LG G Pro vs. iPhone 5S? Alternative brackets to March Madness

There's still time to jump into geeky tournament brackets featuring battles between "Star Wars" characters, smartphones, PBS personalities, and sci-fi franchises.

Star Wars tournament
I think Yoda will handle this one. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

March Madness doesn't have to be just about basketball. You can get a tournament fix without ever setting eyes on a round orange bouncy object or the extremely tall humans who use it.

Instead, you can bask in a much nerdier alternative tournament where you get to do things like root for Neil deGrasse Tyson versus the Dowager Countess from "Downton Abbey" or cheer on the iPhone 5S in a pitched battle against the LG G Pro 2.

Welcome to the world of alternative brackets. Here are five to feed your competitive fire, and they have pretty much nothing to do with basketball.

PBS vs. NPR
Who will reign supreme? Philadelphia public media provider WHYY is setting the stars of NPR against the luminaries of PBS. Happy-clouds painter Bob Ross handily defeated voice-of-nature David Attenborough in the first round, but took it on the chin against the Dowager Countess. It's all about who garners the most fan votes. Round 3 is currently under way. I'm betting it all comes down to deGrasse Tyson taking on Ira Glass in a grudge match for the ages. I give this one to the "Cosmos" host, but just barely.

Highlander DVD cover
"Highlander" already lopped the head off "Conan the Barbarian." (Click to enlarge.) Lionsgate

Science fiction vs. fantasy
Break out the swords, magic, phasers, aliens, zombies, Cthulhu, and Mel Gibson as Mad Max. Geek site io9 is hosting a tournament pitting sci-fi and fantasy franchises against each other -- until, like in "Highlander," there can be only one. This is anybody's game. We could very well end up with a bloody final match featuring "Star Trek" taking on "Game of Thrones." Spock versus a direwolf, anyone?

Metrics mania
If you've ever wondered how the different colleges in the NCAA basketball tournament would fare against each other using institutional research rather than sports prowess, then the Metrics Mania bracket is for you. You have until the 21st to fill out your bracket and guess which schools will rack up the most scientific and scholarly research paper citations during the tournament. (That's the simplified version of how this works.) The data comes from Thomson Reuters' InCites Web-based research analytics platform. Power to the nerds!

Smartphone madness
Laptop Magazine prefers to spend its time arranging fights between smartphones. In a surprise upset, the LG G Pro 2 took out the Apple iPhone 5S early on. The 5C, however, is still in the smartphone tournament, though it must make it past the YotaPhone to advance. Once again, this is all about fan votes. The eventual champion will get a virtual pat on the back, along with a "You done good, smartphone."

'Star Wars'
The "Star Wars" version of March Madness features 100 percent more Yoda than the NCAA tournament. The little green guy was triumphant in last year's This is Madness character tournament. Up for a repeat, is he? Right now, Boba Fett is totally blasting Greedo out of the galaxy, though Liam Neeson is at least putting up a fight against Yoda. I'm sticking with Darth Vader as my dark-horse winner this year.

PBS vs. NPR
This is going to be a close one. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

 

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