It’s time for the Elite 8 of Onward State’s Best Penn State Thing Bracket.
We’ve set up four regions: People, Places, Events, and Miscellaneous. Each region started with 16 “teams” competing head-to-head against each other. We’re now down to the final two in each region, with the winner earning the title of “Best Penn State Person/Event/Place/Miscellaneous Thing” and a spot in the Final Four. Those four will compete for the top prize: The title of Champion of the Best Penn State Thing Bracket.
What defines “best”? That’s up to you. You can vote for your favorite, for whichever you think defines “Penn State” best, for a sentimental memory, for whatever you think is most #State, or for whichever one you randomly picked out of a hat. It’s all subjective. It doesn’t matter to us how you decide…just vote.
Now, let’s break it down.
No. 1 Joe Paterno (87.7% over Keegan-Michael Key) vs. No. 2 Mike the Mailman (60.9% over Ali Krieger)
This year’s Homecoming Grand Marshal succumbed to Our Coach, and our favorite mailman beat Penn State’s first World Cup Champion by a pretty nice percentage. Honestly, I may abstain from voting in this region. How are you supposed to pick? They’re both legends, and they’ll both be remembered for a long time in their respective fields. Mike the Mailman is the kindest person I’ve ever met in my life, and never fails to put a smile on his customers’ faces. Joe Paterno, on the other hand, is Joe Paterno. The winningest coach in college football history is the pillar of Penn State and the creator of “Success with Honor.” Whoever wins here will deserve it, but whoever is eliminated got a bad deal.
No. 4 Berkey Creamery (50.2% over Old Main) vs. No. 2 Beaver Stadium (67.5% over the Lion Shrine)
A one-seed goes down! And frankly, it’s understandable. I called this one last week — Old Main’s picturesque landscape can’t compete with a delicious, sprinkle-covered cone from the Creamery. But Old Main put up a fight; the two were tied earlier in the day and the Creamery held on to win by 12 votes. Will Beaver Stadium be able to knock it out? I’m not sure, I think it will be just as close as the last round.
No. 1 THON (78.2% over Homecoming) vs. No. 3 The Whiteout (70.8% over Blue & White Weekend)
Finally, Homecoming’s inexplicable run was stopped in its tracks. It finally met an opponent it wasn’t able to beat in THON, while the Whiteout had no problem dispatching Blue & White Weekend. These are arguably the two most emotionally charged events of the year, and honestly, they’re probably the first two events non-Penn Staters think of when they think “Penn State.” Personally, I’m voting for the Whiteout. In my eyes, there’s nothing more powerful than 110,000 people uniting as one, in front of a national audience, all in the same color, to back the Nittany Lions. But however you vote, you can’t really go wrong.
No. 1 Nittany Lion (86.7% over Penn State Dads) vs. No. 2 “We Are” Chant (70.7% over the Alma Mater)
Much to our staff’s dismay, Penn State Dads’ magical run came to a close last round. While we’ll miss the thought of dads drinking at tailgates with Sketchers and light blue jeans, we get to vote between two other gameday traditions. The Symbol of our Best goes up against our rallying cry, and it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. My take? There are plenty of Lions, but the Nittany Lion is unique to Penn State. Our mascot gets the nod from me.