The first round is complete in the Ken Behring (boo) and Jeff Smulyan (hiss) regions, and we have our first major upset of the tournament to report:
Jesus Montero (13) edged Darrell Bevell (4) by a 53-47 margin. 505 votes were cast.
Bevell led 51-49 in early voting but Montero inched past him for good after 3 PM, making the Seahawks coordinator the highest seed to lose on Day 1. With successor Brian Schottenheimer advancing to the second round, it’s a vindication of sorts for Bevell, now with the Detroit Lions. But also, the dream matchup of Seattle’s last two OC’s went poof.
Bevell was not available for comment after the matchup. Had he been, he would have shrugged it off anyway. He bubble screens out negativity, don’t you know.
The Ken Behring Region
Easy first-round wins for the top three seeds: Aaron Curry (1), Scott Spiezio (2) and Vin Baker (3) all advanced comfortably. Not so for Schottenheimer, who opened up an early 20-point lead but had to beat back a furious comeback late by Germain Ifedi to squeak by 53-47.
A major takeaway from the Behring region: former Huskies football coach Steve Sarkisian, a double-digit dark horse, may make a run. After easily poisoning Steve Hutchinson 81-19, he gets Baker next.
Round 2 shapes up like this:
1 Curry vs. 9 Ackley
13 Montero vs. 5 Schottenheimer
3 Baker vs. 11 Sarkisian
2 Spiezio vs. 10 Betancourt
The Jeff Smulyan Region
In the second quarter of the bracket, no close games. Eight strong winners, which has me suspecting the second round will be extremely contentious.
Percy Harvin (3) ran the kickoff back for a touchdown, crushing 14 seed Ken Griffey Jr. 97-3.
2 seed Chone Figgins dispatched Tim Ruskell 67-33. Many observers called Ruskell underseeded at 15, and he was unable to overcome the tough draw. Sometimes the committee makes inscrutable decisions. Anyway, Figgins will advance to meet Jeff Weaver in the second round, and then either Percy Harvin or Justin Smoak in the round of 16. It’s heating up.
Pete Carroll, one of several entrants whose presence drew criticism, was trounced by Wally Walker. Likewise, popular Seahawks Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett failed to advance. Junior didn’t stand a chance.
Let’s talk about controversial entries for a sec. “Who hated Junior? How can the most successful coach in Seahawks history be in the bracket? Why even include Sherman?” are things the committee members heard before and during the first round. We can explain. The thing is, to not put too fine a point on it, each of the Seattle greats has pissed off the fanbase from time to time. Griffey forced a trade in the middle of his prime. Carroll defies the analytics that scream at him to run the ball less frequently. Sherman lost his temper on the sideline and had unkind words on his way out of town to join a Seahawks rival.
I’m not saying fans should hate future — and present! — Hall of Famers for being feisty, or full of themselves, or confrontational. Those qualities are part of the reason the athletes are world-class. What I am saying is that right or wrong, people have been greatly annoyed at times by the biggest stars Seattle has ever seen. Which is why they’re in the bracket. For a short time, at least.
So, yeah, controversy aside, the Smulyan region was a snoozer Thursday, with no games closer than 16 points. However, it is loaded with possible tournament favorites. Would you bet against Tyrone Willingham or Figgins? Is there any way to handicap the Harvin-Justin Smoak matchup?
Round 2, on Tuesday, shapes up like this:
1 Willingham vs. 9 Bradley
4 Cirillo vs. 5 Walker
3 Harvin vs. 6 Smoak
2 Figgins vs. 10 Weaver
The next round of the competition, featuring Round of 64 matchups in the Clay Bennett and Howard Schultz regions, begins at noon PDT today.
Keep voting with that voting finger.