Mule Madness - Bracketology
Bracketology Reports provided by Mike Bruckner, vice president of public relations.
March 14, 2013
And down the stretch they come. It's the heart of March Madness. The "real" March Madness and Selection Sunday is March 17, but MULE MADNESS is deep into its campaign. The second rankings are out and it appears to be a two team race, but any one of five teams can still win the coveted title.
Top Seeds: The cross country and track teams have surged into the lead, but the football team engineered a strong "two-minute drill" and have joined the battle. The xc/track teams have a 25.8 participation rate (with bonuses figured in), while the football team has rallied to a 25.5 percentage rate.
The field hockey and golf teams are in contention, sitting third with 24.1%. The baseball and softball teams are still in the mix at 23.7% with the hoopsters are in fifth at 22.7%. It looks like it could be neck-and-neck, down to the wire.
The football team has remained consistent. It came in ranked third, held its position in the March 8 rankings and stands second in the March 15 poll. Can they move up one more spot? The gridiron guys remain the largest question mark - can they rally the troops and make a strong run? They've been through the gauntlet before. They've gone to the NCAA playoffs and know what it takes to win.
Are the track teams pacing themselves and still have a finishing kick, or they are just the rabbit off to the early lead? The bracketologist thinks it will be a two-team race before all is said and done.
The field hockey and golf teams are solidly in third place. At 23.7%, a slip to fourth or fifth appears unlikely, but a strong finish by the baseball/softball contingent or the hoopsters could "stick it" to the field hockey team. If I were to "hazard a guess," the golf team will come through and keep the field hockey/golf partnership in third.
Men's and women's lacrosse and the wrestling team are in sixth place, with the soccer teams seventh, and the volleyball and tennis teams eighth.
The Sleepers: At the start of the campaign, the Swami had the cross country and track teams as the sleepers. They were ranked fourth in percentage giving, and they are making the Swami look great. I am sticking with these teams as my sleeper pick. Will the track teams hurdle the opposition, vault ahead and toss aside the competition?
Upset Alert: The soccer teams were the upset alert. They continue to make the bracketologist look bad. The early prediction was that the soccer teams would be the ones to watch out for. Veteran coaches. Successful programs. Strong nucleus to build on. So far, they are still passing the ball around the perimeter and remain in seventh place. They need to make a move toward the net.
Longshot: The longshot pick before MULE MADNESS started were the two tennis teams and the volleyball team, which are paired together. They started out dead last in eighth place; they climbed to sixth and have slid back to eighth place. Another bad pick by the Swami. So far, predicting the top three and the sleeper has been good, but after that it's been downhill. A top four finish was my prediction for tennis/volleyball, but now I don't think they can get higher than fifth. Even then, which one of the other programs will fall by the wayside?
Overview: As mentioned in the crystal ball report, the participation rate for former athletes had been hovering around 12 percent. The MULE MADNESS campaign has already pushed that to 16.2% with more than 780 former Mules making a gift in 2012-13. With the bonuses, Five teams are over 20 percent. The Swami says THANK YOU! The campaign is already a success, but with more than 4800 former Mule athletes out there, the teams have a lot of work to do.
Will any team hit the 30 percent mark? Football has 156 donors. Can it hit 200? Will every team get 100 participants? Right now, the tennis and volleyball teams are at 58 participants and an 14.5% rate. Lots of work to do here.
Final thought: Stay tuned. Mule Madness Bracketology and March Madness will return on a regular basis..and might even include a real March Madness prediction next time.