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Onward State Presents: The Best Penn State Thing Bracket, Round 1

At Onward State, we live for the month of March and all of its madness. Our sports staff loves the NCAA Tournament, but we thought, why restrain all the fun to just sports?

Last winter, you decided Honey BBQ was the best Wings Over flavor. In March, you decided the Phyrst was the best bar in State College. This year, you’ll help us decide the best thing about Penn State.

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 even for which thing would win in a cage match, which is something some of my family members have done. It’s all subjective. It doesn’t matter to us how you decide…just vote.

We’ve set up four regions: People, Places, Events, and Miscellaneous. Each region has 16 seeded things that will compete head-to-head for their regional crown and a spot in the Final Four. In the Final Four, the People champion will take on the Places champion, and the Events champion will take on the Miscellaneous champion.

Unlike previous brackets we’ve done, we seeded everything in advance. It would take a long time to go through each submission and vote if we let people submit their choices for their favorites. We think our list encompasses the best that Penn State has to offer.

Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of all four regions.

People Region:

People (1)

Was there any doubt who our top seed would be in this region? Joe Paterno clearly deserves the top spot, and we included Rick Santorum to see if, for the first time in our bracket history, one option will win unanimously.

Aside from the demolition coming in that matchup, there are a few interesting clashes here in the first round. The 5 vs. 12 and 4 vs. 13 matchups pit Penn State presidents against two celebrities — one local and one national. Will more current people like Keegan-Michael Key and Mary “Squirrel Girl” Krupa beat out former presidents George Atherton and Evan Pugh? We’ll have to see.

Events Region:


Again, this top seed wasn’t much of a discussion — THON is the clear No. 1. There weren’t many honorable mentions either, this was a pretty set group of 16.

The 5 vs. 12 matchup is interesting. Which do you like more, Homecoming week and all the traditions it brings, or beating Rutgers into a pulp? Would you rather watch fraternity floats going down the road, or watch Penn State play “Big Time College Football” against the team that likes to think they’re rivals, until they’re reminded they really aren’t?

Another battle to watch is 3 vs. 14. The Whiteout is a relatively new tradition, but one of the best in college football. Will it beat out the jubilant feelings of moving into the dorms before your first semester at in State College? Only you can decide.

Places Region:


This region was much more difficult to seed. It was tough to decide between Old Main, Beaver Stadium, and the Lion Shrine at the top, but the votes will ultimately tell. The most challenging decision we made was which should be the bottom seed. We decided on East Halls, but the BJC is one of the worst basketball venues in Division-1 and should get whooped by Beaver Stadium.

The 8 vs. 9 matchup pits two prime outdoor places against each other in what’s sure to be a close fight. Everyone has spent countless afternoons both on Cafe’s patio and at the Arboretum. It’ll be interesting to see which one comes out on top.

Miscellaneous Region:


This region is where we put everything that didn’t fall under the umbrella of the first three. And really, they’re all classic #State things. Personally, I love the Alumni Association, but who didn’t celebrate when John Donovan got fired? That’s my favorite upset pick. Also, it won’t beat the “We Are” chant, but our Facebook comments are a personal admission as they sustain our will to blog through rough times.

We do have to clarify the 8 vs. 9 matchup. Pitting Nittanyville and Paternoville against one another was the closest thing we could get to a play-in game. It’ll be interesting to see the final vote on this one.

Voting ends on Sunday, and we’ll have the Round of 32 up on Monday. Now get to voting, and remember: you’re doing God’s work.

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About the Author

Alex Robinson

Alex Robinson was Onward State's Acting Managing Editor/Resident Old Man. He lived in Harrisburg almost his whole life, but he says he's from California -- where he was born -- because that's more fun. He loves cats and Chinese food, but only separately. He met both Ben Affleck and Kanye West within a half hour, so the three of them are basically best friends. If you want to hear his #scorching #hot #takes, you can follow him at @ARobinsonPSU or email him at [email protected].

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