Time once again for a stupid annual tradition: using football to pick the March Madness bracket.
The previous six years of doing this at SB Nation gave us national championship picks for Alabama/UCF, Florida State, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan State, some combination of Alabama/Florida/Oregon. This predictions method hasn’t worked since 2006, when Florida beat Ohio State months after Florida beat Ohio State, but I’ll keep trying. Here are some picks by an adult.
Let’s get directly to it. We’ll go region by region, then pick whatever they call the final four teams in this sport. There’s probably a name for it.
I’ve tried to note football games that happened IRL and thus do not need to be re-pondered, such as Temple over Maryland and LSU over UCF. North Dakota State vs. UCF would be a fun way to finally pit UCF against a playoff team. And thank you, LSU, for defeating Yale, striking blows for quality academics and an enriching student-athlete experience and financial management in this time of scandal.
Well, this is a mess! Prairie View and Murray State both went 5-6 as FCS teams last year! I wanted to pick Vermont to beat Florida State, but Vermont really might be the most football-free state in the country, and 2018 FSU definitely had multiple football players.
Oregon and Iowa sort of just show up in the Round of 16, and I forgot to note Purdue beating Iowa is already canon, as is the Night King winning Thrones; you’ll see. Elsewhere in these brackets, I probably missed some stuff that happened IRL. I did it because I personally hate whichever universities might’ve lost those football games, and I’m taking these Paintbrush brackets maximum seriously and betting my life savings on them for real.
Auburn’s frantic mood swings carry Gus Malzahn’s basketball team to the brink of glory, Kentucky and Washington continue their fine 2018 seasons, I again forgot to note at least one canon result (Auburn-Washington), and the No. 11 seed wins several games.
LSU has already beaten UCF (we’ll now pause for both sides to sing of the many injuries on the battlefield that day, agree Both Teams Played Hurt, and re-convene soon to argue once again about which team was more injured), and Florida has already beaten LSU — I understand these teams are building an eventful rivalry in basketball as well? That’s enough basketball talk for one basketball blog, so we don’t have time for anyone to tell me if I’m wrong about that.
On the other side, Oklahoma is not a team that loses to Purdue (but I should’ve let Purdue beat Oklahoma, so Purdue could get another crack at a team that does lose to Purdue), and Auburn’s frantic mood swings have landed Malzahn on the bad list once again. Tear down the statue!
In the end, Oklahoma is the only College Football Playoff team in this 68-school bracket — just typing that fact out loud makes me want to expand the Playoff — so let’s go with the Sooners to win it all.
Therefore, yes, give me Clemson over Alabama in the NIT as well.