Revenge of the Nerds
Computer programmers get in on the March Madness fun
Posted: Monday March 17, 2008 12:05PM; Updated: Tuesday March 18, 2008 4:06PM
No one should have to forego the annual college basketball hysteria.
No one should have to go without the illegal office bets, constant arguments, Cinderellas, sleepers, bubble-busters and headache-inducing Coach K commercials.
And no one should EVER have to forego basketball's bracket madness. Not even ... dare we say it ... nerds.
That's why Matt Rizk and Ben Hood -- Ph.D. candidates at UCLA in chemical engineering and economics, respectively -- were willing to take it upon themselves to help those girlfriend-less geeks (per their words, not ours), take part in the March festivities via the NCAA Nerd-Off, the latest spin on the nationwide bracket chaos. The contest invites
The story began about four years ago. As a Cornell grad (who is now bustling with pride since his Big Red finally made it to the tourney), Rizk was commonly lumped with the outcast groups given his Ivy League credentials and brain that's wired for engineering. But such stereotypes were mistaken. The soon-to-be doc loves, and has always loved, sports, especially hoops.
As has his former roomie Hood, a Minnesota alum whose team "is really terrible," according to Rizk. Word has it Hood is going for the smart pick (shocker) in UCLA.
But back to the story: As the two sat around researching tirelessly for programming classes and writing their theses, somehow, among all that C++ and Visual Basic mumbo jumbo -- and in between a few snippets of Golden Girls ... again, their words, not ours -- The brilliant Nerd-Off sprang to life!
This year is the first in, what the two hope to be, a long history of computer
And thanks to the two determined leaders of the Nerd-Off,
So far, the Council has received almost 30 entries and is expecting many more. And even though they, have to personally go through each program to check for the basic requirements, the duo is still hoping for as many competitors as they can get, regardless of how their theses are affected.
Or how they'll miss opportunities among the L.A. party scene, where they've met really cool stars like Corey Matthews (a.k.a. -- Ben Savage of Boy Meets World).
Or how their love of Rose from Golden Girls may be hampered by the time constraint.
Why the careless attitude from such over-achievers?
"It could be the next Scrabulous," says Rizk. "You never know."