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Facebook Photo Face-off: Round One

Dec 19, 2012, 2:25 PM EST

If you’re a fan of Notre Dame Football on Facebook (shameless plug), you’ve probably seen the photo face-off competition that began on Tuesday afternoon.

On Monday, a few of us on the Fighting Irish Digital Media team began with a group of about 60 images. We cut down to 32, and then seeded them based on which we thought were best among the bunch. Criteria included not only the awesomeness of the photo, but the context of the game or moment it was taken.

Over the next several days, photos from university photographers Matt Cashore and Barbara Johnston, and Lighthouse Imaging’s Mike Bennett will be matched up head-to-head on the ND Football Facebook page to determine the single best photo of the 2012 season.

While we spent time determining seeds, in hindsight, we should have concentrated a little more on how the seeding affected potential second round match-ups. Every good NCAA selection committee member knows to avoid setting up a heavyweight battle like Duke-UNC in the first weekend of games. Yet as we advance to the second round, we’ve got some of our favorite photos already paired against one another (ex. #10 captains at Oklahoma vs. #7 Manti Te’o‘s Senior Day introduction).

Anyway, with the first round almost in the books, let’s take a look back at some of the match-ups. Just as there is every March during NCAA tournament time, there were a few surprising upsets.

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In the always interesting 16 vs. 17 bout, Carlo Calabrese‘s Michigan celebration easily trumped the Senior Day Stonehenge victory party, when Irish fans rejoiced in the losses of #1 Kansas Sate and #2 Oregon – outcomes that helped propel #3 Notre Dame to the nation’s top ranking.

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In a Manti vs. Manti matchup, it was the touching moment featuring the senior linebacker’s Michigan pep rally speech (#21) that topped his final walk to Notre Dame Stadium on Senior Day (#12).

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Later, in an upset that shocked some of us in FIDM, Te’o’s interception celebration (#20) defeated the 13th-seeded photo of Louis Nix crushing Purdue quarterback Robert Marve (all while being held by an offensive lineman).

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Trophies aren’t the only accolades that Manti is sweeping up this winter. He’s also earned several berths in our round of 16 for the photo face-off. Matched against the #15 image of Zack Martin celebrating in the Shamrock Series, the #18 shot of Te’o embracing his parents of Senior Day advanced to the second round.

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In every great NCAA basketball tournament, there’s a shocking upset (see #15 Norfolk State over #2 Missouri last season). So, of course, our photo face-off also saw one of the big guys fall to an underdog. The #6 seed Grace Hall #1 sign lost to the #27 shot of Manti Te’o sacking Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones.

There have certainly been a few unexpected outcomes, probably more than we had expected.

Maybe we’re bad at seeding.

Maybe we have a different eye for photography.

Or maybe everyone is just rooting for the “Cinderella stories.”

But hey, this has been a fun little journey so far. We appreciate all the votes and positive feedback everyone has shared on Facebook. Look for the second round to begin on Thursday afternoon.

P.S. Just tallied my voting. I finished 14-2. Only “losses” were #19 (Michigan State celebration) and #24 (Stanford celebration). What can I say? I like post-game celebrations.

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