Now, 16 teams remain. It's the Fantastic Four in each of the four regions. We break it down for you.
For those of you keeping track, what we have left:
DI FBS – five teams remain (8 teams in Round 2, 10 teams in Round 1)
DI FCS – three teams remain (6 teams in Round 2, 14 teams in Round 1)
DII – three teams remain (10 teams in Round 2, 15 teams in Round 1)
DIII – four teams remain (5 teams in Round 2, 20 teams in Round 1)
NAIA – one team, the St. Thomas Bobcats, remains (3 teams in Round 2, 4 teams in Round 1)
Very little drama in South Region voting in Round 2. That is about to change. in a very big way. Round 3 promises drama.
St. Thomas Bobcats – These guys understand Helmet Bowl and keep rolling up the votes. A 16 Seed in the quarterfinals! Whoo. They defeated the University of Alabama at Birmingham who rolled out a great Blazer helmet adorned with a fire-breathing dragon. Hate to see you go.
The Bobcats now face a surging Bulldog helmet.
Samford Bulldogs – the Bulldogs ran away from the strong Austin Peay helmet festooned with the Monopoly man on a chrome red helmet. Great helmet. But they are done. The Bulldogs need to step it up to advance a week from now.
Gallaudet Bison – the Helmet Bowl I National Champion keeps winning though we expect the Bison voting team has not shifted into high gear as of yet. They beat a strong Ole Miss team, threw some fun shade at the Rebel's new coach, and now face a Spider team whose voters tallied nearly the same number of votes as the Bison in Round 2.
This is a great matchup to watch this week.
Richmond Spiders – The Spiders faced a strong voting Limestone Saints team and emerged the winner. With nearly as many votes as the powerful Gallaudet Bison, the Spiders are a force to be reckoned with if they remain in the contest next week.
The North Region is easily the underdog region now. Look, when we set up the regions, we spread out the top vote-getters as much as we could. But in the North, the #1, #3, and #4 seeds have bowed out. If there is anything we've learned, though, is that teams who can harness some momentum and then build on it have the potential to surge through the Helmet Bowl National Championship.
Toledo Rockets – This #13 seed won a squeaker over the Ashland Eagles. We love the art deco-ish rocket blasting through the yellow to black gradient – a unique helmet. They face the highest remaining North Seed.
Indiana State Sycamores – This is an experienced Helmet Bowl team. They repeated their Conference win and then started knocking off teams in the national contest. They were about a dozen behind the St. Olaf Oles with an hour and a half left in Round 2, but won. The Terre Haute-based voters know what they are doing.
Lake Erie Storm – Another well-experienced Helmet Bowl voting block. The cartoon tornado with its dukes up will be difficult to stop in this region. This helmet defines uniqueness.
Louisville Cardinals – the Cardinals put forth a gorgeous red chrome helmet festooned with a grimacing cardinal head in white. It's a good helmet and the Cards could push it to the national Fantastic Four.
Currently, the East Region is the strongest of the four regions – by a wide margin. Unless the winner of another Region figures out how to pile up the votes when students are home for Christmas, the National Champion may very well come from the East.
Dickinson Red Devils – We just cannot start writing about the Red Devils without saying “the defending champions.” And we won't here. The defending champions are showing their metal. They had the most votes in Round 2 in the entire contest (by a slim margin) and know how to pile up more when necessary. However, necessary is now. The Maryland Terrapins will compete.
Maryland Terrapins – We've said it before – the Terrapin helmet caught our attention when we put together Helmet Bowl I. Voters have caught up to this magnificent helmet and have a chance to stake a claim with a win over the Red Devils. Possible? Yes, possible.
Alvernia Golden Wolves – Man o man we wish the Golden Wolves folks would send us a new image. It's a fine helmet, but hard to see through all the fuzz. The route Alvernia has taken through this tournament seems easy – but that's only because the wild canines have destroyed their opponents.
Navy Midshipmen – Well, they sure handed it to Army over the weekend on the field, then nearly doubled up a fine St. Augustine Falcons lid in Round 2 of the Helmet Bowl National Championship. These guys have the steam up and are full ahead. The Midshipmen could win this region and then the whole thing.
These four helmets. Wow. If voters were asked which Region has the best quarterfinal group, how could they not vote for this quad? The team that emerges from this Region looks to have the most growing momentum as voting numbers continuously climb for these teams.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags – one of two #1 Seeds remaining, the Stags swept aside the Southeast Oklahoma Savage Storm (a Helmet Bowl II quarterfinalist) after beating a strong Redlands Bulldogs helmet. Now they face the most improved voting team in the contest.
Kansas State Wildcats – these guys are always hovering around. And WOW. Between Round 1 and Round 2 they DOUBLED their voting total. Then, they were the only team, so far, who switched out their helmet image. Watch out Stags. This is a big team at a big school with big votes now.
Nebraska Kearney Lopers – we just love this team, the helmet, and the deep dive they are taking in this contest. They've not been challenged and so our suspicions that the Lopers could be a sleeper may be proven out this week.
UT Permian Basin Falcons – This is another helmet we've watched for a couple of years. The Falcons soared through Round 1, but then faced a strong effort by the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers. They met the challenge and now face the Lopers. We'll be watching.