There are few things in this world that I enjoy more than the craziness in March. The NCAA Tournament reminds us all how awesome it is to root for the underdog, play with everything on the line, and determine a champion using logic as a general criteria. As a Nebraska fan, there is an added upside in that I never really have to worry about choosing against my own team when filling out my bracket... Seriously, though, I love everything about braketology, matchups, and ranking teams in order of where they belong in a somewhat arbitrary hierarchy. It just doesn't get much better than that.
So when we started talking up at OTE headquarters about ways to kill time between January and Spring Training, I was obliged to push for March Madness OTE Style. Look, I know it is a fairly worn out shtick to rank a bunch of sports related topics and choose how they move on with commentary that geTS LOUDER WITH EVERY MOMENT LIKE GUS JOHNSON!!! I also know that I don't care if you think it's worn out, because I think ranking, ordering, and then choosing who moves on to the next round is one of the most fun things in the world. We all have our favorites and all of us know what its like to hear our team's name chosen on Selection Sunday (oh wait, not all of us... we're all rooting for you Northwestern, I promise), and we all know what it's like to think we were screwed. You just can't match the excitement around March Madness Brackets.
With that in mind, OTE will be doing B1G themed NCAA brackets this month. To start things off with a bang, we have seeded the 12 B1G Cities in hopes to crown one town, "OTE's Best B1G College Town." Our writers are collaborating (arguing really), defending, and throwing a chair or two at each other trying to determine who is the best of the B1G. While many of our readers may disagree with the seedings and matchups, we do want you to know our general criteria. From a college perspective, here was what we were looking at:
1. General Awesomeness of the Campus - Do you have a campus 18-22 year olds want to attend and 23-100 year olds spend their days wishing they were back at or is it a lame amalgam of faceless tired buildings? Yeah, we're looking for campus beauty, college experience, student life, etc.
2. Facilities - Football stadium being a freaking landmark? That's a plus. Basketball arena that was named after your football coach? Probably a minus. A baseball stadium that doesn't look like a little league field? In the B1G, that's probably unheard of.
3. Fan Personality - It's not just that the fans are nice, it's that they're the type that will buy you a drink and show you where the best food in town is... and you actually have fun kicking it with them.
4. Natural Beauty - Honestly, if this were the Big XII, Boulder would win every single time because they are in the freaking mountains. On a slightly related note, this is the last time I will ever say something nice about BOulder again.
5. Overall College Town Experience - Bar scenes, restaurants, accessibility, stuff to do, people, the works. Look, this is an OTE title we're awarding. This shit ain't nothing to be trifled with.
So that was/is our criteria. What we were not looking to do was determine net worth of a city, the relative merits of the city's ability to raise a child, and whether or not a business would build there. We really are looking for beauty contest style criterion. I mean, it's nice and all that a lot of B1G towns have big businesses that employ all of us after we graduate, but what matters to us most in this tournament is whether or not you're awesome looking and whether or not you have awesome skills.
The OTE Best B1G College Town Bracket
As you can see, Madison, Ann Arbor, Happy Valley, and Iowa City get byes for opening weekend. While Madison did get the overall number 1 seed, they have a tough fight in Columbus, Minneapolis, Bloomington and Iowa City. On the Bottom half of the bracket, it seems like Ann Arbor got a great draw with Lincoln and Evanston, but look out for Lincoln's fan friendliness and Evanston's proximity to all that is Chicago in an upset.
Throughout the rest of this week, we will be breaking down the matchups round by round. Tomorrow, our writers will be duking it out for the right to take on the Top Four. Everything is on the line (you know, proverbially speaking) and it's definitely a win or go lose situation. I am sure that many of you disagree with our seedings, but there was a lot of thought put into this by our selection committee. Each school's RPI (relative popularity index) was taken into account and we think we came up with a pretty damn entertaining bracket. It's anybody's game, and while the top seeds definitely seem to have a lock on the inside track, I wouldn't be surprised to see one of our quirky underdogs step up and take a big dog down. So keep checking back and follow our March Madness as we determine who is OTE's BEST B1G College Town.