The Great Wings Over Bracket Pt. 2: Bracket and Round One

At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, the seeding for Onward State’s Great Wings Over Bracket closed. We asked you to select your four favorite menu items from Wings Over Happy Valley in order to seed them and build a bracket, and 1,195 of you responded.

Warning: Statistics junk is coming up, feel free to skip to the results below this paragraph.

If you consider the 2012 Census data, there is a combined population of 65,749 in State College/University Park. With 1,195 responses, these rankings are accurate to the 99 percent confidence interval with a 3.7 percent margin of error. That is awesome. Thank you for filling my little nerd heart with joy.

Anyway, here are the results, with the number of votes in brackets:

  • Honey Bar-B-Que [512]
  • Sweet Chili [309]
  • Waffles First (Plain) [282]
  • Cruisin’ Altitude Buffalo Style [246]
  • Garlic Parmesan [242]
  • Honey Mustard [222]
  • Wimpy Buffalo Style [196]
  • Chipotle BBQ [189]
  • Kickin’ BBQ [185]
  • Golden BBQ [172]
  • Hot Garlic [172]
  • Jamaican Jerk [147]
  • French Fries [143]
  • Waffles Fries (Cajun) [139]
  • Waffle Fries (Garlic Parmesan) [133]
  • Sweet Onion BBQ [121]
  • Waffle Fries (Cheese) [118]
  • Mustang Ranch [117]
  • Onion Rings [115]
  • Waffle Fries (Ranch) [110]
  • Jet Fuel Buffalo Style [105]
  • Red Alert Buffalo Style [103]
  • Afterburner Buffalo Style [98]
  • Bar-B-Que [97]
  • Spicy Teriyaki [97]
  • Teriyaki [94]
  • West Texas Mesquite [72]
  • Cajun Bar-B-Que [62]
  • Waffle Fries (Mesquite) [54]
  • Cajun Blackened [50]
  • Cajun Teriyaki [49]
  • Seven Pepper [29]

That’s a lot of data to analyze. The biggest takeaway, though: Holy shit, Honey BBQ is popular. I had never even had it before this (one of four flavors I had yet to eat), but I needed to try it to confirm. I literally paid money to eat wings even when I didn’t really want wings just because of how overwhelming this response was. God damn.

Anyway, we will go round-by-round and, via head-to-head matchups, determine the winner. This week, we will show you the bracket, analyze some of the key menu items in the first round, and post the poll for the round.

Again, if you want to skip all this nonsense and get to the voting, simply scroll to the bottom of the page.

The Great Wings Over Bracket

graphic for noel

Flavor Seeding Analysis

1) Wimpy Buffalo is overrated. The overwhelming love might just be from it being a safe choice and a prominent flavor for the casual fan, because to me it is not that great. Sure, it looks good in an open field, but head-to-head against a powerhouse like Sweet Chili or even a sleeper like Hot Garlic, I don’t know that it can hold up. You heard me, Wimpy Buffalo is 2012 Duke, and whoever beats it will be C.J. McCollum’s Lehigh. It has that high-seed prestige and is a name brand, but it is beatable. That’s what happens when you build around Austin Rivers, two Plumlees, and the lesser Curry brother. Wait, I lost that analogy somewhere.

2) Honey Bar-B-Que is already a legend. Nearly 43% of all respondents said it was one of the four best options. It received 203 more votes than the next closest flavor, a number so staggering that victory seems almost assured. Save for #1 seeds in the first round, nobody is ever truly safe in the tournament. Honey Bar-B-Que, however, is so dominant that it is the closest thing to as safe a bet possible. You never know what will happen, but the smart money would absolutely be on this flavor fulfilling its destiny and winning the whole thing, and winning it handily. Honey Bar-B-Que is all of John Wooden’s title-winning UCLA teams from 1967-1973.

3) Spicy Teriyaki has made a lot of noise. While it might not be the most popular flavor, its fans are confident in its strengths and believe it has the capacity to make a run. Whether the rest of the folks agree remains to be seen, and it might take more than one win to legitimize itself. If it gains momentum, watch out, because it could be a legitimate contender. Spicy Teriyaki is 2006 George Mason. Both got here from relatively weak backgrounds (the other Teriyaki flavors are decidedly mediocre, as is the CAA, which was between GMU, UNC-Wilmington, and Hofstra that season), and both could get hot in a hurry (the heat in Spicy Teriyaki of course being represented by Jai Lewis). While it may not win it all, a few massive upsets and a place in history are there for the taking.

4) If this thing goes chalk, it could be anybody’s game. Much like the 2008 tournament, there are four strong contenders that may well all make it to the Fried Four. Kansas beat North Carolina and then John Calipari, Derrick Rose, and Chris Douglas-Roberts’ loaded Memphis team. In this case, Sweet Chili is 2008 Kansas. It’s deep and complex, much like a squad that featured Cole Aldrich, Darrell Arthur, Sherron Collins, Brandon Rush, and of course Mario Chalmers, and could very well take down the big bad favorite. Hopefully Honey Bar-B-Que can shoot free throws.

Non-wing menu items are involved in a series of interesting matchups as well.

5) Waffle Fries with Cheese takes on Sweet Onion BBQ in the first round. Neither is particularly impressive, but both are reliable and well-done with some upside, and the matchup could be a decent one. This is 2013 Colorado State – Missouri, which was essentially a tossup in predictions. Though the win ended up being a double-digit one for Colorado State, it would get absolutely obliterated by Louisville in the next round, a fate that will befall the winner of this game at the hands of Honey Bar-B-Que.

6) French Fries take on Ranch Waffle Fries, a battle not unlike 2011 Penn State – Temple. God, fuck that game. The roles reverse seeding-wise, as Penn State represents French Fries. Both name brands, they were carried here by one massive factor (Talor Battle and being automatically included with combo orders), are more successful in other areas (Penn State and football of course, with French Fries being better if you get them from basically anywhere else), but nonetheless are a crowd-pleaser. Ranch Waffle Fries are Temple because nobody actually likes them, but just got stuck with them and will get beaten next round even if they win.

7) Garlic Parmesan Waffle Fries are that mid-round seed that ended up underrated and will surprise people. Some kind of breakout will happen, and they will face some overrated items that will not hold up against the offensive assault GPWF can offer. Garlic Parmesan Waffle Fries are 2014 UConn, though they may not end up winning it all like the Huskies did.

8) If the UConn comparison is true, that means that Plain Waffle Fries are 2014 Florida. A top seed with an easy path, the regular version of the upgraded fries will fold under serious pressure. Cajun Blackened and one of Cajun Waffle Fries or Onion Rings is basically the same as drawing Albany, Pitt, a weak UCLA, and Dayton in my book. They’ll hit a roadblock when they play an underrated side (in this case, probably Honey Mustard), and while the margin won’t be huge, everyone who watches knows they got run out of the gym (deep fryer?) when they are finally eliminated.

Have a team comparison you think is apt or a flavor you think could win it all? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to vote below.

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About the Author

Noel Purcell

Noel Purcell is Onward State's Features Editor. He's a senior Supply Chain major, but is going to law school at some point in the future and masquerades as a writer for now. He continues to disappoint his ancestors by being a complete Irish stereotype. His email is [email protected] because there were no other Noels before him. His ex-wife got the good half of his bio in the divorce settlement.

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