Well, Day 1 of the tournament is in the books, and there wasn't much excitement out of the Pad Level Region. All the higher seeds took down their inferior counterpart... until late last night. In a sudden influx of votes, Joseph Fauria upset Larry Warford by a margin of 55% to 45%. Late into the night, this was a back-and-forth battle, with the two being exactly tied several times with more than 300 votes tallied. But then Fauria supporters flooded the polls and gave him a lead he would not forfeit again. Sorry, Alex Reno.
The Things of that Nature Region should provide a little more drama than the Pad Level Region. This region is a bit deeper in its talent and also includes the little-known Jermelle Cudjo, who may just take down this whole darn thing. But that sort of thing isn't up to me. It's up to you. Do your part and vote.
1 Ezekiel Ansah vs. 16 Travis Swanson
I decided to go with Ezekiel rather than "Ziggy" Ansah because that is how he is listed on the official Detroit Lions roster. (For the conspiracy theorists: Dwight "Bill" Bentley is listed as "Bill Bentley." I'm not committing voter fraud here. WILL EVERYONE STOP ACCUSING ME OF VOTER FRAUD??)
Anyway, Ezekiel Ansah is a very versatile name. Ezekiel has the religious history which pleases the conservative right, and Ansah is ripe for endless puns for the stand-up comedian alter ego in all of us (you should just try it!). Travis Swanson is as bland as the microwavable dinners that share his name. An argument can be made for being related to the deity that is Ron Swanson, but that's a stretch.
8 Andrew Peacock vs. 9 Rashean Mathis
I don't have a strong feeling one way or the other in this matchup. Andrew Peacock doesn't bring much with his first name, but Peacock is a solid surname. Neither Rashean nor Mathis blows me away, but both names defy conventionality. I give the slight edge to Rashean because I like the strong "sh" and "th" sounds that hold both names together. But this will be a shootout.
5 Ryan Broyles vs. 12 Rodney Austin
I have to imagine the pity factor will play in heavily for this matchup. Ryan Broyles has been a sad story since he entered the NFL, and if he could make it deep in this tournament, it would make for a touching piece that would probably be featured on Outside the Lines. His name, while not extraordinary, features back-to-back "Y" sounds that make for an even-more-endearing personality. Rodney Austin is a pretty good name for a 12 seed, but the two names seem to be at odds with each other. There's no chemistry there, and that will be his downfall.
4 Riley Reiff vs. 13 Matt Prater
This matchup has the makings of a blowout. Riley Reiff is probably a bit underseeded here. Again we have a very pun-able last name (see my pick 'em name of "Reiff-er Madness" in 2012). In addition to that, Riley is just a fun name to say. Isn't that right, Matthew Stafford?
I don't know what to say about the name Matt Prater that hasn't been said about white bread, plain yogurt and C-SPAN.
6 Nevin Lawson vs. 11 Dan Orlovsky
Another player who has a case for underseeding is Nevin Lawson. That name commands respect. If I'm ever in legal trouble, I will search high and low for the offices of "Nevin Nevin & Lawson."
Dan Orlovsky will have to overcome his on-field reputation to make a run at Lawson. As tall of a mountain that is to climb, I think Orlovsky has an argument. While Dan offers little, Orlovsky is a very pleasant-sounding last name. I like the way my tongue unfurls like a red carpet while saying his name. Unfortunately, I looked up the name in the dictionary, and it means "an extreme lack of awareness of one's surroundings."
3 Taylor Boggs vs. 14 Don Carey
Boggs vs. Carey. There is no case to be made. BOGGS. EVERY. DAY.
7 George Winn vs. 10 Larry Webster
This could very well be another 7 vs. 10 upset that we saw in the first round. George "All I do is" Winn doesn't really have anything more than the pun factor and the fact that his name is literally Winn! Larry Webster, while not a flashy name, is well-balanced with a bit of intrigue in Webster. I have a hard time saying his name without conjuring my inner-Rob Schneider (a deeply disturbed part of me): "The Web-ster! Makin' Webs!" You know what? Please just vote for Winn.
2 Jermelle Cudjo vs. 15 Jason Jones
Jermelle Cudjo, a player who signed a futures deal with the Lions in January, was an unknown before I created the bracket. But as soon as I saw his name, I knew he was destined for greatness. I am a huge fan of the double L, and how can you argue with a last name that is synonymous with a ravenous dog?
Jason Jones is a nice, compact, alliterative name. It's also the name of one of the better Daily Show correspondents. It's a name that is better than the sum of its parts, and it's a name that may have had a chance at an early round upset. But not against Jermelle Cudjo.