The 70 Greatest Players of the Last Eight Years: A Ranking
The 70 Greatest Players of the Last Eight Years: A Ranking was a ranking of players written by Mike Cheyne in 2016, spread over several posts.
The Text of the Ranking
So I looked at all the player polls of the years I played or was involved in the game (2009-2016). The number of distinct players who were ranked in the poll at least once were 70 (if you do not count Andy Watkins or Shantanu Jha, which I didn't). That's a nice round number, so I decided to rank them (although it's really a top 65, for reasons I'll explain below).
I'm going to try to post this in one day, but it will be in a series of 10 player blocks, so think of them as your commercial break as you're watching some FOX Sports countdown or whatever. Obviously, this is just my opinion, but maybe this will start a series of arguments. Those are always fun.
I am counting anyone who received a ranking during this stint. There are some players who were eligible during this stint who had careers that I didn't see a lot of; I try to take a balanced approach to their rankings (in most cases, they basically receive the ranking they would get if they were ranked for their whole careers).
66-70: These are guys that I really couldn't figure out how to rank, for whatever reason. Either I never really saw them play, they had careers that really ended as I was starting to play, or they are just getting started now. In any case, my apologies to Aaron Kashtan (mostly of Florida), Caleb Kendrick (Oklahoma), Aseem Keyal (Berkeley), and the Dartmouth punch of Randal Maas and Dominic Machado.
65. BILLY BEYER (Florida State): I don't really remember his playing career that much, but it seemed like at his peak he was doing all right for Florida State. He seems perpetually the same sort of player that I remember him from in 2008-2009, which is both good and bad.
64. NICK JENSEN (Dartmouth): A brief but really good peak in which he harnessed his talents as a player on the combustible Dartmouth squads of the last few years. Unfortunately, he loses some points for no-showing that ACF Nationals--not even Carmelo would do that.
63. JARRET GREENE (Ohio State): My nemesis, if you can call someone a nemesis who has like a 1-1,000 record against me in regular season play. In seriousness, I kind of thought Jasper Lee was the better OSU player in terms of deep knowledge, but Jarret was the more valuable player to the team in terms of generalism (as you'll see by this list, generalists typically win out). Still, they were a great crimefighting duo.
62. DAN PUMA (Maryland): Besides being the master of Fantasy Saturday Night Live, Dan had a nice peak in which he was a key cog of solid Maryland teams (I feel like if Chris Manners played like he did at open tournaments all the time, he'd get up there). Not sure what he's doing right now.
61. JOEY GOLDMAN (Oxford): I obviously have rarely seen Oxford play, so I didn't really see Joey play until Chicago Open. He reminded me a lot of Will Nediger's style of play, a cool, conservative style that results in various impressive buzzes. Could probably go up a few slots if I was more familiar with his work.
60. DYLAN MINARIK (Northwestern): At this point in his career, Dylan is basically like a late clue mega-generalist, in that a typical Dylan line seems to be a lot of buzzes but not many powers and usually not strength to get over the hump against better teams (ACF Nationals 2015 aside). That's not meant to be an insult--if that were easy to do, lots of people would do it. And hopefully the power of spite gets to him at some point and he just starts learning more stuff. He does impress me as someone who really be a force in many categories (again, not easy to do), if not overwhelming. He also has one of the most distinctive buzzing motions I've seen.
59. LIBO ZENG (Michigan): One of the original dufuses. A player with a lot of knowledge, but not always the smartest style of play, making him one of those classic guys who is terrifying to play both against and as a teammate with. Libo would usually, in the same game even, one clue some hard crap but then make various dumb negs (the Libo Special!). Think of him as one of those guys who can throw down awesome tomahawk dunks but then also throw the ball away a lot too.
58. CHARLES HANG (WUSTL): Charles' career in five bullet points. 1. Wears a tuxedo a lot. 2. Has become a devastating history player and a solid generalist. 3. Still not at the level of top flight generalist. 4. That silly CC kerfluffle. 5. Very long QBWiki article. I think quizbowl tends to think of 1, 4, and 5 more than 2; he's probably WUSTL's best player now, although I think Richard had the better career.
57. MICHAEL ARNOLD (Chicago/Columbia): 2010 was Marnold at his mustache-twirling peak, as he was making top-flight buzzes for good Chicago teams as well as winning the first and only trash national championship. He also was once ranked on the player poll, something you can't say about David Seal.
56. RICHARD MASON (Yale): Perhaps the most forgotten player to win Chicago Open in recent years, Rich and John Lawrence formed the 1-2 punch of the Yale Renaissance, and for a brief period, I thought Rich was the better player. However, his peak was kind of short and he didn't improve as dramatically as his contemporaries, and then he disappeared from the game as well (a common theme among the greats).
55. BENJI NGUYEN (Stanford): Hard to rank Benji, as he was Stanford's best player for a while and then their influx of talent caused him to get somewhat lost in the shuffle at times. He could probably go higher I guess.
54. BRIAN MCPEAK (Maryland/Michigan): The lonely life of a science specialist (although Brian has some underrated knowledge, especially in philosophy). Got a lot better his last few years, helping to close the science gap for Maryland and be a valuable gunner for Michigan. Jordan Brownstein reportedly trying to clone him.
53. GAUTAM KANDLIKAR (Minnesota): An invaluable contributor to the Minnesota contending teams. Not as cute as Gaurav (but who is?). At his peak, pretty fearsome and able to snipe a lot of other categories.
52. PAUL GAUTHIER (Chicago): There are various good Paul stories out there. I think Jimmy Ready once noted that while Marshall Steinbaum wants to return the world to the 1850's, Paul also does...but 1850 BC. Paul was a super nice dude who always had a habit of just going off and powering all kinds of shit (even in stuff like film!) against my teams and then I'd look at the stats, and that round was like half his powers or some such nonsense. He was a high upside specialist and certainly valuable, but not as lockdown in his categories as some of the players above him.
51. CHARLES TIAN (Chicago): Kind of like a slightly smarter version of Libo, although just as excitable. It took Charles a while to really establish himself on Chicago (speaking of which, why did Doug Graebner never get ranked?) and he was basically just a specialist, but a really good one. At his peak, one of the best "history" specialists I've seen.
50. AUSTIN BROWNLOW (Louisville/Stanford): I honestly don't remember Austin's Louisville career that much, so I was really surprised when he turned into a merciless beast and quasi-specialist in Stanford, like when Tom Brady got drafted and went from a so-so quarterback to a monster. The peak was short and he benefited from the Stanford talent influx, but it was a very devastating peak. Yet another "never played in high school" great.
49. MIKE CHEYNE (Minnesota): Perhaps it seems presumptuous to rank myself so high and even over one of my teammates (Gautam) who always outscored me, but this is where I would place myself. I tend to think of myself as one of the better secondary players in modern quizbowl history, someone who can do well on a number of categories, gets some powers, and few negs. You also have to give me points for inventing the online packet.
48. SAM BAILEY (Chicago/Minnesota): I think Sam and I are fairly similar players, although Sam is funnier. Sam is perhaps the king of "where the hell did that come from?" buzzes--if the entire distro was 20/20 "No One Would Know This Stuff," then Sam and Will Nediger would reign supreme.
47. ANDREW WANG (Illinois): An explosive player--literally! Covers a wide range of the distribution and is pretty good at it. If this were the NBA, Wang would be the Rasheed Wallace of quizbowl, as he would get a technical every time he jumps out of his seat screaming about how he should have buzzed.
46. RICHARD YU (WUSTL): Pass (that's a joke--no offense, Richard).
45. HENRY GORMAN (Rice): Gorman evolved from being one of the incredibly unlikeable Charter wunderkinds to a pretty nice, laidback guy at Rice. I might actually be underrating the guy--his numbers at stuff like ACF Nationals were really good. My lasting Gorman memory is him asking me to write something for his online journal--did that ever get off the ground?
44. MARSHALL STEINBAUM (Chicago): Marshall is one of those players who probably deserves his own 30 for 30 show, like that one about Reggie Miller and the Knicks, you could do Marshall and Most of Quizbowl. I kid (somewhat). Marshall, who, like myself, emerged from quizbowl limbo on a contending team in 2008, became a top history player and excellent generalist. I would place him in the category of guys like Libo, Paul, Charles Tian, and Will Alston in great history players who would rack up high power numbers but also make some fatal buzzes at times. Final story: For a long while if you typed Marshall's name into Google, Google would suggest "fiend" as part of the auto-complete. He blamed me for this.
43. WILL ALSTON (Dartmouth): Will could really shoot up this list if he improves and does some postgraduate work; his last season was magnificent and hopefully eliminated some of the Dysfunctional Dartmouth/Modern World stuff that plagued him at first (much like how Gary Sheffield's reputation improved after a while). He's learning and maturing as both a player and writer (sorry if this sounds condescending).
42. TREVOR DAVIS (Carnegie Mellon/Alberta): Who knows how good Trevor would be if he didn't literally play on like one or two man teams for most of his career? He's like a bizarro Robert Horry. Trevor had a fun knowledge base--I honestly didn't realize how good a film player he was until this Chicago Open.
41. BRUCE ARTHUR (Chicago/Harvard): Bruce is one of those players that I always thought was more fearsome at harder questions than easy questions--like someone you could probably take far easier on an ACF Fall packet than a Chicago Open packet. I have to be honest, I'm giving Bruce a lot of points because of his Facebook feed which is really the greatest thing since sliced bread. Memories of Bruce: him awakening from a dogmatic slumber to get really angry that I beat him to a tossup on Ice Ice Baby, writing the awesome Wild Kingdom, playing on his phone during an entire CO round he didn't care about, writing a tossup on the Reptile Fund.
40. PAUL DRUBE (Iowa): A forgotten player by kids today, mainly because at one point he just vanished. At his peak, a devastating generalist force with not a ton of teammates. May have struggled in the shift to "getting real" post-2008 or so, but hard to say. Some of the fastest buzzing speed I can remember too.
39. SHAN KOTHARI (Michigan State/Minnesota): Sometimes I weep that I missed out on playing with a potential Shan/Sam/Jason Asher nucleus by a year. That said, I feel like Shan got a lot better upon joining Minnesota; he was obviously good at MSU but he seems to have turned into a force at Minnesota (although he was always a player who excelled at harder stuff, I think). On the other hand, wouldn't you be thrilled to leave East Lansing?
38. WILL BUTLER (Virginia): It is hard to evaluate Will's career. For various reasons, he missed out on being part of the very good/great UVA championship teams, and for the first part of his career, UVA was not a very active program. I think Jerry once noted that if you drop Will onto the 2011 UVA team, they run wild on the crazy Nats science, and that could be true. You've heard of bad ball hitters? Will was like the preeminent crazy tossup buzzer.
37. DALLAS SIMONS (Harvard/Penn): The tragedy of the Watkinsgate stuff is that it makes it harder to evaluate some of the Harvard players of the time, and I think Dallas was one of the biggest casualties of that--he was arguably Harvard's best player during some of those runs and the revelation of the cheating also seemed to destroy his spirit somewhat. An obvious geography/classics beast, he expanded his game to become a fine generalist.
36. SINAN ULUSOY (Toronto/Alberta): Probably the greatest Canadian player who never defected to the U.S. A spotty but brilliant peak that saw him as the spark on some high placing Canadian teams. Embarrassingly despite playing a whole tournament with him, I don't know if you pronounce his name "See-nan" or "Sigh-nan."
35. ADAM SILVERMAN (Georgia Tech): There's a range of players that I would describe as "primarily science generalists who are the top scorers on low top bracket/high second bracket type teams." Adam is better than some of those, but not quite as good as, say, Neil Gurram or at his prime Dwight Wynne. Could conceivably still go higher on this list if he plays as a grad student, but that seems unlikely.
34. DWIGHT WYNNE (UCLA/Irvine): Dwight was a good player--he didn't play for a lot of powerhouses, but he usually guided his teams to strong finishes. In my experiences playing his teams, he would usually have some oddball buzz that frequently could be a difference in a win. Gets some points for doing outreach work and for inventing quiz baseball, the game that swept the IRC by storm in 2010.
33. RAFAEL KRICHEVSKY (Columbia): Rafael is one of those players that if quizbowl were a national sport, I bet he would the subject of an article titled "THE BEST PLAYER YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF" every few years. He has tremendous range and knowledge of his categories, guiding a short-handed team to an impressive CO finish this year. I presume he's underrated because he doesn't post and the Columbia team hasn't had a signature finish at ACF Nats yet. That could change.
32. MAX SCHINDLER (Chicago): Could obviously go up and I would honestly be surprised if he doesn't jump 10 or so spots by the time he's finished. The key is if he embraces the spite and goes on a rampage to, say, knock off Michigan this year. He also I guess could drop dead of Coca-Cola poisoning.
31. NEIL GURRAM (MIT): Nothing is certain but death, taxes, and a solid Neil Gurram performance for MIT at ICT. I honestly expect that in like 2030, Neil and MIT will still be chugging along to a top bracket ICT finish.
30. GUY TABACHNICK (Brown): A brief, spectacular career. Remember that MO year where Brown laid the smack on everyone? Guy was a key cog as a freshman on a team with Jerry and Eric. Unfortunately, like Generation K for the Mets, Guy (I guess more accurately his teammates) became kind of the symbol of the destruction of the Brown program, and that could be a good argument to knock him down a few slots. However, he was an all-around excellent player when he did play, so let's not forget that.
29. JACOB REED (Yale): Obviously can and presumably will go high up--just look at his numbers at hard tournaments this year. However, I held off from placing him in the top 20 just yet. If John Lawrence was the Godfather to the Music Mafia, then Jacob Reed is the Goodfellas.
28. CHARLIE DEES (Missouri/Columbia): A combustible career to be sure, ranging from the high of being one of the top young players on the block his first few years to the low of personal problems/literally missing tournaments/the tragedy that was DEES to (hopefully) a late career renaissance at Columbia. I think I'm probably giving Charlie too many "what could have been" points here, but he was really quite the force, especially in his early days at a not that great Missouri team. Also, I'm sure most everyone has a story about Charlie Dees, even though a lot of them are presumably "that time when he was really high..."
27. KEVIN KOAI (Stanford/Yale): It's kind of amusing that by the time his career ended, Kevin was the 2nd best music player on his team (although I always thought that at least at the time, he was possibly the more consistent of the two). You also may have forgotten, like I did, that Kevin won the Triple Crown. He was an ideal secondary player, the kind of player that would just things, score points, and not make a scene.
26. SAAJID MOYEN (Penn): #27 to #25 on this list are similar--they're fine arts (and other things) players who were usually the #2 or #3 scoring options on their teams who had the firepower to be top scorers and who won an ACF Nationals. Saajid also represents another arc in that he's one of the players who got an injection of Vitamin Spite (or whatever) and took a Crash Course in Awesomeness late in his career. Like I was outscoring the dude as a teammate at Chicago Open at one point (perhaps, like my ICT defeat of John Lawrence, that was the catalyst). He was clicking on all cylinders during Penn's Nats' run. I think it was those cool glasses he wore in his last year.
25. AARON ROSENBERG (Brown/Illinois): An ultra valuable player with all around excellence--a huge pickup for Illinois during its Nats run. I think late career Saajid was better than Aaron, but Aaron was more consistently excellent. Aaron also talked about Venmo less, which is a point in his favor.
24. KURTIS DROGE (Michigan/Louisville): Kurtis' recent return at Louisville has shot him up a few places. He also deserves some points for serving as the San Diego Chargers to Jordan Brownstein's Peyton Manning. Let's not forget that Kurtis held his own as a scorer with Will Nediger and took a rag-tag Michigan team to a very high 2011 Nats finish. The Kurtis/Libo combo was one of the more entertaining quizbowl backcourts in history (maybe like the Penny Hardaway/Nick Anderson equivalent--I don't know, I'm stretching here).
23. EVAN ADAMS (VCU/UVA): Evan was the generalist force behind the peaking VCU team in 2011 and then took his talents to Charlottesville where he served as the Joe Dumars to the UVA Bad Boys. Being a generalist playing behind one of the greatest players of all time and a quasi specialist who had a monster run is somewhat thankless work, but Evan was always consistently good/great. He also, as far as I know, still holds the one-day record for writing the most quzbowl questions in a day--I'm sure Dave Madden's company will break this at some point.
22. TOMMY CASALASPI (VCU/UVA): It was hard ranking Evan and Tommy. I think Evan had the better career for the most part, but it was hard to overlook that monster run by Tommy where he decided to learn science (Jordan Brownstein may eventually get to that point and then we'll all die). I had some Tommy jokes here, but I probably shouldn't mock my HSAPQ Vice President.
21. STEPHEN LIU (Harvard/Stanford): Stephen has become quite the generalist force--he has to be one of the top fine arts players in the country at this point, and he's done good work in leading Harvard and Stanford Redux teams to high finishes. Both he and the next person on the list are also responsible for the comedy highlight of the year--the HFT discussion thread.
20. TED GIOIA (Harvard): Again, the tragedy of Watkinsgate obscures the fact that Ted was on fire at the 2011 ICT, the best I've ever seen him play. Memories of Ted: The 2012 ICT where I beat Ted to at least one power because he was too busy complaining about the previous question, the podcast where Ted does his impression of (I think Jerry?) yelling at a high schooler, Ted dressing up like Rob Carson at the 2009 Nats.
19. SELENE KOO (Chicago): In many ways, one of the ideal secondary players of all time, the perfect mesh for those top flight Chicago teams and Seth Teitler. But as her entry in the top players ranking argued, she had a great career trajectory, moving from backbencher to secondary scoring option to team leader (it's often forgotten but that 2011 Chicago team she led was very close, actually, to making the finals of both nationals).
18. JOHN LAWRENCE (Yale/Chicago): I was honestly surprised to see John so "low" (this is the top 20, nothing is that low), but this is going to be a bloodbath in the top 20 and i have a Minnesota bias to work through as well. I'm sure John would heartily object, but I guess I view the players above him as having more slightly more firepower. That said, John is a fearsome literature/arts player, is consistently dapper, and shares my belief that powers should rare. He also proved his mettle by playing solo for Oxford in 2013 and having a fine finish.
17. ANDREW HART (Minnesota): Andrew said "as long as you don't rank me below Chris Ray, I'm happy." Well, I'm sorry about that (more in Chris' entry). That said, I did rank you over John Lawrence, so maybe that means something. I've played with Andrew probably the most of anyone on this list--he's the crafty lefty of quizbowl, someone who has the "will to buzz" on a lot of shit across categories, and is perfectly content with his stats. He's never been one to put eye-popping numbers but he's very consistent and hasn't really lost much of his knowledge base. I'm sure he can find some statistic as well that would rank him first among his peers, so don't feel too bad.
16. ROB CARSON (Minnesota/MCTC): Andrew and Rob are kind of permanently linked at the hip, like Edge and Christian, Trammell and Whitaker, O.J. Mayo and drugs. It's hard to really say who was better--I always thought Andrew was better during their playing days, while Rob is better now as an open player. Rob has a very impressive knowledge base--obviously a lot of it is real, but I guess I've never met someone who likes to "read about things" more than Rob (that's a compliment by the way, although please read something other than Jacobin). Rob and Andrew's most lasting accomplishment is presumably writing CO Trash 2016 and 2018.
15. JEFF HOPPES (Berkeley): Possibly the best "secondary" type player of all time, although obviously has the chops to win as a #1, since he did it. Put up solid performances leading Berkeley to high Nats finishes. Killer contributor to Chicago Open teams since he like knows a lot of stuff very deep and doesn't neg. The Cerebral Assassin's best accomplishment in recent years is just going Andre the Giant on various hapless fields at CO History, smashing them into oblivion (a.k.a. "pulling a Tejas").
14. CHRIS RAY (Maryland/Chicago): I'll be the first to say that Chris doesn't always play the cleanest game--there's a few goofy negs or unfortunate vulch attempts in most Chris Ray tournaments. However, his ability and record of accomplishments shouldn't be discounted either. Chris took various Maryland teams to high, usually overachieving finishes. He moved to Chicago and as a relatively mature, complementary player, was a key cog in a championship team. If he somehow pulls a rabbit out of his hat and makes Ohio State a top bracket team, I'm all for moving him to top 10. He's also a player with a lot of stories about him, which I like to have among the players near the top of the list--if you don't have a Chris Ray story and you played in the Midwest or Mid-Atlantic, you're lying.
13. WILL NEDIGER (Michigan): The Canadian Cruciverbalist (spellcheck says I meant to say "Structuralist") is probably the best quizbowl player in the game today at Hard-Ass Shit: The Tournament (see Arrabal). He reminds me of John Lawrence--a hyper-elite player and nearly unbeatable on some categories, who is not as good at other categories, such as history, science, and trash (although he did just win a trash tournament). I don't really know how to describe Will--if there was some packet where most of the answerlines were like obscure Puerto Rican poets or films from South Sudan, I think he'd beat anyone in the world on it. However, he might lose on an ICT packet to, say, my team (he's also nice enough to take this blatant insult in good Canadian cheer). That's the only thing keeping him out of the top 10.
12. BRENDAN BYRNE (Minnesota): Time for a controversial ranking. You know how every ranking usually has someone's childhood hero ranked way too high (like why Cousy is so high on Bill Simmon's list)? This is mine. I was coming into the league at the time, so I probably had rose-tinted glasses, but Brendan was a monster. A beast. It was a short but devastating peak. YES, I know it was mostly pre-realification (although just for fun on his way out he smashed Jerry's hard-ass CO 2010). YES, I know you can say he was a flashcard making robot (well, then, why didn't everyone just do that?). I don't care. The Brendan peak was awe-inspiring. Yes, it was short, and the MattBo peak and Jordan peak and what have you are just as if not more impressive. That's why he's not in my top 10. The one thing I will defend him on, though, is the idea that his post-graduate decline proves his knowledge was fake--well, it just proves his skill came from lots and lots of practicing. If LeBron walked away from the game and stopped taking care of his body, he wouldn't be good either.
11. AURONI GUPTA (UCSD/Michigan): Auroni at one point I feel like almost got consumed by being a good player on a mediocre team. But then he more or less embraced it and seemed more at peace with it; he stuck with the game and was vindicated by a sensational campaign this year with a well-deserved Nats win. He, along with a number of people below him, are fighting to crack the top 10, and I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them did in a few seasons.
10. MIKE SORICE (Illinois): When Mike was feeling it, he could really beat anybody. Unfortunately, as he'd be the first to tell you, he wasn't always feeling it and his style of play tended to lead to self-destruction at times. That said, Mike did remarkable work--taking a 2009 ICT team where his 2nd best player was probably Jeff Crean to the finals is a signature accomplishment. He was super close from winning ACF Nationals 2011 as well (and these are just the finishes I saw). "Mercurial" is probably the best way I'd describe Mike--it was a style of play that had major, major upside over this period but wasn't quite as consistent as the folks above him.
9. IKE JOSE (Illinois): Ike was really feeling it for the brief period when he was Illinois' main scoring option, a period resulting in an ICT runner-up and ACF Nationals victory. He also worked very well alongside Mike Sorice. Ike's fantastic Nats run, which captured the imagination of viewers at home pleading for someone to slay the Yale juggernaut, is one of the most thrilling things I've seen.
8. JORDAN BROWNSTEIN (Maryland): Could go much, much higher as his career continues. Could conceivably be #1 if he decides to learn science. Remember when he was so desperate for CO teammates he played with me? If I were Bill Simmons, I'd compare that to when a hot chick switches high schools, doesn't realize how hot she is, and ends up going to prom with like the captain of the quizbowl team because she just takes the first offer she gets. SCORE!
7. MATT WEINER (JSRCC): Obviously I'm giving him credit for the rest of his career and for those opens. Matt is an unbelievably crafty player, one of the few players who didn't miss a beat when he stopped playing. His collegiate career was typically marked by lack of teammates/shorthanded teams. Always got the most out of his open teams.
6. JERRY VINOKUROV (Brown): Fun fact--I remember a CO History game where I was playing with Matt Bollinger and we lost to Jerry after blowing a reasonable lead, and both Matt and I concluded that the fear that Jerry might murder us was one factor why we lost. Jerry and Mike are similar players, although I think Jerry's base upside was slightly better (like Mike, Jerry occasionally went to war too much with the questions). Jerry came very close to winning a lot of national championships, but his lasting legacy might be creating a great program at Brown and inspiring two other Top 70 players. He's also now a top bracket trash player, so look out for that career renaissance.
5. ERIC MUKHERJEE (Brown/Penn): Eric was pretty much a complete player, aside from his weird habit of wearing bathrobes to tournaments. The best science player of all time, he was quite good at history and pretty solid at other topics as well. Eric was one of those players that there were certain clues that he would always buzz on. You mention a named operation in the 20th century? Eric would know it (that's what made him a fun history teammate). I'm glad he won a national championship; it seems like whenever players do that, a burden is lifted off their shoulders.
4. MATT JACKSON (Yale): The best winner of his era (won a national championship almost every year of his career!). I'll say more in the Matt Bollinger entry, but they were obviously joined at the hip in terms of top rivals, the Rock/Stone Cold pairing of their day. I will say that while I think Matt Bollinger was (slightly) the better player, Matt Jackson has an argument for being the 'greater" player, if that makes sense. It's like Wilt and Russell, if Wilt also won a lot but not quite as much as Russell. Okay, these analogies are stupid. Let's just say that Matt Jackson was an unbelievably good player and that his psycho Jeopardy grin is very scary.
3. SETH TEITLER (Chicago): An unflappable competitor. It was tough deciding between him and Matt Jackson, but I decided Seth's consistency and longevity got him the nod. I have little to add to the analysis of Seth Teitler--I'll say two points though: he was a great teammate. I only played with him at silly things like Ryan Westbrook's Experiment II and Wild Kingdom, and especially in the latter, he was super encouraging to his teammates and kept us on an even keel. Secondly, his hyper competitiveness is sometimes forgotten because he's a nice, laidback guy. I remember some game where my team (I think this was an open team, but I can't recall) got an early lead on his team and I could tell very subtly he was taking it up a notch, that he had decided that was enough of that (I can't confirm, but I think his eyes flashed red in demonic fashion).
2. MATT BOLLINGER (UVA). So Matt Bollinger in many ways is the best modern example of spite paying off. 2014 UVA was a juggernaut but it was a juggernaut built on spite, on anger at being foiled in previous years. That's not the only thing about Matt's career--his beatdown on the field in 2012 at ICT, his hyper-excellence throughout, obviously are key factors, but I think that epic year is what moved him to #2 and above Matt Jackson. There are a lot of Matt Bollinger stories, most of which relate to jokes I found funny. I direct people to his qbwiki page. You don't see those things on Matt Jackson's page, so that's another point in MattBo's favor.
1. ANDREW YAPHE (Stanford). Kind of a cop-out. But he's the player believed to be the best of all time, and during this stretch, he came out of retirement to finish third and first at ACF Nationals. So I can't really NOT rank him #1 I guess (and both his blitz and Minnesota's comeback and his response in the 2010 finals is a thing of beauty). I mean, it's like if Jordan popped in during the 2006 Finals or something and schooled everyone. I did recently read the "Secret History of Shantanu thread" again and he was super funny in it, so that also is a point in his favor.