Two cats, two ungulates, a service member, spiritual enemy, mechanical wonder, and a bird.
Bobcats, Wildcats, Lopers, Red Devils, Bison, Midshipmen, Rockets, and Cardinals remain.
Thank you, voters, for such a fun Helmet Bowl III National Championship. We break down the Regional Championships below. By Monday, we will have our Fantastic Fabulous Final Four.
We are stunned at how close each of these teams are in voting. Tens of thousands of votes cast, and yet just a relative handful of votes separate these final eight teams.
The Kansas State Wildcats led all vote-getters in Round 3.
Navy Midshipmen: 207 less than the K-State
Dickinson Red Devils: 142 less than Navy
Gallaudet Bison: 25 less than Dickinson
Louisville: 44 votes less than Gallaudet
DI FBS – Four teams remain (5 teams in Round 3, 8 teams in Round 2, 10 teams in Round 1)
DI FCS – Zero teams remain (3 teams in Round 3, 6 teams in Round 2, 14 teams in Round 1)
DII – The Nebraska Kearney Lopers remain. (3 teams in Round 3, 10 teams in Round 2, 15 teams in Round 1)
DIII – Two teams remain (4 teams in Round 3, 5 teams in Round 2, 20 teams in Round 1)
NAIA – The St. Thomas Bobcats remain (1 team in Round 3, 3 teams in Round 2, 4 teams in Round 1)
Amazing how the votes in Conference play, which determined the national tournament seeding, had little to do with how teams have performed in the National tournament.
With one exception: The East. In the East, the #1 Seed Dickinson Red Devils face the #2 Seed Navy Midshipmen – just like the voters predicted.
Meanwhile, the North features a #5 Seed (Louisville Cardinals) vs a #13 (Toledo Rockets).
In the West, #5 K-State face #11 Nebraska Kearney Lopers.
And, as everyone knows, in the South, the #16 (SIXTEEN!) St. Thomas Bobcats face #2 Gallaudet Bison.
So very much fun.
Remarkable run and comeback by the St. Thomas Bobcats. A Play-in team which did not win their conference, the ‘Cats won a four team contest to be ranked #16 in the South Region.
Now, they face the Helmet Bowl I National Champion (this team will ALWAYS be the first winner of Helmet Bowl) Gallaudet Bison. The Bison have, for an always-favorite) sort of snuck (sneaked) through the contest and now perch (can a Bison perch?) on the cusp of a Regional Championship.
This will be fun.
Let's stay right here.
The Bobcats won by FIVE VOTES (!) against the surging Samford Bulldogs. Samford brought a clean, attractive helmet to the contest and, unknown until a few weeks ago, sprinted. They beat the Campbell Fighting Camels, then we thought we would have to say “so long” when they faced the unique helmet of Austin Peay. Nope. They beat the Monopoly Man, collected $200, and moved on.
The contest in Round 3 between the Bulldogs and Bobcats was a seesaw and so fun to watch. We are sorry to see Samford leave the contest and look forward to their run in Helmet Bowl IV.
Meanwhile, Gallaudet faced a strong and getting stronger Richmond Spider helmet. The Spiders waltzed through the National Championship and had a shot at Round 4. The Bison outpaced them, just by 100 and a handful of votes.
As we look now, the Bison are leading the Bobcats by 12 votes! Twelve.
The Louisville Cardinals put forth a chrome red helmet with an angry bird head. They took on an experienced Lake Erie Storm helmet, but dismissed them by hundreds of votes. Yes, we were surprised.
The Toledo Rockets, now, yes, the Rockets' graduated helmet from yellow to black with the art deco-ish spaceship blasting forward, has grown on us. It's a nice helmet – it really is. The Toledo team took on a hungry Indiana State Sycamore helmet with its history of winning its conference and knowing how to make a run in the National Championship. The Rockets won by a hundred and a handful of votes.
This is a an interesting matchup – the strong recognizable Cardinals versus the relatively unknown Toledo team. Either Louisville will flex some might or the Rockets will jetson one stage and ignite another. The Cardinals lead, right now, by exactly 50 votes.
Yes, we admit falling hard for the Nebraska Kearney Lopers blue helmet overlayed with the gold antelope bust. It's cool. It's different. It's attractive. The Lopers faced a long-time Helmet Bowl favorite in the UT Permian Basin Falcons and beat them by just 109 votes – less than 2 percent.
They face Helmet Tracker friends Kansas State Wildcats. We've spent a lot of time in the Bill Snyder Family Stadium and always thought the ‘Cats could make a run at a Helmet Bowl National Championship. The EMAW folks just never got behind their helmet. Then, everything changed. The Wildcats changed their helmets mid-week a few weeks ago and things took off for them. They beat a strong Texas State Bobcat helmet, then took on #1 Seed Clarmont-Mudd-Scripps Stags – a heavy favorite. Well, K-State just destroyed the Stags and outpaced the rest of the field in voting last round. Wow.
Now, a great West Region battle. The Wildcats lead the Lopers by 17 votes as we checked just now.
These are the big guys.
Defending Helmet Bowl National Champion Dickinson Red Devils face the Navy Midshipmen. These two teams racked up more votes in Round 3 than any other two teams in the National Championship.
One has to go.
The Red Devils rely on the football Moms' network. The Midshipmen awoke a few weeks ago and pile on the votes. Navy leads, right now anyway, by just 22 votes.
Dickinson beat a very VERY strong Maryland Terrapin helmet to get here. Navy more than doubled up a nice Alvernia Golden Wolves helmet.
If you watch one contest this week of Christmas (who are we kidding? We know you won't watch just one contest here) watch this one.
Thank you for taking the time to read up on the Helmet Bowl III National Championship. We wish you a very Merry Christmas. Don't forget – you can vote every day. Enjoy your gifts, have fun with your family, then vote.