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The Best Penn State Thing Bracket: Crowning The Champion

The grand finale. The moment of truth.

We’ve determined the definitive “best Penn State” thing, thanks, of course, to your help.

When we compiled the list of 64 Penn State things to make this bracket, we weren’t sure how we were going to come to a winner — there are so many things that completely emanate Penn State in their essence and even existence.

There’s the Creamery, which is known all around the country if not the world as the best on-campus ice cream spot. There’s the Willard Preacher and Mike the Mailman — national celebrities in their own right who make Penn State a unique place solely because of their presence. There’s jumping around in a white-out of a student section singing “Zombie Nation” one quarter and then putting your arms around your friends and strangers at the end of the game and singing the Alma Mater. There’s even stupid things that the university does like “Penn State Lives Here” and LionPATH and shitty $1 pizza that couldn’t taste better than when you’re drunk that you can’t get anywhere else. All these things together make Penn State, well, Penn State.

But the single most Penn State thing? How can you define “best”? How can you even define “thing”? How can you then decide between all of the options? Well, that’s exactly what we asked you to do. Without further ado, you decided that the best Penn State thing of all time and across all genres is………

Joe Paterno Earns Gerald Ford Award -- Photo by Eric Weiss

Our coach.

Paterno picked up a 411th win after a dominant 64.1 percent victory over the Nittany Lion. JoePa pulled in 2,444 of the 3,811 votes for the win over one of the most unique mascots, shrines, and symbols of our best in higher education. Paterno was a heavy favorite from the beginning — after getting an obvious one-seed on selection Tuesday, he handily defeated Rick Santorum, Terry Pegula, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike the Mailman, and Beaver Stadium to edge his way to the top.

But are we surprised? From the beginning I thought it would come down to Paterno vs. THON, but after I got to thinking realized there’s no way it wouldn’t be Joe. The man spent 61 years preaching success with honor, and Penn Staters bought in. Seldom has or does a single person mean more to a group of people than Paterno means to the Penn State community.

There are people who spend day-in and day-out fighting to honor the man. The number 409 means so much more to a Penn Stater than it does to everyone else, and that’s why Joe Paterno is the most Penn State thing — he united, and continues to unite, Penn State.

So next time you’re enjoying a Paterno beer (or any drink for that matter), raise your glass and celebrate the best Penn State thing, as decided by Penn Staters — our coach Joe Paterno.

About the Author

Lexi Shimkonis

Lexi is an editor-turned-staff writer who can often be found at either Irving's or the Phyrst (with the chances she'll have her backpack being the same). Lexi is a senior hailing from Spring City, PA (kind of) and studying Civil Engineering. Please email questions and/or pleas for an Instagram caption to [email protected], or for a more intimate bond, follow her on Twitter @lexshimko.


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