While the rest of your unit, office or barracks finish up their best guesses for that other 64-team event, here's all you need to know about Battle Bracket:

Q. Who chose the field?A. We sent out a call to Military Times readers last month for their suggestions and received hundreds via social media, email and our comments section. Then we gathered experts from multiple services to narrow the list.

Q. What was the selection criteria?

A. We used a scientific algorithm with roots in both the Rating Percentage Index, which is utilized by the NCAA tournament selection committee, and the long-serving Sagarin system, as well as several other metrics to determine best practices.

Q. Seriously?

A. Of course not. We wanted hardware matchups that would trigger some debate across the services, lead to the sharing of great war stories, and maybe give our readers a chuckle. This is not an exact process: Most processes that could result in a centuries-old frigate squaring off against a bottle of pain-relief pills for final bragging rights are not exact.

Q. Are the entries seeded?

A. We ditched the complicated seeding process used in last year's Military Movie Madness and went with more entertaining matchups for the first round of voting. There was no special system in place, but we've spaced out some of the likely top vote-getters a bit, with the hope of building toward more heated contests as the rounds continue.

Q. How could you leave off [item, ship type, airframe, model or weapon]? Are you suffering from [intellectual impairment]?

A. As followers of the basketball version of March Madness are well aware, there is no perfect bracket. We tried to represent multiple services and specialties, with a nod to both recent and legacy systems. We also thought including the PT belt would be funny. There are plenty of factors at work.

One tip, especially for those taking the motorized portion of the bracket seriously: Look at the variants we selected as representatives of similar aircraft, weapons, etc. Knight Hawk fans can vote for the Black Hawk without feeling guilty, and for purposes of this exercise, a vote for the Hornet covers everything from -A to -F and the Growler, for good measure. In other words, don't let the model number ruin a good time.

Q. My choice is losing. How do I explain to fellow voters how misguided they are?

A. Aside from door-to-door campaigning, we'd suggest leaving a comment below the bracket or hitting social media to make your pitch. Use the hashtag #BattleBracket to start (or continue) the debate, and follow Military Times on Facebook to get regular updates.

Q. When will a champion be crowned?

A. Stay tuned throughout that other tournament; we'll be voting on a winner around the time the nets are being cut down.

Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.

In Other News
Load More