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

Folks…This is March.

Yes, yes, we know it might not feel like March now that Penn State men’s basketball is nowhere near a postseason tournament. But don’t let that stop you from dancing on your own with a bracket tailored to your Penn State passions.

In years past, our readers have used March Madness brackets to weigh in on a number of debates, including crowning their favorite Penn State thing (Joe Paterno), their top State College drunk food (Bradley’s Cheesesteaks), or even their Class Gift of choice (the Nittany Lion Shrine, of course). Now, while looking back on a year like no other, we want to crown the top Penn State moment of all time.

To do so, we polled our staff to jot down a two-sided, 32-seed bracket of some of Penn State’s top sports and student life moments. Admittedly, there’s some recency bias, but can you blame us? Penn State’s done some kick-ass things recently. And although events like THON and Homecoming aren’t moments in their own right, yearly traditions are beloved experiences every Penn Stater fondly remembers. We’d be remiss to leave them out.

Each respective region has 16 seeded moments that will compete head-to-head until a winner is inevitably crowned in a few short weeks.

Although our staff took care of the seeding, we need your help to vote using the Google Forms embedded below. Plus, if you think we left something out (because we almost certainly did), write it in instead of yelling at us in the comments. If a write-in receives more votes than any seeded contender, we’ll gladly sub it in. Or, at the very least, we’ll give it a nice little shoutout.

Preliminary voting will close on Sunday, March 21. We’ll be back with our bracket’s second round on Monday!

Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of this year’s bracket:


Whether we like it or not, several aspects of athletics define the Penn State experience. From show-stopping football moments to breakthrough performances at the Bryce Jordan Center, Rec Hall, and beyond, the Nittany Lions have done it all.

Top football moments like the iconic blocked kick against Ohio State, Penn State football’s undefeated national championship season, or the Nittany Lions’ 2016 Big Ten title round out this section of our bracket. Only time will tell how these memories stack up against Penn State men’s basketball’s 2018 NIT title, Adam Taliaferro’s miraculous return to Beaver Stadium, or that time “Mo Bamba” and a #107kStrong crowd forced Jim Harbaugh to blow a timeout before the game even started.

Plus, you’ll get to choose between several standout dynasties, including Cael Sanderson’s illustrious career, JoePa’s restored wins, or Russ Rose’s four straight women’s volleyball titles from 2007 to 2010.

Student Life & Events

When Penn Staters aren’t watching sports, they’re probably getting involved with 1,000-plus student organizations, attending events like THON and Homecoming, or hosting a candlelight vigil for since-removed fast-food franchises (RIP Taco Bell).

In this region, top seeds like the White Out, THON, and the Jonas Brothers’ (first) visit to State College back in April 2019 lead the way. They’ll encounter some notable moments and traditions like the Mifflin Streak, student riots following the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory or, uh, when some clowns showed up, or perhaps even the day Onward State was founded (hey, that’s us!).

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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