8 Online Tournaments (That Have Nothing to Do with Basketball)


Here in Kentucky, there's a seasonal disease that causes people to go a bit crazy every spring. Spring fever is rampant, but that's nothing compared to March Madness. The virus is spreading online as well. There's a bit of tournament fever in the air even among those who don't care a bit about basketball. As the NCAA whittles down 65 teams to see who the champion team will be, there are other tournament brackets you can fill in and follow (and even vote on), from Muppets to food to shoes.

1. Muppet Madness

The 2010 Muppet Madness Tournament begins today. You can vote in the first round to eliminate half of the 32 Muppet contenders. The four divisions represent Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and everyone else. Some of the first round matchup will be hard to call, as Bert & Ernie go against The Count and Animal is up against Beaker. At least we won't have to choose between Kermit and Miss Piggy until the third round. The winner will be announced on April 5th.

2. Korean Food

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The food blog ZenKimchee teamed up with the Korean culture blog HiExpat to present the March Madness Korean food tournament. Cuisines from the regions of Seoul-Gyeonggi, Northern, Southern, and Central make up the four divisions. There are no brackets to download -in fact, wildcard dishes may be added if there is enough demand. Regional playoffs pit recipes against each other. You can vote on contests in the sidebar, but you shouldn't unless you are familiar with the dishes in competition.

3. Tournament of Books

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The Morning News Tournament of Books is an annual event sponsored by Powells Books. The tournament began with 16 works of literary fiction published in 2009. The opening round is going on now. Unlike the other tournaments featured here, this one is decided by celebrity judges (different judges for each tournament level) who individually decide various matchups.

4. Hulu's Best in Show

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Video service Hulu is running their own tournament to rank this season's most interesting TV shows. Already in week #3, the brackets are down to eight contenders, House, Burn Notice, Lost, Parenthood, Community, Parks and Recreation, The Simpsons, and Castle. Vote for your favorites now. The winners of each round are announced on Monday, with the final champion to be announced on April 5th.

5. Name of the Year

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Name of the Year is an annual tournament of real people with unbelievable names. Last year's winner was Barvkevious Mingo.  After fifteen years online (the contest has been going since the 80s), the management wasn't sure if there would be enough worthy contenders for 2010. They received over 400 nominations! So far those have been winnowed down to 278 names, but the tournament bracket of 64 isn't yet finalized. Bookmark the site to see if Coke Wisdom O'Neal, Nohjay Nimpson, God's Power Offor, and Spontaneous Gordon make the cut. You will be asked to vote for the best.

6. Fug Madness 2010

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Celebrity blog Go Fug Yourself is winnowing down 64 celebrities in their annual Fug Madness tournament. Celebrities are divided into the Cher, Madonna, Bjork, and Charro regions. Round one starts Thursday, but the play-in game between Ashlee and Jessica Simpson will begin today. The #1 seeds this year are  Leighton Meester, Rihanna, Taylor Momsen, and Lady Gaga.

7. Whedonverse Character Tourney

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Buffyfest presents the March Madness Whedonverse Character Tourney to determine "the Worst of the Lot," meaning characters from Joss Whedon's television shows. The competition is currently into round two. See the entire bracket of characters.

8. Sneaker Tournament

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Nike blog Sneaker News is having a tournament of shoes. Yes, there are enough current Nike sneaker models to pit 32 of them against each other and crown a winner according to your votes. Go figure. Round one voting is going on now in the Air Jordan Region.

If you know of other such online tournaments, please share them with us in the comments.