By Jim Caple
Page 2

I would gladly repeat last year's March Madness tour of college fraternities, sororities, dorms and other booze-soaked student housing, but two things near and dear to my heart stand in the way: my wife and my liver.

In other words, I've been placed on double-secret probation. And this year I have a partner: Page 2's Mary Buckheit.

But while there will be no students battling to see who can push my blood-alcohol ratio higher than Colin Farrell's, there still will be a competition. That's because this year's campus tour will double as a contest to find the most passionate fans in college basketball and then crown them Mr. and Ms. Bracket.

Our first stop is Thursday at Gonzaga, home to one of college basketball's finest programs and its most infamous facial hair. We'll choose the top four male and top four female candidates during an open audition, tour the campus, toast Adam Morrison at Jack and Dan's Bar and Grill, grab a burger and fries at Dick's Drive-In and take in the full majesty that is Spokane, Wash., in March.

From there, we'll move down the coast to UCLA and fabled Pauley Pavilion, then zip across the country to Knoxville, Tenn., and eventually wind up in the Northeast to a school still to be determined.

Call it our version of the old four corners offense.

First Stop -- Gonzaga
WHAT: Mr. and Ms. Bracket Showdown

WHEN: Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (PST)

WHERE: The Crosby Center

HOW TO ENTER: Show up dressed to display your passion for college basketball and submit a 75-word essay on your devotion to the game.

As much as we would love to visit every campus in the country, it simply isn't possible, but that doesn't mean everyone can't participate. In addition to our campus tour, we're accepting online submissions (starting Thursday) from everywhere else as well, and half our final contestants will come out of those entries.

The contest rules are simple. Just send us a photo showing off your school spirit and tell us in 75 words or less why you're college's most passionate fan. Dress yourself in as much -- or as little -- team apparel as you want. Paint yourself solid in the school colors, like in "Goldfinger," if you can find someone willing to get those difficult-to-reach areas. Just be sure the photo is suitable for display on this Web site.

And also make sure you leave the soles of your feet unpainted -- ESPN.com will not be held liable for any cases of asphyxiation.

From there, you readers will select the final candidates. After that, we'll ask the finalists to submit a short video showing their passion for college basketball. We'll run the videos the day of the championship and readers will pick Mr. and Ms. Bracket.

And here's some incentive for you to put more thought (and effort) into the 75-word essay than you ever will for a poly-sci paper -- we're handing out honest-to-gosh prizes. The winners receive a free ESPN phone, plus free cellular service. The runners-up get some fabulous ESPN merchandise.

And as for the rest of you? Well, you'll win as well. You won't be subjected to any photos of me posed in a Tigger costume this year.

At least, I hope not.

Jim Caple is a senior writer at ESPN.com. His first book, "The Devil Wears Pinstripes," is on sale at bookstores nationwide. It also can be ordered through his Web site, Jimcaple.com. Sound off to Page 2 here.




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MR. & MS. BRACKET