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The Best Penn State Thing Bracket: Round 2

Welcome back to the Onward State “Best Penn State Thing” Bracket.

You voted, and the first round of the bracket is over. There were a few upsets, but the pretenders were weeded out and the best survived. Now is when the fun begins: the Round of 32.

We’ve set up four regions: People, Places, Events, and Miscellaneous. Each region has 16 seeded things (now down to eight) 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.

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.

People Region

People (1)

No. 1 Joe Paterno (96.3% of the vote over Rick Santorum) vs. No. 9 Terry Pegula (53.6% over John Cappelletti)

Unfortunately, somehow Rick Santorum got 3.7% of the vote so it wasn’t a unanimous choice for Our Coach. He draws a serious dark horse in Terry Pegula, who singlehandedly created two varsity programs at Penn State. I don’t think Pegula will win, but he should have gotten farther in this tournament.

No. 12 Keegan-Michael Key (57.7% over George Atherton) vs. No. 13 Mary “Squirrel Girl” Krupa (50% over Evan Pugh)

We have some upsets! The current celebs won, with both Key and Krupa beating two former presidents of the University. Krupa made it through by the slimmest margins, however. When we closed our polls at the preset time (decided before the tournament began), Pugh trailed by only THREE VOTES. It’s hands down the closest vote we’ve ever had in any of our bracket challenges so far. But, majority rules, and the Squirrel Girl moves on.


No. 6 Russ Rose (54.5% over The McLanaman) vs. No. 14 Ali Krieger (55.3% over The Willard Preacher)

One participant isn’t surprising — Russ Rose is one of the best coaches in NCAA history — but the 14th-seeded Ali Krieger pulling the upset over the Willard Preacher was our biggest upset, seeding-wise, of the tournament (thanks for the retweet, Ali).

No. 10 Saquon Barkley (78.2% over Eric Barron) vs. No. 2 Mike the Mailman (83% over Pat Chambers)

Saquon Barkley kept our presidents winless by dominating Eric Barron, and Mike the Mailman won easily too. This should be the most contested matchup in this region.



No. 1 The Nittany Lion (96.4% of the vote over “Penn State Lives Here”) vs. No. 9 Paternoville (76.7% over Nittanyville)

Paternoville won its play-in game against Nittanyville, but is now matched up against the symbol of our best, the Nittany Lion. Our mascot received the highest percentage of votes out of anyone in the tournament.

No. 5 Penn State Dads (75.2% over Old Willow) vs. No. 4 Alumni Association (63.6% over John Donovan’s termination)

This is the result I disagree with our readers the most about. What was celebrated more in the Penn State Internet than John Donovan being fired? But I want a job one day, so I’ll celebrate the Alumni Association moving on. It draws Penn State Dads in the second round, a group with a serious cult following.

No. 6 Blue Band (55.5% over the number 409) vs. No. 3 Alma Mater (79.5% over grilled stickies)

Another one I picked wrong was the number 409 winning. Nowhere else in the world can you say “409!” and have people know what you’re talking about…but ultimately the Blue Band moves on though to take on the main song it plays, the Alma Mater. It’ll be interesting to see which one our readers enjoy more, the band or the song.

No. 7 Zombie Nation (66.3% over Wings Over) vs. No. 2 “We Are” chant (95% over Onward State’s Facebook comments)

While Onward State’s Facebook comments are pure gold, it’s understandable why they got handily defeated. These two give goosebumps to anyone who has ever been to a football game in Beaver Stadium, and Penn State does both better than any other school in the country. Does the celebration song after a big play beat our university’s rallying cry?



No. 1 THON (82.6% of the vote over graduation) vs. No. 8 Tailgating (91.4% vs. the Mifflin Streak)

It’s surprising to see tailgating getting almost 10% more votes than THON, especially considering it went up against a time-tested tradition in the Mifflin Streak in round one. Either way, it’s a tough choice between the best 46 hours of the year or a tried and true pastime.

No. 5 Homecoming (60% over beating Rutgers) vs. No. 4 State Patty’s (62.5% over Movin’ On)

Every school has Homecoming, not every school enjoys beating its little brother like we do with Rutgers. But, the events of Homecoming week prevailed in the first round. Will State Patty’s — something that came back stronger than ever this year — be able to overtake it?

No. 6 Syllabus week (70.5% over summer session) vs. No. 3 The Whiteout (94.9% over freshman move-in day)

This should be an easy one. The Whiteout is the greatest event in college football, hands down. There’s nothing like it… not even syllabus week.

No. 7 Blue & White Weekend (77% over spring daylong season) vs. No. 2 Arts Fest (84.3% over 55 Days of Cafe)

Two of the best drinking weekends of the year square off here after dominating . It’s almost cruel to choose one over the other, and it’s a national tragedy to have to eliminate one. But ultimately, the people will decide.



No. 1 Old Main (85.8% of the vote over East Halls) vs. No. 9 Cafe 210’s patio (58.4% over the Arboretum)

I’m surprised East Halls didn’t put up more of a fight, but then again, how can you vote against the iconic Old Main? Cafe’s patio is the best place to imbibe left on the list, but will probably fall short.

No. 5 Mt. Nittany (67.1% over the Pattee/Paterno Library) vs. No. 4 Berkey Creamery (81.9% over Pegula Ice Arena)

This one surprised me. I definitely thought the Paterno Library would come out on top, but that’s why we play the game. Maybe Peachy Paterno will be up to the task?

No. 11 Rec Hall (52.3% over Canyon Pizza) vs. No. 3 Lion Shrine (86.8% over the Corner Room)

Rec Hall and Canyon Pizza was one of the most contested matchups of the first round. It was fun to see them go back and forth — not once did the gap between them exceed three percentage points either way. Ultimately, everyone’s favorite drunk food didn’t have enough grease to make it to the finish line. Its neighbor across the street, the Lion Shrine, should be able to take a bite out of the competition and move on. (**logs off for that terrible joke**)

No. 7 The HUB (56.4% over the Phyrst) vs. No. 2 Beaver Stadium (95.7% over the Bryce Jordan Center)

The BJC didn’t stand a chance against Beaver Stadium, but the Phyrst’s loss surprised me. I really thought The Best Bar in State College would overtake the HUB. But Chick-Fil-A doesn’t stand a chance against a chicken basket, so based on that alone, Beaver Stadium has the advantage.

Keep voting, and remember the words of the original OS Bracket Master Noel Purcell: “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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