About an hour ago Monte was dealt his first loss in the 2013 Mascot Challenge in a down to the minute race with Sparty the Spartan from Michigan State. The close 51% to 49% defeat not only gave him a mark in the loss column but it knocked him out of first place and stripped him of his #1 ranking. Definitely a less than ideal way to end a weekend in which our football team crushed Portland State in the much anticipated Homecoming game.
Once the standings refresh on the Capital One website, Monte should sit in either third or fourth place depending on the tiebreaker method used in the competition. Two mascots hold unblemished 5-0 records while four mascots (including Monte) hold 4-1 records. Two of the mascots with 4-1 records suffered their lone loss in the competition to Monte.
During the last hour of this week’s round, I watched a noble and frantic effort by Griz Nation to push Monte to yet another victory over another giant in the BCS landscape. In the end, it fell just a little short. My Twitter and Facebook feeds were overloaded with people answering this past week’s question of “If Monte started a band, what would he name it?” Besides my actual Facebook friends and Twitter followers aggressively pushing for a Monte victory, everyone else in Montana seemed to be doing the same. Just searching the #CapitalOneMonte hash tag on Twitter yielded hundreds and hundreds of tweets coming in by the second! I got a good laugh at reading everyone’s take on what Monte’s band should be named.
Of course anyone could see that the tweets marked with the #CapitalOneMonte hash tag vastly outnumbered the #CapitalOneSparty hash tags. Because of this, some might speculate that the final tally was not reflected correctly. However, standard voting is also a big part of the equation and the fact of the matter is that Michigan State has 50,000 students at its school while almost 10 million people live in the state. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that with a population size that large comes with it a distinct advantage. If a majority of those people are voting, it doesn’t matter how many tweets we are sending out… those sheer numbers will win every time.
But notice how I said if. We have absolutely no idea how many people are voting. The organizers of the competition elect to only give us percentages as opposed to concrete point totals. As I have said from the beginning, I have a tough time trusting internet voting formats. I have an even tougher time trusting internet voting formats where we can’t see the raw numbers. Judging by the comments on our social media outlets, many people have the same trust issues as me.
But in all honesty I have little to complain about. This competition has already given us great exposure, a nice check for our program, and a special experience for our Monte performer (he got to travel to New York City for photo/video shoots). Although I am not 100% convinced that we got a completely fair shake in this past round of the competition, I do realize that in the four prior rounds it is possible that we could have gotten the benefit of the doubt.
Life moves on in the 2013 Mascot Challenge and this week Monte is up against Baldwin the Eagle from Boston College. Just like during any other season in any other sport, you have to move on from defeat and come back with more tenacity and more hunger for the next opponent. I promise you that Monte and Griz Nation will come back stronger than ever. That Eagle better watch out. Don’t Blink.