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Union University Department of Political Science
Department of Political Science

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Benefield Makes History Winning PSC Bracket Challenge

Apr 8, 2014

 Nice guys don’t finish last, they finish second (unless you adhere to the Ricky Bobby philosophy of “if you’re not first, you’re last.”)  Before the bracket challenge started, Colby Benefield, a student in American Government, heard Dr. Evans talking with students about the Departmental Bracket Challenge and asked if he could play.  Dr. Evans, being the gentlemen he is, said “sure.”  So who wins the Department Bracket Challenge?  Colby Benefield.  And in the ultimate irony, who does he best as champion preventing him from becoming the first 2-time winner of the bracket challenge?  The person who let him in – Dr. Evans. 

Consequently, Colby will make history as the first non-major or minor to win the Departmental Bracket Challenge, rather appropriate for a history major, and will reign for the year as the Herodotus Historian of Bracketology. Maybe there is something in his study of ancient wars that gave him the knowledge to make good picks. More likely, his semester in a political science course taught him enough about human nature that allowed him to pick the upsets and understand the psychology of the tournament to win the bracket challenge. And in response to Dr. Evans’ magnanimity, he will call Dr. Evans, Dr. Evans the Generous or Dr. Evans the Good for the remainder of the semester. 

Coming in third and 7th after being much lower in the rankings in the early rounds, DJ Holloway and Haley Dauer win the Most Improved Player awards as they rode to amazing comebacks on the thoroughbreds of Kentucky. DJ made the most improvement going from the bottom 5 to the top 5 in two weeks earning the Gus Malzahn Turnaround Award.  Haley was not as far back but “nursed” her way toward contention to win the Florence Nightingale Rehabilitation Award.

4th place goes to Chelsie Kenworthy who proves with her picks that she is also basketball-worthy. For her performance, she will be the Princess of Motown as she earns a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

5th place goes to Charles Snow who needs to spend a little more time helping Bree with her picks. Or Bree needs to ask for help with her picks by learning the lessons from 6th place Shea Wingate who won the Alex Rider Bowl. Shea really wanted to win the bracket challenge in her senior year and knew that Josselyne, the defending champ who finished in 10th place this year, had Alex help with her picks last year. Thus, Shea started thinking “How can I get Alex to make picks for me instead?’’ Then the light bulb came on, “I know!”

8th place goes to Daniel “The Quiet Man” Langley and 9th place goes to College Republican Chair Will Walker who can rest easy knowing that he did better than President Obama who finished in 11th place. 

In the Faculty/Staff Division, Dr. Evans wins for the 5th time showing that empirical research leads to better answers than philosophical musings or cultural studies.  For his humanitarian outreach to the less unfortunate history student, the Department is proclaiming him the Albert Schweitzer Chair of Bracketology for the year. Moreover upon learning of his win, Dr. Evans, ala Clubber Lang, had one prediction for what Dr. Watson would feel and that is “pain” as Dr. Watson finds out that the platonic forms can be predicted through statistical analysis.  Maybe if Dr. Watson replaces his Katy Perry “Eye of the Tiger” with the real “Eye of the Tiger” he will have success in the future.  Coming in third is Kendra Beden who did well in spite of picking the St. Louis Cardinals to win it all.

Fourth place goes to Dr. Ryan who pursued the Hans Morgenthau Realism philosophy by choosing the higher seed in every game.  In explaining his method of picking, he said, “March Madness means that we live in a state of anarchy and in a state of anarchy power is the only thing that matters so naturally the higher seed will always win.  Plus, the Vietcongs of the tournament like Dayton, North Dakota State, and Mercer cannot hide in the jungles or sneak off into an urban environment to reduce the higher seed’s advantage. The insurgents have to fight their opponents on the open court where the superior power of the Superpowers will always lead to a victory.”  Upon learning that his method did not work, Dr. Ryan said, “It is clear that the underdogs socially constructed a culture that allowed them to believe they could win.  In the future, I will avoid relying on general philosophies and conduct in-depth research on individual teams to see whose culture allows it to triumph over others.”

In last place among faculty and staff comes Dr. Baker who combined his interest in politics and religion and conservatism to make picks based on whether a religious team or team from a more Republican state was playing.  His unorthodox picking style did lead to some unlikely victories such as Mercer and Baylor, but it failed him in the end.  In response, Baker said, “I am moving toward an emergent picking philosophy where I will sit around, talk about the picks with others, and let the community decide  who the best choice is in the future rather than rely on orthodox methods such as RPI.”