While the NCAA basketball tournament is eliminating your favorite teams left and right, you might be discouraged enough to turn away from sports and try something different. There are plenty of online brackets to fill out, as we found out Tuesday. Here are several more brackets you can enjoy that have nothing to do with basketball.
1. Alternative Brackets
SB Nation is a sports site, but even it offers non-basketball brackets this year. They began their “alternative brackets” earlier this week with a tournament of fruits and vegetables, which ended with broccoli as the winner. The Nic Cage Tournament ended last night, with his movie Face/Off as the champion. Today, the tournament is The Worst Places to Buy Clothes. Fill out the bracket for your chance to win prizes. But hurry! The tournament will change tomorrow to Condiments, then Towns of Repute, Dad Things, and Dinosaurs. Each bracket is a separate sweepstakes.
2. March Madne$$
The Awl presents a bracket that’s just a little different. It’s like the NCAA bracket; in fact, it has the same schools in the first round. But this is a tuition bracket. In each matchup, the school with the higher tuition advances, so the whole thing is already filled out. The winner? George Washington University, with an annual tuition of $47,290. And I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count room and board, because my daughters have already gotten estimates from some of these schools. The differences between the 64 schools are startling.
3. Metrics Mania
Along the same lines of comparing the 64 schools of the NCAA tournament on something besides basketball performance, the Thomson Reuters Company presents Metrics Mania. The point is to guess which schools have the most research impact on science and technology. You are invited to fill out the bracket, in which each round will look at a different parameter. First and second rounds: which school in each matchup is cited more in scientific publications. In the third and fourth rounds, which school has the higher percentage of their studies cited. The ten participants with the most accurate brackets will receive gift cards.
4. Name of the Year
A very popular tournament that sometimes veers from the standard March calendar is The Name of the Year. It also is sometimes hard to find due to the habit of changing websites. I was under the impression that they had quit the annual tournament, but according to their Twitter account, there will be a 2014 tournament; it’s just not ready yet. If it goes live before April, I will post an update here.
5. Taco Madness
Groupon and L.A. Taco present Taco Madness 2014! Vote to determine the best taco outlet in the Los Angeles area. Remember, it’s not fair to vote if you’ve never eaten a taco in Los Angeles. The tournament will end with a party at Grand Park on April 5th, with samples from different eateries and live music.
6. Drugs vs. Alcohol
Jezebel has a Drugs vs. Alcohol tournament bracket in which the four regions are illegal drugs, legal drugs, alcohol, and “soft stuff.” I guess that means everything else. Today's open round of voting can be found here, in which mushrooms are pitted against opium, PCP battles LSD, Prozac is matched against Sizzurp, and Viagra battles Valium. In the alcohol region, Jungle Juice is up against Vodka tampon, and Long Island Iced Tea competes with Scotch. And there are more matchups. Keep up with the later rounds here.
7. Public Media Madness
Which is better, PBS or NPR? Public TV and radio personalities go head-to-head in the Public Media Madness tournament. Voting in round four begins tonight at midnight, as soon as the round three winners are announced.
The big question is, did Neil deGrasse Tyson beat the Dowager Countess? We’ll have to wait to find out!
8. American Jesus Madness
The American Jesus is a website by divinity student Zach Hunt. It is devoted to examining the strange ways Americans interpret Christianity. In that vein, he launched the American Jesus Madness Tournament. After two rounds, the voting is down to the ”Exquisite Eight.” The winners will move on to the “4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse” round. Will Jim Caviezel's portrayal of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ defeat Willem Dafoe’s in The Last Temptation of Christ? The other matchups I am less familiar with.
9. Disney Parks Attractions
Disney presents March Magic, a tournament of Disney Park Attractions. See the full bracket here, as well as sports-type logos for all the competitors. Voting takes place on two Facebook pages: Walt Disney World for the East Coast half, and Disneyland for the West Coast matchups. Leave a comment under the daily matchups at each site. The final vote between the two coasts will be on April 7th.