Welcome to the part of the #GreatestGatorEver tournament where things really start to get interesting.
For those who are just catching wind of the tournament, a quick explanation of how it works. Created with the goal of deciding the greatest Florida Gator athlete of all time, once and for all, this 256 player field (comprised of athletes from all Gators sports) was divided up into 16 Regionals of 16 players; Regional winners will meet in the Sweet 16. The idea is to essentially create a new 16 player bracket with all the Regional winners; thus, the winner of the 1 Regional will face the 16 Regional winner, the winners of the 8 and 9 Regionals will square off, and so on. So basically, it works like March Madness, except with four times as many teams and Regionals. As for who “wins” each matchup, I post polls on twitter (follow @AllKindsWeather to participate in the polling) with the two participants of each matchup and whoever receives the most votes advances to the next round. Simple, right?
The first two rounds of the 256 member tournament are complete. That brings us to the Round of 64, aka the Regional semifinals. For the most part, chalk has held, although in a few instances voters have gone rogue and Cinderellas have arisen; of the 64 Regional semifinalists, four were seeded #8 or lower in their own Regionals, meaning they’ve pulled off at least one mammoth upset to get to this point. The full bracket is below, but for your reference, the four are: 1 Regional (10)Kennedy Baker (gymnastics), 16 Regional (8)Marissa King (gymnastics), 8 Regional (13)LaMical Perine (football) and 7 Regional (15)Johnny Townsend (football).
But in any case, chalk pretty much holding means that we’ve arrived at the point of the tournament where almost every matchup is going to be intense and closely contested, while the mismatch-fueled blowouts are going to start decreasing in frequency. Of course, nobody was in this tournament for simply being a decent athlete. Everybody in the field of 256 was elite at what he or she did for that Gator logo. Now that the field is trimmed down to 64, though, we’re about to begin seeing the most elite of the elite go head to head for votes from Gator fans.
And thus, with the heating up of the tournament comes a slight protocol change. Whereas the voting polls on twitter were open for 24 hours for the first two rounds, that window will expand to 48 hours for each poll for both the Round of 64 and the Round of 32 (Regional finals) before expanding further for the Sweet 16 and beyond… but we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.
Take a look at the brackets below, and get ready for the fun. Voting resumes tomorrow, Monday, June 29th, with the 1 Regional semifinals.
My apologies for how WordPress butchered the quality of the image (and I attempted to upload it four different times in three different ways), but here’s a look at the complete, 256 player bracket for a more visual idea of the late stage matchups can look like.