It’s written right there at the bottom of the dress board in the locker room of the Howard Bison: “Don’t forget to vote everyday!”
And, judging from the team’s 4-0 start in Helmet Bowl I, the players, the equipment staff, and others do vote, and vote often.
Bison Equipment Manager Darren Damewood has made sure of it.
“The Marketing Department owed me a favor and instead of buying me lunch I asked them to announce Helmet Bowl at the home games a few times and to ask the fans to vote,” Damewood said.
Darren, a University of Texas graduate who worked in the equipment room for the football team there from 2001 to 2006, also served as a football equipment manager behind the scenes for the show Friday Night Lights. He then was the equipment manager at Moravian in Pennsylvania before moving across the country to the University of Redlands. Everywhere, he has reorganized, updated, and revitalized the professionalism of the equipment room.
Darren, AEMA Certified for seven years now, says the entire Bison culture is in transformation this year with a new coaching staff, new equipment staff, new strength staff, and a new helmet, too. He started the job this year, just a couple of months ago.
“Winning our conference in Helmet Bowl week after week is doing nothing but helping to get the word out about us,” he said. “It’s fun. We look forward to it every week.”
On the field, the Bison are 2-2. The take on the North Carolina Central Eagles Saturday in D.C.
Week 5 Helmet Bowl Conference Championship
Week 5 will see some teams take a strong lead for the Championship. At the end of voting Sunday, we will be half-way through the Conference Championships. Teams with FIVE points will be difficult to catch.
Each weeks’ winner is awarded one point. Ties between two teams split the point with each receiving .5 points. Ties between three or more teams each receive .25 points.
Remember, most Conference Champions receive an automatic entry in the Bracket of 64 for the National Championship (some will be eliminated due to low vote tallies). If teams within a Conference tie in conference points, the team who has gathered the most amount of votes wins the Championship.
Consistent Victory and Close Battles
Eleven teams have won their Conference each of the first four weeks of Helmet Bowl I.
Eight Conferences currently have two or more teams tied in the standings.
PAC-12 (Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Utah Utes, Washington Huskies)
Big South (Gardner-Web Runnin’ Bulldogs, Kennesaw State Owls, Liberty Flames, Presbyterian Blue Hose)
Ohio Valley (Murray State Racers, Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles)
Southland (Abilene Christian Wildcats, Central Arkansas Bears, McNeese State Cowboys, Northwestern State Demons)
Great American (Oklahoma Baptist Bison, Southeastern Oklahoma State Savage Storm)
DII Independents (Limestone Saints, North Greenville Crusaders)
New England Small College Athletic (Tufts Jumbos, Wesleyan Cardinals)
Frontier Conference (Eastern Oregon Mountaineers, Idaho Coyotes).
Week 6 Helmet Bowl Conference Championship
Helmet Bowl will award Week 6 vote winners *TWO POINTS toward the Conference Championship.
The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags (18-pointer on the helmet) won Week 4 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic by a wide margin. Someone over there is voting and the rest of the conference should get it together if they want any chance at a Helmet Bowl Conference Championship.
Syracuse finally broke away from the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference to take a slim overall lead. That blue and orange faded helmet outclasses the old solid orange with the white block S, but is it the best in the ACC?
What happened to the vaunted Kansas State Wildcats (EMAW!)? They were cruising along, winning Weeks 1, 2, then 3. Week 4 saw the in-state, in-conference rival Kansas Jayhawks nearly overtake them. Both teams tallied the same number of votes, earning each one-half point. Are the Jayhawks on the move?
Ties in Week 4
American Southwest: East Texas Baptist Tigers, Louisiana Wildcats
Big 12: Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats
Heart of America Athletic: Once again, the MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers are involved in a tie, this time with the Culver-Stockton Wildcats.
Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic: Coe Kohawks and Dubuque Spartans tied this week, leading the Loras Duhawks by just a smidge.
Ivy League: What is happening here is that we have a carousel of weekly winners. Week four sees the Harvard Crimson tie with the Yale Bulldogs, who make their first appearance on the winners’ board.
Kansas Collegiate Athletic: Bethany Swedes and the Ottawa Braves talley the same percentage of votes for the tie this week.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic: Bridgewater State Bears make their debut, but tie the Fitchburg State Falcons.
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic: The Alma Scots and Finlandia Lions both receive the same number of votes. Anyone in this conference could win if a group of bridge-playing alum decide to vote for their alma mater.
Mid-South: Georgetown Tigers tie the Kentucky Christian Knights.
Mountain East: Charleston Golden Eagles and UVA-Wise Highland Cavaliers tie in Week 4.
New Jersey Athletic: Christopher Newport Captains tie with the New Jersey Lions.
Northeast 10: Saint Anselm Hawks tie with the Stonehill Skyhawks.
Northeast: Duquesne dukes and Robert Morris Colonials tie, but the CCSU Blue Devils, Saint Francis Red Flash, and the Wagner Seahawks are right behind in voting. This conference is up for grabs.
Northwest: George Fox Bruins and Linfield Wildcats tie, but the Pacific Boxers trailed these two teams by just one vote.
Old Dominion Athletic: The Bridgewater Eagles and Washington and Lee Generals tied this week.
Patriot League: Colgate Raiders and Georgetown Hoyas tie, just ahead of the Bucknell Bison.
Pennsylvania State Athletics: Splitting a point here are the California Vulcans and the Cheyney Wolves.
Southeastern (SEC): This Conference continues to confound us. Georgia receives a good amount of votes each week, but doesn’t seem to be able to pull ahead by much in the standings. This week the Arkansas Razorbacks split the point with them. Truely, any team in the SEC could win Helmet Bowl if their practice squad decided to vote daily.
Southern: Furman Paladins and VMI Keydets tied.
Sun Belt: Strong voting throughout this conference concluded with George State Panthers and the New Mexico State Aggies just ahead of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.
A Peak Behind the Curtain
Here’s a little secret we at Helmet Bowl can see but the public cannot: Most weeks, in most conferences, the winners earn their point by just a handful of votes. Few conferences have voting in the three or four digit numbers. That means if you (yes, you who are reading this) get one of your classes to vote, the others on your dorm floor, your favorite alums, or a group of fans, your team will win. As word gets out, vote totals will climb. As we move deeper into Conference Championships, the stakes increase and the importance of winning each week grows. Just 64 teams will make the National Championship bracket. Ensure your team is among them!
Three Way Ties:
Southern Athletic: Rhodes Lynx, Trinity Tigers, and Sewanee Tigers tied in voting and split the point with each team receiving .25 points.
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic: Benedict Tigers, Kentucky State Thorobreds, and Morehouse Maroon Tigers each receive .25 points in Week 4.
USA South Athletic: The Ferrum Panthers and the LaGrange Panthers couldn’t outpace the Battling Bishops of NC Wesleyan. All receive .25 points.
Four Way Tie:
Great American: Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys, NWOSU Rangers, Oklahoma Baptist Bisons, Southeastern Savage Storm
Great Northwest Athletic: Just one team didn’t post a vote, the Central Washington Wildcats. The other four teams of this Conference tied: Azusa Pacific Cougars, Humboldt State Lumberjacks, Simon Fraser Clan, Western Oregon Wolves.
New England Small College Athletic: Bowdoin Polar Bears, Middlebury Panthers, Tufts Jumbos, Williams Ephs all received, ahem, one vote to tie. That means, of course, that the other six teams received not a single vote.
Question of the Week
Michigan has edged the rest of the Big 10 in three of the first four Conference contests. Ohio (Ohio! – they’ve got a cool commercial about why their helmet has no logo on it–but does that make it a cool helmet?) has tallied a point. But Maryland. MARYLAND! Why O why would Maryland not dominate the Big 10 within this conference of helmets of simple letters: W, P, N, N, M, I, R, Indiana with an I and a U? Yes, Michigan has the iconic yellow wing or whatever it is (it is no wolverine), Iowa has a cool Hawkeye, and Michigan State has a standard Spartan helmet. But Maryland has the X, the checkerboard, so much, so colorful. And the MARYLAND boldly across the back of the helmet just above the neck. The Terrapins should be walking away with the Big 10 and then challenge for the Helmet Bowl National Championship. Why not?
In the Pioneer Conference of the NAIA Division, the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers and the Idaho Coyotes are tied 2-2. This is a great contest as both these helmets show a certain coolness. Idaho has a simple, effective white outline of a howling coyote, while the Mountaineers go with a diagonal gold bar separating a white field from a dark blue. Your Commissioner is partial to the diagonal designs (See Taylor Trojans, Navy Midshipmen, St. Cloud State Huskies, and Rochester Yellow Jackets [sort of]).