” Darrell Hammond, Stephen Root (“Office Space”), Bob Vila, Faye Dunaway and Stephen Stills in reserve, but it’s going to be tight. Cris Collinsworth doesn’t necessarily help or hurt their cause, and the same goes for MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough.
North Texas: Fresh off their upset in the first round is looking to blast another big state school. And who better to do the blasting than “Robocop.” Peter Weller attended North Texas, as did Joe Don Baker, who usually has a gun in his roles (he was acting chief Tom Dugan in “In the Heat of the Night” and Chief Jerry Karlin in “Fletch”). “Lonesome Dove” author Larry McMurtry and actor Thomas Haden Church (“Wings”) also called North Texas home.
WINNER: North Texas
(1) Syracuse vs. (4) Vanderbilt
Syracuse: What do we have left? Ted Koppel, zany fashion designer Betsey Johnson, former Studio 54 club owner Steve Rubell, Jim Brown. Art Monk, Larry Csonka, Tom Coughlin, Jim Boeheim, Pete Yorn you get the picture. A lot of people go to Syracuse.
Vanderbilt: This is the round where Skip Bayless comes back to haunt Vanderbilt. But he’s not the only guilty party. Joining him in the outhouse is Roy Kramer, the man many say was instrumental in the inception of the BCS. That’s a problem. As is Jay Cutler landing with my Chicago Bears and then proceeding to lead the league in interceptions. Doesn’t make me a happy camper.
Minnesota: On the sports side, Minnesota is loaded. Herb Brooks, Tony Dungy, Paul Molitor, Kevin McHale, Bronko Nagurski and Dave Winfield are just a few. But there’s some art to go with the athletics. We touched on Bob Dylan’s brief stay as a Gopher, but a surprising alumnus is Yanni. That’s right, the long-haired Greek pianist found his way to Minnesota. And I’m not going to lie. I’ve got a few Yanni CDs. My dad got me listening to him when I was young and it was the perfect homework music. I dare you to listen to “Santorini” and not enjoy it a little. Don’t judge me.
North Texas: While I hold Yanni in high esteem, probably higher than most people should, there are few musicians I hold higher than Meat Loaf. The man sings nothing but ballads. And I’m a sucker for a good ballad. Don’t laugh. Meat Loaf kicks ass. But if you need more on the music side from North Texas does Norah Jones, Roy Orbison and Don Henley do the trick? Impressed, right? North Texas, who knew?
WINNER: North Texas
(1) Syracuse vs. (15) North Texas
Syracuse: I’m pretty set on this North Texas pick, so unless someone tells me that Kurt Cobain, Ryne Sandberg and Gandhi went to Syracuse, it’s over for the Orange. You had a good run.
North Texas: Prior to the tournament, not too many people would’ve given the Mean Green a shot at the Final Four. “No chance in hell,” they would’ve said. Who needs a chance in hell when you’ve got a “Bat Out of Hell.” Ma, Where’s the Meat Loaf!
WEST REGIONAL CHAMPION: North Texas
(1) Kansas vs. (15) North Texas
Kansas: Don Johnson is still the key, but a wild card is Jayhawk Sheila C. Bair, the Chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). It’s her job to make sure the banks don’t lose our money. Well, at least up to $250,000 of our money. It’s called peace of mind. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m looking for the six-fingered man. “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
North Texas: Dr. Phil is a big blight on the resume, especially considering North Texas is the school that granted him a Ph.D in clinical psychology therefore allowing Phil to call himself doctor. Meat Loaf, “Robocop,” Blue and Stone Cold are tough to beat, but I haven’t watched wrestling since I was 13.
(8) Cal vs. (12) Cornell
Cal: MySpace blows and is an avenue for pedophiles to exploit youngsters. The guy who invented PowerBars (Brian Maxwell) went to Berkeley, and I’ve still yet to come across one of those that tastes decent. Chunk was a great find, but he’s canceled out by the awfulness of William Hung.
Cornell: Frank Gannett, founder of Gannett Newspapers, went to Cornell and since they sign my checks, I’m going to say I’m a bit biased. Plus, the Coors Bros. (Adolph and Joseph) went to Cornell, and while I’m not the biggest Coors fan, it beats PowerBars.
(1) Kansas vs. (12) Cornell
Kansas: It doesn’t matter how you do a bracket, apparently Kansas will find its way into the final game. In our case, for totally different reasons than all the experts. You can’t ignore the fact that the game’s father, James Naismith, was a Jayhawk. Or that two of the game’s most successful coaches in Phog Allen and Adolph Rupp also called Kansas home.
Cornell: Basketball is all well and good, but there are things that carry a little more importance. That brings us to Willis Carrier. A 1901 graduate of Cornell, Carrier invented air conditioning. Scoff all you want at its importance. In a few months time, we’ll all be singing his praises. God bless Willis Carrier.