Round 1: 31 / 32 correct w/ 3 perfect brackets
Round 2: 13 / 16 correct w/ 2 perfect brackets
Overall: 44 / 48 = 91.67%

I lost some steam on toss-up matchups, but overall feel pretty good with my predictions thus far. Looking ahead, I think another 2 or 3 perfect brackets are in store with the security toss-up in The Pressers being my most likely miss. Either way, really glad Torque has put this challenge out again. I can’t imagine a theme madness being nearly as engaging activating.

Who are you picking to make it to the next round?

The Pressers

(W) WP Maintenance Mode vs Simple Page Ordering

I guessed wrong on the coin flip between Post Types Order vs Simple Page Ordering. But with two security plugins facing off in the bottom half of the Pressers bracket, it’s going to take something special to secure a spot in the semi-finals. The bulk of plugins to make Round 3 have robust functionality focused on a feature space core has generally left untapped. So in this match-up, I’m going with the one which feels less likely to be consumed into core in the near future.

Prediction: Maintenance Mode maintains it’s winning streak

iThemes Security vs (W) Wordfence

The initial security plugins just codified best practices for a WordPress installation. As many of these features, like stronger passwords, have made their way into the core of WordPress, they have grown the leading edge of best practices to help keep your site secure and performant. I’m happy to see that growth continue in both iThemes Security and Wordfence, but only one can move on to Round 3. While iThemes has had the bigger % in their first two round wins, I feel like Wordfence has the moxy to move on. They certainly have an extensive set of learning resources which everyone should spend a few minutes familiarizing themselves with whether you use the fence or not.

Prediction: A little suspense, but Wordfence holds on for victory.

 

The Wordees

WP Mail SMTP vs (W) WP Smush

I did not pick either of these plugins to make Round 3, and still won’t be against whichever Automattic plugin wins out in the bottom of the bracket. Further, when I think about this match-up in abstract – supporting external mail servers vs increasing performance of your site – I could see real reasons why both will win. But I won’t be mailing in this toss-up, gotta make a pick.

Prediction: Smushing the competition, WP Smush moves on.

(W) WooCommerce vs Akismet

Both of these have name-recognition going for them, but only has had dominating victories in the first two rounds. Akismet keeps your site spam free, but Woo helps your website make MONEY.

Prediction: Knock, knock… Guess WOO!

 

The Extenders

(W) ACF vs Ninja Forms

Ninja forms is a beautiful forms engine. ACF can do that and SO much more. I can’t say it any better than Ben:

Prediction: Advanced Custom Fields another victory!

bbPress vs (W) Yoast SEO

I really wanted MailPoet to go far in this #pluginmadness, but it was not to be. It was probably a victim of the comparatively narrow niche that newsletters fit – one which forums are not too distant cousins of. That’s the rationale for why I think Yoast will win the match, more than that I necessarily think Yoast is optimized to win the tournament.

Prediction: Don’t roast Yoast just yet, it’s gonna win Round 3.

 

The Installers

(W) Jetpack vs WP-Optimize

Too much name recognition and discrete pieces of functionality in Jetpack for WP-Optimize to pull out the victory.

Prediction: Jetpack launches into the next round

(W) The Events Calendar vs Tiny MCE Advanced

TinyMCE is building momentum in it’s two victories, whereas TEC struggled with a close victory over T3 Total Cache. That being said, I think TEC has enough to get thru to the next Round. Does it have enough to take down Jetpack if that is the case? Doubtful.

Prediction: Rock on TEC. For now….