One housekeeping thing before we start voting in the Places Region. I didn't know the survey tool I was using would limit me to 100 responses. Fortunately most of the matchups were lopsided enough that I can declare winners based on the votes that did get through. But the Anthony Collins-Sara Nevins matchup ended in a 50-50 tie. So in addition to the matchups in today's region, we're going to hold a revote between Collins and Nevins. Also we're going to use Google forms for all votes from now on.
(1) JUDY GENSHAFT defeated (16) PARKING SERVICES
(9) BETTY CASTOR defeated (8) SINGLET GUY
(4) MATT GROTHE defeated (13) HULK HOGAN
(5) SUN DOLLS defeated (12) BROTHER JEREMIAH
(3) JIM LEAVITT defeated (14) DOUG WOOLARD
(7) LEE ROY SELMON defeated (10) TONY LA RUSSA
(2) PHYLLIS MARSHALL defeated (15) STUDENTS WHO WEAR OTHER SCHOOLS' GEAR
Now let's move on to the Places Region and the first-round matchups there. Voting is open TODAY ONLY, until around 3:00am Eastern time. Vote early, and tell your friends.
(1) MARSHALL CENTER vs. (16) BETA HALL
Yesterday you voted on the woman the Marshall Center is named after. Today her building is looking for your vote. USF's fantastic student union, which replaced the original Marshall Center in 2008, is the nerve center of student life at the University. It houses student organizations, provides auditoriums and meeting spaces, and offers a food court, the campus bookstore, and a tile University seal on the floor marked off by velvet ropes so no one walks on it. The Marshall Center also has a Beef 'O' Brady's in it, but we'll let that slide.
Oh, Beta Hall. You were modern when you were built in the early 1960s. Unfortunately, no one bothered to update you for nearly 50 years. By the time the 1990s rolled around, you were known as Cellblock Beta, something for freshman males to endure rather than enjoy. And it only got worse from there. I think they finally got around to renovating the place, but by then the damage was done. Beta held off a spirited challenge from The Village to claim the automatic bid from the Horrific Rundown Student Housing Conference.
(8) LIBRARY STARBUCKS vs. (9) GAMMA BEACH
I'm kind of upset the Library Starbucks didn't exist when I was a student. A late-night coffee shop for studying, reading, and probably much more interesting conversation than you would get at most of the other places on this list. Even I would have had a chance with girls in that place.
The nearest Gulf beach is a good 45 minutes away from the Tampa campus. So for those days when you just can't get to Clearwater, or to a tanning bed, there's always a patch of sand out in front of a retention pond near Castor Hall. A surprisingly USF thing, if you really think about it.
(4) SUN DOME vs. (13) FONTANA HALL
USF's basketball arena recently finished a massive renovation that made it from a cruddy, creaky old barn into a well-appointed, modern facility. The best seats in the house aren't seats at all -- they're the tables at the front end of the club section, where you have plenty of room to stand up and wander around nervously while watching the game. Downside: they messed up the history murals.
Fontana Hall doesn't exist anymore, but for 30 years it was USF's most notable off-campus housing complex. Situated right across the street from the Palm Drive entrance, near the credit union and the water tower, thousands of students who didn't want the complete on-campus experience called it home. USF football athletes lived in it for the first few years of the program, leading to the memorable night when Jon Chivas threw a cinder block through a police cruiser window from his balcony. Snagged one of the very last at-large bids.
(5) CAMPUS RECREATION CENTER vs. (12) PRO-COPY
USF's massive student gym completed another upgrade a couple of years ago, adding a new basketball gym, an indoor running track, hundreds of new exercise machines, and even a dining hall that is shared with athletes. Someone mentioned that you need to avoid "mating hours" when they nominated the rec center for this bracket, which sounds intriguing.
If you need a workbook for a class, or the professor assigns you something that's out of print, odds are you had to go to the Pro-Copy on Fowler east of campus and pick it up. A borderline racket if you ask me, but they also provide all the services that a Kinko's would provide. Was essential in my time as a student, but that was before iPads, so who knows now.
(6) MR DUNDERBAK'S vs. (11) THE GREENERY
Dunderbak's started out in a run-down section of University Mall, and then relocated to a new spot on Bruce B. Downs, north of Bearss. But no matter which location you've been to, it offers a killer beer selection, plenty of German food, and lots of sandwiches and comestibles to soak up all those pints.
USF students of the 80s had the Empty Keg in the old Marshall Center. Today's students have all of the places in this bracket. In between that was The Greenery, a bar on 42nd Street just off campus that is legendary for USF students of a certain age. Beer, girls, beer, music, and beer. Did we mention beer? It closed down a few years ago, in one of the great tragedies in school history.
(3) PEABODY'S vs. (14) UNIVERSITY MALL
I know I just sung the praises of The Greenery in the last matchup. But if I'm being honest, I liked Peabody's better. Lots of pool tables, dart boards, shuffleboard, TVs, beer, people, and all the other things that a good bar needs. It's still there, although I'm probably too old to go in there now. Aging sucks, you guys.
University Mall opened in the mid-1970s and was actually a nice place for 25 years. Then places like Brandon TownCenter and Citrus Park Mall opened, and it stopped being a destination. They tried to keep up for awhile, with a new wing and movie theater, but eventually the big anchor tenants moved out and University Mall went downhill. Frequently mentioned as a place to put a campus football stadium… you know, back when that was remotely feasible.
(7) ANDROS DINING vs. (10) WAWA
Andros is one of USF's on-campus dining facilities. The key selling points are that it's open until 2:00am and it serves late-night breakfast for inebriated residents. Also had a song written singing its praises, which we'll revisit in a future region.
I was accused of letting Collin influence me when I put Wawa in this region. It just opened on 30th Street, but it's already catching on with USF students based on the visits I made while I was in town a few weeks ago. There's really no place like it in the area -- a convenience store that's open all night and serves sandwiches, soups, salads, and all kinds of snacks. If it hadn't been open for such a short time, it would have been a higher seed. A potential sleeper.
(2) COPPER TOP/CDB vs. (15) FLETCHER WALMART
Copper Top is the one true dive bar USF has, and what a fantastic dive it is. The bar, not surprisingly, has a copper top, and it has the extra benefit of being right next to CDB Pizza, an Italian restaurant in the same strip mall that delivers right to the bar. 70-something Ron Paul dropped in after the 2012 Republican primary debate, which was probably the funniest thing of all time.
One of USF's football players asked me on Twitter how I decided what seeds to give University Mall or the Fletcher Walmart. It was simple, really. University Mall used to be nice, but isn't now. On the other hand, the Walmart on Fletcher and Bruce B. Downs has never been nice. First of all, it's a Walmart. Then you add in the inside of the building (disgusting, like most Walmarts), the trash in the parking lot, the creeps everywhere, and people trying to shiv you at night, and it's just a horrible environment. I don't understand the groundswell of support this place is getting. It sucks. Go shop somewhere else.
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