The Simpsons Folder
Fan Site Applies NCAA Bracket to Simpsons
Zap2It, June 6, By Cheryl Klein
It all started with a dry erase board. One Christmas, Seattle resident Greg Collins’ mom presented him with a board printed with the NCAA Tournament bracket. Collins, then the college basketball editor for ESPN.com, used it to track the road to the championship. When he was moved off the basketball beat last summer, he co-opted the board for its second most logical use: to determine the coolest supporting character on “The Simpsons.”
http://www.roadtospringfield.com/ invites visitors to vote in a series of daily match-ups, such as Otto vs. Scratchy or Kent Brockman vs. the Bumblebee Man. The characters are divided into four “regions”: Life of Homer, The School, Celebrity Style and Springfield at Large.
So far, there have been both landslides (Ralph Wiggum beat Rod Flanders 31 to 1) and narrow margins (the usually unfortunate Hans Moleman beat Reverend Lovejoy by three votes).
“I have a soft spot for Groundskeeper Willy, because I’m a wee bit Scottish,” confesses Collins, whose father plays the bagpipes. He’s in luck -– the muscle-bound Scottsman easily crushed Tod Flanders to enter the second round.
To determine the pairings, Collins and his brother Andy listed 65 characters, seeded them individually, then consolidated their rankings. With the same somewhat dizzying statistical analysis that characterizes the NCAA tournament, the brothers eventually seeded Montgomery Burns in the No. 1 spot and Kearny in the bottom spot after the local bully won a play-in game against sidekick Dolph.
“I’ve always had a good memory for movie quotes, so that’s where a lot of this comes from,” Collins says. “My friend and I all have our favorite lines, and they’ve become part of our vernacular.”
Peppered with obscure trivia, the message boards suggest he’s not alone.
“One guy wrote me wondering about the possibility of folks stuffing the ballot box. Apparently, he and his buddies have some money riding on the outcome.”
While Collins, currently a content developer for ESPN.com, hasn’t promoted the site beyond emailing his friends and telling them to email their friends, the site has been mentioned on USA Today’s Hip Clicks page and several pop culture websites. As of the June 6 match-up, Collins says he’s gotten 1400 votes and had to switch from tallying emails by hand to using the technology at http://www.mypoll.net/.
“The only problem is, you can vote more than once,” Collins says. “If voting fraud looks like it’s going to be a problem, I have a backup plan that involves a more complicated custom polling system. But as I decided from the beginning of this, I want it to be as low-tech as possible.”