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The Best Penn State Thing Bracket: Sweet 16

Oh, the last 16 is so, so sweet. We’re in the regional semifinals of the Best Penn State Thing bracket — at the point where we have to start knocking off favorites. Some heavy-hitting places, people, events, and things will go head-to-head for your votes.

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

No. 1 Joe Paterno (85.8% over Terry Pegula) vs. No. 12 Keegan-Michael Key (64.1% over Mary “Squirrel Girl” Krupa)

This one should be pretty easy. Key was a great Homecoming Grand Marshal, but come on. It’s Joe Paterno. He isn’t going to lose.

No. 14 Ali Krieger (55.1% over Russ Rose) vs. No. 2 Mike the Mailman (69.8% over Saquon Barkley)

Penn State’s first World Cup champion has made it a long way thanks to some dedicated fans voting for her, and that’s the only way she’ll beat Mike the Mailman. He’s one of the best things about Penn State, and I think Krieger’s run ends here.

Places Region

No. 1 Old Main (72.9% over Cafe 210’s patio) vs. No. 4 Berkey Creamery (73.2% over Mt. Nittany)

There’s no Madness in this region — the top four seeds made it to the Sweet 16. BUT! This one seed is the most vulnerable in my opinion. Old Main is iconic, and the lawn is nice, sure. But who doesn’t enjoy a delicious cone of Peachy Paterno? If a one-seed is going to lose this round, my money is on this.

No. 3 Lion Shrine (85% over Rec Hall) vs. No. 2 Beaver Stadium (87.9% over the HUB)

This matchup is much more interesting. Everyone has a picture on the Lion Shrine — my Lion Scout girlfriend will tell me it’s the second-most photographed spot in Pennsylvania — but you can’t fit 110,000 of your friends around it.

Events Region

No. 1 THON (61.6% over tailgating) vs. No. 5 Homecoming (52.9% over State Patty’s Day)

It’s preposterous that Homecoming has made it this far. Every school has it! First it beat “beating Rutgers,” and it beat State Patty’s Day in the second round — both things are waaaay more #State in my opinion. Luckily, THON should beat it and send Homecoming packing.

No. 3 Whiteout (82.8% over syllabus week) vs. No. 7 Blue & White Weekend (58.3% over Arts Fest)

Football vs. football. Blue & White Weekend, the spring tradition that holds us over for the summer while we wait for football season, goes up against the Whiteout, the greatest spectacle in college football. They’re arguably the two best sporting weekends of the year.

Miscellaneous Region

No. 1 Nittany Lion (86.2% over Paternoville) vs. No. 5 Penn State Dads (53.1% over the Alumni Association)

Sorry Penn State Dads, I think your time may be up. It’s gonna be tough to take down the Symbol of Our Best. I’m just glad Paternoville didn’t win.

No. 3 Alma Mater (52.2% over the Blue Band) vs. No. 2 “We Are” Chant (72.9% over Zombie Nation)

This one is a toss-up. They’re both emotional, great, loud rallying points. Pick one.

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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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