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In honor of March, the bracket-iest month of the year, The Wire decided to go all out and create a tournament for everything. Every weekday for the rest of the month, we're presenting a different tournament to determine the very best (or worst) thing in a given field. And we're doing it the way that God intended: Bracket showdowns.

Bracket Madness. A new bracket, every weekday of March.

[ Vote now ] [ Our picks ]

We picked the field, but you vote for the winner. Fill out our interactive bracket, round-by-round, to determine the people's champion, then read through our choices to find out who we think is be the best of the best. Each day is a new champion!

Yes, Best City was a hot-button issue, but the battle becomes even more heated when our educations are involved. Now, we couldn't include everyone's alma mater, of course, so we did the honorable thing and used a mix culled from our staff's alma maters, the big state schools that win everything, and the little private schools that you love (or love to hate.) We picked the top 32, arbitrarily ranked, and then picked a non-negotiable, completely biased winner. But you have the chance to disagree.

The Contenders

  • Amherst: If colleges were Scooby Doo characters, Amherst would be Fred. 
  • Barnard College: Ladies, ladies.
  • BYU: Honor codes and Julie from The Real World made this school famous. 
  • Canisius College: An institution of higher learning in the Jesuit tradition. As a purveyor of private education, it sees what all your fancy-pants private colleges are doing, with your endowments and your galas and your national reputations, and thinks you're being ridiculous. Canisius will be perfectly fine with notable alumni Anne Burrell of the Food Network and former WWE women's champion Beth Phoenix.
  • Cornell: The safety Ivy (but still an Ivy). 
  • Duke: Try and find a school people hate more (and love more) than Duke. It's impossible. 
  • Florida Gulf Coast: Its campus is on a beach. 
  • Georgetown: Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner went here. No one knows what a Hoya is.
  • Hampshire College: They have Lupita Nyong'o as an alumni.
  • Liberty: A university with its own creationism museum.  
  • Michigan State: Briefly made Gerard Butler a thing.  
  • NYU: There are only a few schools in the world that have the power and money to ruin a major city. NYU is one of them. Also, Felicity went here.
  • Oberlin: Lena Dunham went here. She will never let you forget. 
  • Ohio State: James Thurber went there for free, but otherwise not much to say. 
  • Penn State:  Great tailgates. Loyal alumni. Maybe too loyal at times.
  • Princeton: Lots of successful alumni, like Susan Patton
  • Rutgers: Props go out to any school where you can find a sandwich named "Fat Darrell." 
  • Stanford: Pretty much the perfect school full of perfect, smart, and good-looking alumni and gold medalists ... which makes it so easy to not like. 
  • (University of Connecticut) Stamford (and Samford by extension): Because alums have to explain that they didn't go to Stanford. 
  • State University of New York at Geneseo (SUNY Geneseo): "Poor people go to college too." — a Wire staffer.
  • Trump University: Founded by Donald Trump.
  • UCLA: Highs in the 70s all this week, and it's not USC.
  • USC: Highs in the 70s all this week, and it's not UCLA.
  • University of Maryland, College Park: They have a dairy, Larry David, and that Delta Gamma Sorority Email.
  • University of Michigan: A school named after the state of Michigan.  
  • University of Missouri: The journalism school once suffered a flag pin scandal.
  • UNC: Just a little less hated than Duke — sadly one more way in which Duke is superior. 
  • UNC Greensboro: No, not Chapel Hill, the other one. 
  • University of Prince Edward Island*:  "The school was cheap and very close to my house. I could walk there easily, unless it was snowing, in which case I found a drive or... ahem, felt under the weather." — a Wire staffer
  • William and Mary: The only institution where it's possible to get hit on by a Thomas Jefferson impersonator. 
  • Villanova: A good basketball season can almost make you forget how dreary suburban Pennsylvania can be. Also, Bradley Cooper and Toby Keith went here ... and never finished. 
  • Yale: "It's great, but anything I say will get me called an asshole." — a Wire staffer.

The Last Four Out ...

  • Harvard — Too much exposure and it's become the go-to when people try to make a "smart" school joke. It's time for other smart and dorky schools to shine.
  • University of Texas — Like everything in Texas, it's too big for it's own good.
  • Northwestern — Chicago won yesterday. Northwestern loses today.
  • UC Berkeley — Too much exposure and it's become the go-to when people try to make a "hippy-dippy liberal" joke. There are other jokes as hippy, liberal and insufferable as Berkeley.

*University of Prince Edward Island: Not actually in America, but we wanted our lone Canadian staffer to be a part of March Madness. We did not let his Canadian school get very far.


Your vote: William and Mary

The Wire's vote:

Round of 32

(1) Duke vs. (16) Trump University: You really have to weigh your dislike here. We're going to give Duke a win because Donald Trump deserves to lose. All the time. More than Duke.  Winner: Duke.

(2) Michigan vs. (15) Liberty: Jerry Falwell. Winner: Michigan

(3) Michigan State vs. (14) SUNY Geneseo: Michigan State has basketball and football to kill time in the middle of nowhere. SUNY Geneseo does not, therefore SUNY Geneseo loses. Winner: Michigan State

(4) Stanford vs. (13) Stamford: Poor Stamford, they can't catch a break ... and won't be catching one here. Winner: Stanford

(5) Amherst vs. (12) Oberlin: Oberlin comes away with the victory, because people still watch Girls.  Winner: Oberlin

(6) Ohio State vs. (11) Penn State: These two schools are pretty evenly matched, except Ohio State's football program is less gross than Penn State.  Winner: Ohio State

(7) Mizzou vs. (10) Florida Gulf Coast: If Florida were less embarrassing, then this would be closer. Winner: Mizzou

(8) Cornell vs. (9) Hampshire The only way Cornell would beat Hampshire and its Lupita moment is if June Squibb and Jennifer Lawrence were alums ... and went to school at the same time. Winner: Hampshire.

The Other Half of the Bracket...

(1) NYU vs. (16) Barnard: Sorry NYU. Barnard is less offensive, and isn't ruining the Village. Winner: Barnard

(2) UNC vs. (15) UNCG: As much as we'd love a Duke vs. UNC Chapel Hill matchup in the future, we're going with the little state school that could. Also, UNC's recent academic controversies make this a little easier. Winner: UNC Greensboro.

(3) Yale vs. (14) University of Prince Edward Island: Yale has a Shake Shack. I am not sure if anyone at University of Prince Edward Island has ever tasted anything from Shake Shack. Winner: Yale

(4) Princeton vs. (13) William and Mary: If the choice is between getting hit on by a Thomas Jefferson impersonator or someone that might have read Princeton Mom's book, we choose the former. Winner: William and Mary. 

(5) UCLA vs. (12) USC: No matter what I say here, someone is going to call the decision irrational and arbitrary. So ... UCLA wins.  Winner: UCLA

(6) University of Maryland vs. (11) Canisius: I would deserve a "c*nt punt" if I did not put the college that produced the most famous sorority letter in history into the second round. Winner: Maryland

(7) Georgetown vs. (10) Villanova: Just like 1985, there's an upset here. Blame Will Gardner. Winner: Villanova

(8) Rutgers vs. (9) BYU: Fat Darrells are more delicious than honor codes. Winner: Rutgers

Sweet 16

(1) Duke vs. (8) Hampshire: Lupita's run will not stop here. Also Lupita is exponentially more likable than the most well-liked Duke alum. Winner: Hampshire

(2) Michigan vs. (7) Mizzou: Michigan beats Mizzou, because an inevitable matchup with Michigan State is destiny. Winner: Michigan

(3) Michigan State vs. (6) Ohio State: Michigan State wins and has Ohio State's blessing to kick the crap out of Michigan. Winner: Michigan State

(4) Stanford vs. (12) Oberlin: Stanford is the university that ends Lena Dunham's reign of insufferable terror. Winner: Stanford.

(5) UCLA vs. (13) William and Mary: UCLA wins, despite the temptation of going to Colonial Williamsburg while sloppy drunk. Winner: UCLA

(8) Rutgers vs. (16) Barnard: The reason Rutgers has Fat Darrells is because they are in New Jersey. And it takes a lot more than a sloppy sandwich to beat New York City. Winner: Barnard

(3) Yale vs. (6) University of Maryland: Yale would be the kind of sorority sister who would want to send a raunchy e-mail calling you out and putting you in place. But Yale sisters are probably too refined to do that. We know what University of Maryland sisters are capable of, and therefore give them the win. Winner: Maryland

(10) Villanova vs. (15) UNC-Greensboro: I (Alex) went to Villanova. My bias is as obvious as Jay Wright's handsomeness. Winner: Villanova

Elite Eight

(4) Stanford vs. (8) Hampshire: I will give Lupita one more win here. After this Hampshire is on its own. Winner: Hampshire.

(2) Michigan vs. (3) Michigan State: Dashiell Bennett went to Michigan State. [Ed. note: The editor definitely did not threaten anyone with an HR referral for making the wrong pick here.] So did my good friend Maury. Ergo, Michigan State wins. I have yet to be introduced to a Michigan alum that I semi-like. Winner: Michigan State

(5) UCLA vs. (16) Barnard: Barnard put up a valiant fight, but UCLA's better weather wins out here. Winner: UCLA

(10) Villanova vs. (6) University of Maryland: Just look at Jay Wright's smile or Maria Bello's Modern Love column. No hard feelings Delta Gamma. Winner: Villanova

The Final Four

Hampshire vs. Michigan State: Without the power of Lupita, I'm going with Michigan State here. Winner: Michigan State.

Villanova vs. UCLA: I realize my bias. And realize when it's time to give up on the dream. Winner: UCLA

The Championship: 

UCLA vs. Michigan State: There is an irrational love for The 300 and Gerard Butler in the office. Our Winner: Michigan State. 


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