We are down to the final 32 of the best college football helmets in the nation. Helmet Bowl started with all 777 college football helmets. 10-week Conference Champions were crowned, and 64 teams were seeded and paired up in four regions. The first round of the Helmet Bowl I National Championship launched a week ago, and now we move to Round 2.
Voting in Round 1 was tremendous—more votes were cast in this week than all of the Conference play.
It will take an effort to get students, fans, alumni, and others to vote and win Helmet Bowl I.
What do we know? There are surprises, disappointments, and more.
What to Watch
The premier Round 2 matchup is in the South where the #1 seeded Valdosta State Blazers take on the Round 1 vote leading #8 seeded VMI Keydets. This should be a slugfest—who will get out the vote?
In the West, just a few dozen Round 1 votes separated the totals for the #2 seeded K-State Wildcats, who take on the #7 seeded Arkansas Razorbacks. Which helmet do you like?
In the North, #8 seeded Stout Blue Devils caught fire and are raking in the votes. They take on the #1 seeded Central Michigan Chippewas.
In the East, we have two strong Round 2 matchups. First, Army takes on Navy (they play on the field Saturday). Army brought in a few more votes in Round 1, but Navy is a threat. And, just a handful of vote totals separate #10 seeded Syracuse Orange from the #2 seeded Bowie State Bulldogs. Bowie was strong in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play, can they keep the voting going in the Nationals?
Round 1 Upsets
We saw a #3 seed, #4 seed, and #7 unexpectedly lose. The North suffered most.
In the North, #13 McKendree Bearcats defeat #4 Butler Bulldogs.
Also, in the North, #10 Syracuse Orange defeat #7 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays.
The biggest upset was in the South, where #14 Lyon Scots defeat #3 Elon Phoenix.
Not an upset, but we were surprised that the South’s #2 seeded Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles struggled against the #15 seeded Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils. Are the Golden Eagles vunerable against the #7 seeded Southeastern Savage Storm in the South Region?
The Virginia Military Academy, with its red M, yellow Y, and white I on a gold helmet leads all vote getters. Though they scored nearly 84 percent of the vote verses the Greensboro Pride, they garnered just about 100 more votes than #2 Kennessaw State Owls.
Both VMI and Kennesaw are placed in the South Region, figuring to be the most competitive with the #1 ranked helmet, the Valdosta State Blazers (who landed the 6th most votes in Round 1).
Round out the top 5 vote getters are #3 Central Michigan Chippewas (seeded #1 North), #4 Merchant Marine Mariners (seeded #3 North), and #5 Army Black Knights (seeded #3 East).
The competition between the Southeastern Savage Storm (seeded #7 South) and Lenoir-Rhyne Bears seesawed all week. The Storm came out ahead, with just more than 51 percent of the vote.
Lowest Vote Moving to Round 2
Though the Storm collected the least amount of votes, just ahead of them were the Wayne State Warriors with less than 10 more votes. The Warriors move on to take on the #7 seeded Buffalo State Bengals.
Rounding out the lowest vote getters in Round 1 are #3 Eastern Illinois Panthers (seeded #5 North), #4 McKendree Bearcats (seeded #13 North), and #5 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (seeded #4 South).
Helmet Bowl is disappointed to see these fine helmets eliminated:
Elon Phoenix put forth a gold helmet with rich red graphics that caught the eye of everyone voting in the Colonial Athletic League. This #3 seed in the South were upset by the #14 seeded Lyon Scots.
The Coe Kohawks gold helmet with the red oval encircling “COE” won the Iowa Intercollegiate, but could not withstand the #1 seeded and Conference poll high vote getters CMU Chippewas.
Indiana State Sycamores, whose white helmets with the state imprinted in blue and Sycamores scrawled across it in script is a fine helmet. The staff at ISU rallied to win the Missouri Valley and will be contenders in Helmet Bowl II.