The William Paterson Pioneers emerged from absolutely nowhere to claim the New Jersey Athletic Conference. Then, due to their spectacular battle with the New Jersey Lions, they earned the #1 Seed in the North Region of the Helmet Bowl III National Championship. Even more, the NJAC drew more votes in its Conference Championship than any other Conference. The Pioneers are the Super #1 Ranked team in HB3.
Now, though, there is trouble on the horizon.
The Idaho State Bengals, who played into the National Championship bracket and earned a lowly #16 seed, charge. Currently, these #1 and #16 teams are tied. Is an upset in the making? There are six days left to vote, so just about anything can happen. The Pioneers must rally the votes, because we know the Bengals are building momentum.
The second-ranked Sycamores of Indiana State hold a fine lead over the Saint John Fisher Cardinals. The Sycamores are veterans at Helmet Bowl and which ever team they face next should prepare now.
NOTE: Due to current limitations of the voting program, it appears the winners of the #1 verses #16 seeds will face the winners of the #2 verses #15 seeds in the second round. These winners would more normally work through the entire regional bracket before facing each other. We are working with the vendor. Stay tuned.
The Thomas More Saints won the Independent Conference Championship (read: they beat Army and they beat Notre Dame) and have one of the classiest, most attractive helmets in Helmet Bowl. We are partial to the diagonal design, yes, and they have perfected it with the silver stripe from the jawbone around the back of the head. Nice. However, the excellent program at Indiana Wesleyan leads the Saints as of this writing. As much as we are partial to that diagonal, we are impressed with what the Wildcats have done in two years of its football program. This is a fun one to watch and there can be no losers here.
Now, the sort-a kinda pink helmet of the Fightin' Engineers of Rose-Hulman produces a certain amount of attention, yes. But is it more attractive than that Toledo fade? The Rocket helmet suggests a spaceship of sorts leaving the atmosphere. Currently, it leads the pink elephant in voting.
Here, in early voting, we are somewhat surprised by the standings. The Louisville helmet of a chrome red with a simple but angry bird leads the menacing pirate of Beloit (they are the Buccaneers). Additionally, the Hope Flying Dutchman's resting anchor on a brilliant orange helmet trails the stalwart Eagle on a purple helmet for Ashland. Does any of this make sense? Voters have nearly a week to figure it out.
Finally, the middle of the pack. The angry cartoon whirlwind of the Lake Erie Storm currently dominates the growling Bearcat of McKendree. The Storm went far in last year's contest, so we look to them to advance a place or two.
Millikin may not have much imagination to their team name – Big Blue – nor to their helmet design, but they also don't have the votes to overcome the Saint Olaf Oles – at least not yet. The Decatur, Illinois based Big Blue has nearly a week to turn things around. At the same time, the Oles can extend their lead with the simple but effective lion shield.