As fate would have it, this Elite Eight showdown pits two of three remaining “parks” in what’s sure to be stiff competition. College Park tallied enough pre-tourney nominations to earn a hefty No. 4 seed; then the city rallied to snag 60 percent of votes in a contest with heavyweight former Curbed Cup champion Old Fourth Ward. So HCP — Historic College Park, that is — is performing like a seasoned tourney vet and not the newcomer it is. Attributes that include MARTA connectivity, housing that isn’t ungodly expensive, a local arts scene, nearby Woodward Academy, and primo airport proximity must count for something. And underdog pride should never be discounted.
The oh-so-close runners-up of Curbed Cup 2013 could mean business this year. The picturesque eastside neighborhood of Grant Park let higher-seeded Edgewood (No. 5) take a mere 28 percent of votes in Round 1 action. It was the most lopsided of all contests last week. Grant Park made an Elite Eight appearance last year, too, and has since been riding a redevelopment wave triggered by Beltline plans and the investment pipeline that is Memorial Drive. Plus, Krobar happened this year. Maybe losing the crown to Kirkwood by a measly 23 votes three years ago — and early exits the last two years — has left a bad, bad taste. And maybe the only mouthwash is victory.