It's that time of the year again when everyone's filling out a bracket for March Madness. Everyone has their own way of choosing which teams will win; the most obvious and pragmatic way would be choosing higher-ranked seeds for each match.
I'm not doing that.
Instead, I've decided to fill out my bracket using an incredibly silly premise: voting based on whether I think Sufjan Stevens would write a song about each school. I can already tell you I am not going to win the bracket challenge, a fact that I even noted in the title of my bracket below.
Why would I do such a thing? For one, I'm a big Sufjan Stevens fan, so much so that I've even ranked all 100 of his Christmas songs. Two, he once tried to make an album for every state in the U.S., something he ultimately said was "a joke," but only after he'd released the albums Michigan and Illinois. (He did make a song about every state though, so that probably fills that void.) Three, aside from the NCAA Tournament, March is also home to Casimir Pulaski Day, a holiday observed in Chicago dedicated to a Polish soldier, and the title of a depressing Sufjan Stevens song, which has little to do with the holiday.
The point is, I might as well integrate the good, weird parts about Sufjan Stevens in order to make unconventional, bad decisions about March Madness. I don't blame you if you decide to close the tab after reading all this nonsense. But I'm too far into this bit to turn back, so let's get into the reasoning here.
1. I had to pick Austin Peay over Kansas because I cannot resist thinking about a world where Sufjan writes a song title featuring a pee joke.
This is how you know immediately I'm not winning any bracket challenge, because I chose 16-seed Austin Peay over 1-seed Kansas. That doesn't mean I think Austin Peay is bad -- they have an amazing chant -- but statistically, they don't have a chance against Kansas. But I feel like Sufjan would be into recording a song where he can make a bunch of pee jokes. He'd probably title the song "Austin Peay, Urine the Governor's Seat Now," and the song's content would be a depressing ballad about how Peay suddenly died from a cerebral hemorrhage. Death, by the way, is a recurring theme in Sufjan's music.
2. A lot of my picks were based on animals I think Sufjan could write neat songs about.
There was one time when Sufjan went through a pretty heavy animal theme in his music -- birds, bears, rabbits, you name it. The animals I think Sufjan would associate himself with would have to be creatures worth revering, as well as things you'd often find in rural areas. The one exception would be the Stony Brook Seawolves, who I picked over Kentucky because a) we already have too many Wildcats in this bracket and b) I don't know what the hell a seawolf is, so I'm depending on Sufjan to write some backstory on that mythical creature.
3a. Other picks were based on Sufjan's ability to write ballads about historical and religious figures
Example: The boilermakers of Purdue, the life of Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Joseph, the Friars of Providence, Tom Crean, Stephen F. Austin.
3b. I also picked Stephen F. Austin because it has enough syllables to replace Stephen A. Douglas in the song lyric "Stephen A. Douglas was a great debater"
I have no idea if Stephen F. Austin was a great debater, but his name would be a really good name to sing while playing the banjo.
4. Sufjan's home state is Michigan, and even though the songs on Michigan are depressing, at the very least I feel like he'd be proud to back the Spartans all the way to the national championship. He could even write a new fight song for them.
I may be correct in my national championship pick, but because a bracket challenge encompasses every game, my recklessness still opens me up to failure. I probably should've eaten mascots instead.