In normal times, it’s a Foolish tradition to celebrate March Madness with a bracket-style stock tournament. These, of course, aren’t normal times.

It’s been a miserable few months lately, in which we’ve watched the mightiest financial titans -- from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) to Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) -- turn into humbled paupers. We’ve seen Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG become nationalized, and we’re waiting to see if megabanks Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) follow their path. The pain of the financial companies has flooded every sector of the economy, eviscerating the Dow, slashing the price of oil, and pumping up unemployment. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) are two of the only companies that seem to be doing all right -- and that’s just because we can no longer afford “luxuries” like Target (NYSE:TGT) and Outback. 

So we’re switching it up this year. It’s time to turn our emotional depression into a mere recession by blowing off some steam. Below, you’ll find 16 people (or groups of people) to blame for this financial mess we’re in. A Foolish advocate has taken up the case of each. It’s up to you to declare a winner for each first-round matchup. We’ll keep going throughout the next few weeks until a Blame Bracket winner is declared.

Here are your gladiators: 

“Everyone’s to Blame: Taking It to the Streets” Matchup:
Wall Street (Morgan Housel)
Main Street ("Horgan Mousel")

“Freaks and Geeks” Matchup:
The tag team of WaMu’s Kerry Killinger and Countrywide’s Angelo Mozilo (Jim Mueller)
Geeks Bearing Formulas (Alex Dumortier)

“Greenspan’s Favored by a Half-Point (Rate Cut)” Matchup:
Repealers of the Glass-Steagall Act (Chris Barker)
Alan Greenspan (Joe Magyer)

“Will the Power of the Beard Pull Bernanke Through?” Matchup:
Inventors of Derivatives (Dan Caplinger)
Ben Bernanke (Anders Bylund)

“How to Lose $65 Billion in 10 Days” Matchup:
Bernie Madoff (Alyce Lomax)
Kate Hudson (Anand Chokkavelu)

“Invisible Media” Matchup:
Adam Smith (Matt Koppenheffer)
The Media (Tim Beyers)

“The Government Loses Either Way” Matchup:
The SEC (Eric Bleeker)
Fannie and Freddie (David Williamson)

“Mr. and Mr. Smith Go to Washington” Matchup:
Congress (Rich Smith)
Ratings Agencies (David Lee Smith)

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.