Mule Madness - Bracketology
Bracketology Reports provided by Mike Bruckner, vice president of public relations.
Mule Madness – The Early Returns
March 8, 2013
The first rankings are out and MULE MADNESS is off to a pretty exciting start. We’ve seen good results across the board, but no team has posted an insurmountable lead and no team(s) look invincible. In fact, by percentage, even the cellar-dwellers – the men’s/women’s lacrosse teams and the wrestling teams – still have a shot to take the crown. They are less than 60 donors behind first place.
As mentioned in the crystal ball report, the participation rate for former athletes has been hovering around 12 percent. The MULE MADNESS campaign has already pushed that to 14.6% with more than 705 former Mules making a gift in 2012-13.
Top Seeds: Baseball and softball came in as the top seed with more than a 15% combined giving rate. The group has fared well, but have slipped into second place at 18.8%. The men’s and women’s basketball teams are the first teams to go over the 19 percent mark. Is it because they were in-season as the campaign was launched, or do these two programs have the stamina to stay on top? The hoopsters are the early favorites, out of the gate quickly. Is that the in-season advantage and can they stay the course? Old timers remember John Havlicek. Who is the Mule who will take on the role of “sixth man (or woman)?”
Football came in ranked third and has held that position. The question here is “the gridiron gang has quantity, but can they produce percentage-wise?” The crystal ball says that a strong push from a few key alums can make the pigskin faithful hard to beat. But, right now it looks like everything goes through the hoopsters, the current team(s) to beat.
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 have slipped to fifth. I am sticking with these teams as my sleeper pick because, as I said before, this is a close-knit group and if they can get some groundswell support from all facets – throwers, jumpers, sprinters and distance runners – this is a force to be reckoned with.
Upset Alert: So far the upset alert has faltered. I predicted that the soccer teams would be the ones to watch out for. Veteran coaches. Successful programs. Strong nucleus to build on. So far, it’s just not happening. They are floundering in seventh place.
Longshot: The longshot pick before MULE MADNESS started was the two tennis teams and the volleyball team, which are paired together. Coaches Keckler and Linda Andrews remain in good contact with many of their alums and Jeff Schmitt needs to keep up with those two. They started out dead last in eighth place, and have already climbed to sixth. A top four finish is my prediction, but which one of the other programs will fall by the wayside?
Coaches Corner: Coach Rohn continues to “talk it up” to his alumni. Now that the season is over, Coach McClary must put on a full court press; Coach Donnelly might have to blitz and pull a few end arounds to stay in the title hunt. Newcomers, wrestling coach Brian Burzynski and baseball coach Tod Gross, need to up the ante with their alums.
Final thought: We have not mentioned field hockey and golf, but this contingent is rock solid in fourth place. Are they staying under the radar and waiting for a late move? Or are they vulnerable to get caught from behind? Stay tuned. Mule Madness Bracketology and March Madness will return on a regular basis.