This. is. so. fun.
Thank you to the Equipment Managers and voters. We are having a blast and judging from the tens of thousands of votes last round, you are, too! Wow!
These were the Regional Championships and boy o boy did they provide the excitment.
The Region with the most overall votes was the West Region – where the Kansas State Wildcats battled the Nebraska Kearney Lopers. The ‘Cats were ahead, the Lopers overtook them. The Wildcats responded, the Lopers overtook them. K-State lead on the last day, the Lopers battled back.
Seriously, we had to create “Congratulations” messages for both teams. It was that close until the last possible minute.
In the end, UNK held a lead for the final couple hours and won by an astounding SEVEN VOTES!
Lopers lead all voting
The West contest drew about 1,000 more votes than other Regional Championships and the Lopers did end up with more votes than any of the other seven teams in the contest.
Now, four remain. Here's how they stack up in last round's voting:
- Nebraska Kearney Lopers with the most votes
- Gallaudet Bison drew 333 fewer votes
- Dickinson Red Devils counted 18 less votes than the Bison. EIGHTEEN!
- The Louisville Cardinals gathered 237 votes less than the Devils
With tens of thousands of votes casts, voters can see that there is absolutely NO WAY to predict a winner in this next round.
Helmet Bowl III Semi-Final
Could we end up with a DIII, all prior Helmet Bowl Champion Championship? Sure could!
The Dickinson Red Devils – our HB2 Champs – are one of two DIII schools remaining in the contest, now battle the DI Louislville Cardinals. In early voting, the Devils lead by a handful of votes.
In the other matchup, the DIII Gallaudet Bison – our HB1 Champs – face the DII Nebraska Kearny Lopers.
Clearly, it will be Bison vs Red Devils, Bison vs Cardinals, Lopers vs. Cardinals, or Lopers vs Red Devils. See our Twitter poll to vote on which matchup you think will determine our National Champion.
How The Got Here
Let's take a look at how each of these teams arrived in the Helmet Bowl III Semi-Finals. We'll go in alphabetical order.
Dickinson Red Devils
The Dickinson Red Devils reveled in their Helmet Bowl II National Championship, adorning their football uniforms with a specially designed patch. We were proud to see that and kept an eye on them from the beginning.
The Red Devils won the Centennial Conference after gathering an incredible 90 percent of the votes in the Conference Semi-final and then easily beating Moravian for the Conference Championship by doubling the Greyhounds' vote totals.
That brought them to the 64-team National Championship bracket.
First, as the East #1 Seed, they faced a surging #16 Wooster Fighting Scots helmet. The Scots put in a respectable fight and would have won many other matchups, but could not overcome the Red Devils.
Next, Dickinson put it in another gear and demolished the Salve Regina Seahawks.
That brought the Red Devils to a serious contender and a beautiful helmet – that of the Maryland Terrapins. Maryland would not be shaken until the end of the round, and ended up losing by a few hundred.
That brought another fantastic helmet from Maryland – from the Navy Midshipmen. Number 2 seeded Navy, with its diagonally-striped lid, gathered thousands of votes in the East Regional Championship, but fell 30 votes short of the Red Devils.
The Bison, our first National Champion, won the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference by pushing aside the Maritime Privateers to reach the Conference Championship against the surprising Dean Bulldogs. The Bison plodded along and beat the Bulldogs, but only by 37 votes. We wondered.
Then, the National Championship. The Bison were seeded #2 in the South Region and faced some mighty good helmets. First, the Austin College Kangaroos. The ‘Roos put up some good numbers, but did not threaten a win.
In Round 2, the Ole Miss Rebels toyed with the idea of winning early in the week, and could have pulled out an upset with a strong weekend push, but fell to the Bison by nearly 200 votes.
The Richmond Spiders seemed hungry. The Spiders pushed and pushed throughout Round 3, but Gallaudet seemed to find just enough votes to win, but always making it interesting. We wondered again.
In the South Region Championship last week, the St. Thomas Bobcats sprinted and sprinted and sprinted to the lead a few times. Would the Bison be able to recover the lead again and again? They did, winning by less than 50 votes.
We wonder again. Can the Bison find several hundred more votes to challenge the increasingly strong Lopers?
This red-chrome helmet is simple, menacing, and attractive. The Cardinals won the Atlantic Coast Conference by doubling up Wake Forest in the Semi-final, then beating the North Carolina State Wolfpack by just 11 votes.
We did not seriously consider Louisville a contender. Though they brought in a nice helmet, the voting numbers were just so very low.
Then, the National Championship.
Suddenly, the Cardinals were carrying in hundreds and hundreds of votes. They beat the Beloit Buccaneers. They handled a very good effort by the Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats.
They faced a unique and Helmet Bowl-experienced Lake Erie Storm and put up nearly 400 (!) more votes than the tornado.
They entered the North Region Championship, a #5 Seed, against a momentum-gaining Toledo Rocket helmet, but never gave them a chance. The Louisville Cardinals won their matchup by the widest margin.
Can the defending champ Dickinson Red Devils stop them?
Nebraska Kearney Lopers
The Lopers helmet is attractive, yes. We like it and voters do too. But still, this DII team made little noise in past years. In the Mid-America Intercollegiate semi-final, they dismissed the Northeaster State RiverHawks.
In the Conference Championship, they faced perennial Helmet Bowl contenders Central Missouri Mules. We thought the Mules would return to the podium, but SURPRISE! the Lopers won the Conference by two votes.
Ok. But what about the National Championship. When we Seeded them #11 and they faced a strong Wyoming Cowboys helmet (#6 Seed) we thought we'd seen the end of them. Nope. They nearly tripled the Cowboys total and caught our attention.
Round 2 wasn't much of a contest for the Lopers – they defeated the Dakota Wesleyan Tigers. Then, in Round 3, they faced the powerful UT Permian Basin Falcons. The Lopers beat them by 109 votes and were gaining traction.
We were impressed and wondered if UNK would be satisfied with that, especially since they faced the Kansas State Wildcats for the West Regional title. The EMAW crowd traded the lead with the Lopers nearly every day last week, but fell SEVEN VOTES short earlier today.
Now, the Lopers, who would be Seeded #1 based on Round 4 voting, take on the Bison. In early voting, they've gathered nearly 100 more votes than Gallaudet, but it's EARLY.
So, remember, each voter can vote daily on as many devices as possible. The strength is not in the number of devices, but the number of voters a team can get voting. It takes seconds to vote, but the winners rally their voters, and others, to vote every day for the week.