Nathan Bransford, Author

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The 3rd Annual Blog Bracket Challenge!!

It's on. It's SO on.

It's NCAA tournament time, and we're back with the 3rd Blog Bracket Challenge! Just like last year we shall determine who among us is the literary bracket picking champion OF THEM ALL.

In case you've never participated in a bracket challenge or don't know what an NCAA is: You're absolutely going to win. Basketball knowledge is not required to win, and in fact is often considered an impediment.

All you have to do is pick winners in a tournament field of 64 (er, 65, er, 68) and you're probably better off picking based on colors and/or mascots and/or funny names than stats.

The winner with the most points at the end of the NCAA tournament will win a query critique and a signed galley of JACOB WONDERBAR!!

Here's how to enter:

1. Go to the front page of the ESPN tournament challenge:

2. Make your picks.

3. If you have an ESPN username and password you can log in when you submit your picks, otherwise you may need to create a new user ID and password. But don't worry, it's not onerous and you can decline to receive updates in case you're spam conscious.

4. Hover over the link that says "My Groups" and then click "Create or Join a Group"

5. Search for "Bransford Blog Challenge." Enter the password, which is "rhetorical" and then click Join Group.

Then you're all set! You can make changes to your bracket by clicking on it until it locks on Thursday (and yes, there are play-in games before then, but the bracket still doesn't lock until Thursday).

Please limit yourself to one entry

All updates/trahstalking will occur in this dedicated thread in the Forums, so make sure to join us there.

Good luck!!

Photo by Rick Dikeman via a Creative Commons license


Ken Lindsey said...

Basketball... hmm, is that the one where two guys punch each other on ice skates? :D

Joshua said...

No, it's the one where they use a net on a stick to toss a puck into a hoop. Get your sports straight, geez!

And since I don't follow basketball or college sports in general at all, I'll pull my friend, Travis,'s favorite team and say "Go, Duke!" That's a team, right? Duke?

Ted Cross said...

Yay! I hope I do better than last year, when I would have won if only Butler had knocked off Duke!

L.G.Smith said...

No knowledge required? I'm in. In fact I'm so ignorant you might as well start signing that copy of JW over to me now.

Let the trash talk begin.

Krista V. said...

Yay! So excited!

Mr. D said...

Just give each team a hundred points and then let them play for three minutes!

I know I didn't make that up, but it sounds right!

Kristi Helvig said...

I'm in!

abc said...

I'm definitely not going with my husband's picks b/c we've done miserable the last couple of years. Is that psychic octopus going to do a bracket? I'm going to go with whatever he says.

Jared X said...

Over at Slate, they published a bracket where you can pick teams by colors and a separate bracket where you pick by mascot. I did the color one and came up with Bucknell as the champion. Thankfully, no money was involved.

On the mascot side, I picked the smiling, anthropomorphic orange to beat an anorexic, royal blue demon.

D.G. Hudson said...

I'll have to think about this one; hubby knows his sports and would be a great advisor. A typical sports jock junkie.

I, on the other hand, just like the Harlem Globetrotters (smooth moves)and Major league baseball (We travel for some games).

I'm wondering if you have an activity calendar, Nathan, where you pick out the activity theme of the day for the blog readers? You never seem to be at a loss for keeping the blog faithful busy.

Good luck to all that choose to play. I'm still thinking about it.

Chuck H. said...

I'm in. Hope I do better than last year. I did the "eenie, meenie, minee, edgar" thingy.

Loree Huebner said...

I come from "a house divided" -
Indiana and Purdue. With IU not in the tournament, this brings a lot of "interesting" conversation to the dinner table and family gatherings.

The stats always come up - Indiana 5 championships...Purdue none.

All is good though. The Hoosier fans in the family will root for Purdue it's basketball and Indiana after all.

M.A.Leslie said...

I watched my son learn and play basketball this year and I still don't understand it completely.

They are constantly calling jumping ball and nobody is jumping. (I just learned how that works, I am so proud of myself.)

Rebecca T. said...

A signed galley is on the line? I just discovered a sudden interest in Basketball...

Mira said...

Oh, yes, it is so on!

With a signed galley on the line, you can betcha I'm joining in.

I have two weeks between quarters and I plan to devote it to the trash talking.

The trash talking is the best.

Ever since the giants won, I've decided I like sports. Not watching it, but all the stuff that goes on around it - the hoopla and all that stuff. And then when you win, you can lord it over the losers. That's so cool. And then there's the trash talking. Very cool. Sports are the best.

So, yeah, it's ON.

Other Lisa said...


(I'm actually excited, for once!)

Veela-Valoom said...

Well I kind of feel like the NCAA HATES my team and screwed us over in seeding. (All mathematical people, including opposing fans agree UK should be a 2 or 3 and Florida as a 2 is the most laughable thing EVER).

Its hard to make a bracket when I'm feeling so ill towards the NCAA

Bethany Robison said...

Thanks for setting this up, Nathan (I'm listed as Bethany11235, looks like you already have a pretty big group).

I love sports for the same reason I love any good storyline: There are bad guys, Goliaths to be slain. Unexpected heroes rise under pressure and fight through adversity. You fall in love with people you didn't know a week ago, and you care desperately what happens to them (see Hayward, Gordon). And in a tournament setting, you get it all in a nice, condensed little package complete with puff-pieces (the "backstory" segments sprinkled throughout).

TV producers really do a pretty good job of telling the story - I personally think there's a lot a writer can get out of watching a well produced event like this.

And I'm really competitive and want to win. Go Boilers!

Daisy said...

Last year I picked my bracket based on alphabetical order and did terribly. (Apparently a Baylor/BYU final was not a high-probability result.) But this time I'm not going to make the same mistake. This time I'm doing it reverse alphabetically.

ginny martyn said...


Cathi said...

Ohio State all the way!

Picking up Women said...

You're absolutely going to win. Basketball knowledge is not required to win, and in fact is often considered an impediment.

Matthew MacNish said...

I didn't blog yesterday, and missed the post, but of course I saw the forum thread.

Get ready, people!

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