Well, the first week of March Madness has come and gone with first, second, and third round games and we are already whittled down to the Sweet Sixteen. The fifth annual Outback Steakhouse bracket contest has record involvement once again as 78 people signed up to join in the fun this year. And while I have not had much success with my picks, a lot of the entrants have.
The first day of action on Thursday started off not so well for most of the people in the bracket when local fan-favorite Ohio State was upset in the first game. However, three people (Greg Rhoads, Roger Bingham, and Darren Mahan) each correctly picked 15 of the 16 games on the day correctly to stand in a tie for first place. Since I can only pick one winner of the Bloomin’ Onion for each day, I broke the tie and will give Darren the first certificate because he correctly picked 15 straight after missing the Ohio State game AND he has been in first place at the end of each of the first four days.
By the end of the second day on Friday, Darren found himself alone at the top of the standings as he went 13-for-16 to correctly pick 28 of the first 32 games. Greg, Roger, and defending contest champion Patrick Neville were all just 10 points behind as they went 27-for-32 over the two days. However, the winner of the Bloomin’ Onion for the second day was Brad Graley. Brad correctly picked 15 of the 16 games on Friday with his only miss being the Mercer upset of Duke. And only 3.3 percent of the entrants nationally took that one!
On Saturday, five people (Ryan Halley, Joe Rinehart, Wade Foley, Troy Current, and Steve Miller) correctly picked seven of the eight games. I broke the tie for this day by going with the person with the most possible points remaining to be scored and so that gives Ryan the certificate for the day.
On Sunday, the Bloomin’ Onion certificate goes to George Hartz, who correctly picked six of the eight games and also finished with the highest total for the two days by being the only person to correctly pick 12 of the 16 winners. It also helped him climb into a tie for fifth place…just 30 points out of the lead that Darren continues to have over the rest of the field with Greg just 10 points behind.
If my addition is correct, there were 16 different champions picked by the people in the contest this year. Unfortunately, after the first four days of games, 14 people have already had their picks eliminated. Florida was picked by the most people (23), while Michigan State was second with 18 people choosing them. Defending champion Louisville was also picked by seven people.
The action will get back under way this Thursday with more Bloomin’ Onions to be awarded on the way to the grand prize of the $20 gift certificate to Outback and even more importantly bragging rights. Good luck!