Revenge of the Nerds
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
And no one should EVER have to forego basketball's bracket madness. Not even ... dare we say it ... nerds.
fans nerds to create a computer program that picks the winning teams throughout the NCAA tournament.
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
This year is the first in, what the two hope to be, a long history of computer
dweebs junkies duking it out for the top basketball-selection program out there. No lame fill-in-the-blank brackets here. To vie for the crown, dorks participants create their own computer programs designed to pick the winning teams throughout the tournament. Just like that friend of yours -- the one who selected Duke to lose in the first round last year -- racked up the points while you could only sulk in your sorrow, Nerd-Off dweebs players are granted points in the same fashion. The program with the most points, and, therefore, the most correct number of winning selections, wins. Honestly, what geek computer guru isn't aspiring to be the BMOC among his geeky friends?
And thanks to the two determined leaders of the Nerd-Off,
nerds entrants can even take part in the millions of dollars lost nationwide to bracketology. That's, right, the once non-gambling-do-gooders (the Nerd Council -- Rizk and Hood) have lined up an official sponsor, goofballs programmers all around are just uber-excited for the extra dough, keep in mind there is one caveat: the tiny probability that Austin Peay may walk away as national champ MUST be included. Just in case.
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. --
Or how their love of Rose from
Why the careless attitude from such over-achievers?
"It could be the next Scrabulous," says Rizk. "You never know."