Confession: This all started as a throw away tweet from Blake (theplaymaker). I decided the idea had some merit, so I asked Blake to possibly elaborate a bit further and ran with it from there. Blake provided the majority of the choices. I added a few of my own and replaced some that he suggested. And Everett insisted no bracket was greater than Wrestlemania IV.
The amazingly awesome photoshop work was done by Kevin Ives (@AUPPL). For high-res versions of each category's game cover click on the category name in the article or go to this link. I really can't thank him enough for these. I e-mailed him with an idea and he went above and beyond my wildest expectations. I wanted to be sure to thank him up front so it gets read rather than place it at the bottom.
You've seen all of the brackets that are out there during this time of year as everyone fills out their NCAA Tournament brackets. Spencer Hall (@edsbs) tweeted a bracket of the #1 seed in our NOMS bracket just this morning.
There have been brackets on everything. Best sports gif? SB Nation covers that every year. Hotties brackets? Just Google it, there're quite a few. Bands? Yup, those are out there. And, yes, someone has done a bracket on actual brackets (our #8 seed for STUFF).
So what's the best? Well, we're here to find out. Today, we begin the 2015 College and Magnolia Brackets Bracket. You like brackets? We have brackets. We even went extra meta and have "brackets of brackets" as an option.
32 options (because 64 takes too long). Let the tournament begin!
(1) Hotties vs (8) Mt Rushmores
Hotties is a clear #1 seed, here. Did you check that link on Google searches? I went with "Hotties" rather than saying "Hot Babes" or something equally as crass because I wanted to be inclusive. This can be hot guys for all of our lady readers out there! It faces the #8 seed of Mt Rushmores. These have been covered for a number of focal areas, though perhaps no one did it better than SB Nation's own PFT Commenter.
(2) Villains vs (7) Celebrity Ex's
If there's one thing you can count on, it's nerds arguing. I can say that, because I am one and I do so. A lot. One things nerds love to argue about - and quite vociferously - is who the best Villains are. Mutant, super-powers, psychotic, ruthless, there's so much to choose from! The best villain is Boyd Crowder, by the way. From his ruthlessness to his eloquent manner of speech (and the fact Walton Goggins attended Georgia Southern), he's just the best.
Then there are Celebrity Ex's. So many options to choose from. Some of the Celebrity Ex's have their own great Celebrity Ex's! This started out as "Larry King's Wives," but I expanded it since you could go with Liz Taylor's husbands, or just any big Hollywood break-ups. So many ways you could rank and seed these. However, they're not as fun as the others - or as interesting or relevant to anything but themselves - so they get a low seed.
(3) Heroes vs (6) Philosophers
Nerds vs Nerds, here. Heroes are only slightly behind Villains, hence the #3 seed. As for Philosophers, it's a category that is very educational, but it has a very niche market, hence the lower seed. Besides, everyone knows Immanuel Kant was a real pissant.
(4) Presidents vs (5) Authors
Presidents got the #4 seed by virtue of its versatility. Are we talking best Presidents? Worst Presidents? Best fictional Presidents? There are so many different ways you can go with that. However, it's not quite as fun as Heroes or Villains. So, it gets the #4 seed and faces off vs #5 Authors. We can go classical, pulp, thriller, mystery, non-fiction, etc. Everyone has their favorites that they will defend the merits of irrationally at times. I love many of Stephen King's books even if the man often doesn't know how to finish a story.
(1) BBQ vs (8) Fast Food
Seriously, was there ever any doubt that BBQ would be #1? First off, I'm not talking a COOK OUT, either. Just because you put hot dogs and hamburgers on a grill doesn't mean you're having a barbecue. It means you're having a cook out. Real BBQ involves some form of smoked meat and I will fight you over that.
Do you like brisket or pork? Vinegar-based sauce or tomato/ketchup-based? Maybe Alabama White Sauce (which I've never actually had, but Full Moon BBQ just opened a place in Tiger Town). Wars could be fought over BBQ. I'm a lover of all things BBQ, personally. There's a place for it all. I prefer pulled pork with whatever sauce is available, though.
BBQ faces #8 Fast Food in Round 1. We go from sweet deliciousness to whatever's convenient. McDonald's guy? Wendy's? Burger King? In-N-Out for you west coasters? Arby's? So many options to choose from. I'll take Chick-fil-A seven times a day. My dad used to say Wendy's had the best burgers but McDonald's had the best fries. Wendy's fries have gotten better lately, though. Still, though. One man's go-to fast food indulgence is another's vomit-inducing trash. Fast Food brackets would be a very tough one to seed.
(2) Alcohol vs (7) Snacks
You want contentious? Right up there with geeks arguing over villains and heroes are people arguing about alcohol. You'll get some seriously uppity and precocious people in that debate. Some can't stand beer. Some love all beer. Some love just craft beers. And they'll tell you about it, too. Over and over. Just like Cross-fitters and Vegetarians. Me? I'm a mid-level beer and Scotch whisky guy. Trying to seed and regionalize alcohol would be quite the chore. Beer, Wine, Whiskey, and Other? No idea. It would be tough.
Alcohol goes up against #7 Snacks. Snacks gets the nod over #8 Fast Food in the seeding just by virtue of snacks not making you (or at least me) feel as bad about my health when I eat them. Crackers, cookies, carrots, what's your pick? You can make healthy ones or horrible ones.
(3) Condiments vs (6) Candy Bars
So let me ask you something... what do you like on your hot dog? That's a conversation that can degenerate into a lot of arguing and people amazed at others' taste (or lack thereof). I'll refrain from giving you mine, as it would likely disgust the majority of you. That's not all, though. How about hamburgers? What do you dip your fries in? When I was in Kosovo, I had the opportunity to go eat with the Greeks at their camp. They had nice, thick crinkle fries and served them with tzatziki dip. It was delicious.
"Candy Bars are just another form of snack," you say? Well, true, but their sweet deliciousness garners their own category. Caramel? Nuts? Peanut butter? Peanut butter wafer? Chocolate covered goodness abounds, and picking the top one would require a very difficult bracket!
(4) Pizza Toppings vs (5) Nuts
Pepperoni? Sausage? Meat Lovers? Vegetarian? Exotic (like pineapple)? So many things. There's really no wrong answer for pizza toppings. It's all in personal preference. Mix and match or go crazy. But if you're ranking them individually and have to come up with just one topping to top them all? That's going to require one heck of a tournament.
Nuts? How did nuts get in here? Mainly because Blake had it as one of the options and I just kept it. What is a nut? Are we talking any sort of plant seed or specifically things that are categorized as a nut? My favorite nut isn't really even a nut, afterall. It's a legume, and one I have a lot of experience with from hand-pulling weeds out of a hot field in Plains, GA in the middle of a Georgia summer between school years in college. And how did Nuts get the #5 seed? No answer on that one. That's just how it fell out in the brackets. Just like college basketball, sometimes these things make no sense.
(That's an intentional misspelling. It's a long-running Internet/SBNation joke)
(1) Sports Bloggers vs (8) The Bachelor / Bachelorette Contestants
Wait, what? Sports Bloggers gets the #1 seed!? IT'S CLEARLY BIASED, PAWWWLLLL. Yup. I made the bracket. Blake had them as the #7 seed in his initial list, but I cheated (because I can) and bumped Sports Bloggers up to #1. At least I can admit my bias, though!
I'm not crazy enough to think I belong in a 64 person bracket on sports bloggers, though. The #1 seed (and clear winner is SB Nation's Spencer Hall, in my opinion.
Bloggers take on the scourge of the entertainment world: reality TV. I realize people love The Bachelor / Bachelorette. I realize there are even some bloggers/writers who love the show. You can tell by how much they live-tweet it. They still get the bottom seed in this region, though. Reality TV always does.
(2) Rock Bands vs (7) Wrestlemania IV
Beatles or Rolling Stones? Lynyrd Skynyrd or The Allman Brothers Band? Cream or Derek and the Dominoes? Pearl Jam or Nirvana? Nickleba... HAHAHAHA, okay, just kidding. Rock enthusiasts will come to blows quickly over which are the best bands. As for choosing the best one of all time? Good luck.
There was a brief period in my life - in 10th grade - when I watched wrestling. It was right when Bill Goldberg hit the scene and shot up to the top. I stopped watching it right after he took the title. Everett insists that the Wrestlemania IV bracket is the greatest of all time, though. I just want to know who did the seeding. Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant both got byes, but faced each other in the second round!? That doesn't seem very sportsman-like. As for why it's the 7th seed... well, see what #8 got the seed that it did. I'll say no more for those of you who may get upset with that opinon!
(3) 90s TV Shows vs (6) SPROTS DYNASTIES
Beverly Hills 90210? Friends? Frasier, Saved By the Bell, Full House, Ren and Stimpy, Beavis and Butthead, so many great options. We could regionalize this by network evening shows, kids-shows, cartoons, and light-hearted comedies. The 90s were a great time for corny TV.
Yankees, Patriots, THA TAHD, PAAWWWLLL. Everyone wants to talk about "Dynasty." If the Seahawks had repeated as Super Bowl Champions, would we be discussing whether they're now a dynasty? Yes. The answer to that question is yes. I saw it discussed even before the Super Bowl. But which Dynasty is the greatest ever? Of all time?
(4) 80s Movies vs (5) Bond Movies
If the 90s were the era of corny TV, it's possibly due to an attempted reflection of 80s movies. I love 80s movies. Yes, they're corny. But they're great. Think of the amazing comedies of the 80s. The over-the-top action movies. It was a great era for movies we look back on and say "man, those were so much fun, but they are so ridiculous."
How would you split the 24 (counting the upcoming Spectre) into regions? It would be tough. I'd go with Villains, Girls, Gadgets, and Over-the-top Plots. This coming from someone who doesn't really have much experience with Bond movies before the Pierce Brosnan flicks, though. I have no idea how those regions may overlap because of movies containing the best of all regions. As for who is the best Bond... Nope. Not going there.
(1) Hats vs (8) Actual Brackets
I'm a hat guy. I love hats. I've gone through plenty of stages of hats. From baseball hats to cowboy hats, from visors to cabby hats. I've always loved hats. I'd wear a fedora with a suit if it were in style. Our beloved head coach is a visor man. Some folks love his visors so much they go and steal them right off his head. I wear visors to most football games. My go-to hat is the cabby, though. They've come back in style somewhat, lately, but I've been a fan of them since the first time I saw Payne Stewart on a PGA Tour broadcast. I might be a bit too much of a Payne Stewart fan, actually.
Hats are up against the 8th seeded Brackets. Yep. Brackets. And as we've mentioned before, someone has already done the bracket of brackets.
(2) Shoes vs (7) Brackets of Brackets
My girlfriend accuses me of having too many shoes. Yes, you read that right. I argue they're all necessary. Dress low-quarters for my Army Service Uniform, multiple desert combat boots for the ACUs, casual shoes in brown and black, golf shoes, Army compliant running shoes, Army non-compliant running shoes, sandals, they all serve a purpose! Comfortable shoes are an important part of life. If you have a bad set of Leather Personnel Carriers, you're going to have a bad time!
Why is Bracket of Brackets the 7th seed? Because we came up with it (full credit to Blake, even if he doesn't want to admit it), and therefore we think brackets of brackets are funnier than a simple bracket of brackets. So, it gets the #7 seed!
(3) Books for Dummies vs (6) Income Tax Brackets
What's your favorite "_____ for Dummies!" book? There are tons of them to choose from, now. Anyone want to confess to buying one? They can actually be quite good.
The 6th seed is sure to be controversial. It's really one of those that depends on your point of view on what's the best bracket, here!
(4) Nintendo Games vs (5) NASCAR Sponsors
Confession: I've never owned a Nintendo. I always had SEGA stuff. However, I can still weigh in on this. You'd have to go with consoles as your regions. You would end up with a final showdown of some form around Donkey Kong, SMB, Mario Kart, Goldeneye, etc. Someone has done a best Nintendo Gaming System bracket, but I didn't find (in a brief Google search) a bracket of actual games.
NASCAR has a lot of sponsors. Did you know that? There are iconic ones and ones that make you shake your head. Special exemption would have to be made for historic sponsors in this one, since tobacco companies aren't able to advertise as a part of NASCAR as they once were.
So here we go. You can vote here in the widget below. I'll tally up the scores around 8pm on the evening voting is to close and post the next round's bracket as soon as possible the following morning. The schedules will be as follows:
Round 1 - March 18th-20th
Round 2 - March 21st - 23rd
Round 3 - March 24th - March 27th
Round 4 - March 28th - March 30
Round 5 - March 31st - April 2
Winner will be announced on Friday, April 3rd! Enjoy!