It is now time for the third annual mascot bracket. Tired of losing every year with my own basketball knowledge, I decided to divise a very scientific method of picking the NCAA tournament. It all revolves around this question:
Which mascot would win in a fight? For schools that have different nicknames than mascots, I defer to the meaning of the nickname. For example, last year I determined that a Blue Devil is not a supernatural being. The Blue Devils were a fighting squadron from World War I. With nicknames that are ambiguous – especially about whether or not they are armed, I might defer to the logo or mascot.
Last year, I entered the Mascot Bracket into a yahoo public group. There were about 30 entries, including the picks of Joe Lunardi, President Barack Obama, My three-year-old daughter, all the top seeds, and me. The Mascot Bracket won, and finished in the 84th percentile. Also, all mascots are treated as individuals unless they are specifically plural.
There are a few rules to follow:
- Inanimate objects, e.g. colors and plants, always lose to animate objects.
- Predators beat non-predators and unarmed humans.
- Humans beat non-predators.
- Humans with weapons beat predators.
- Humans with weapons beat humans without weapons.
- Humans with superior weapons/fighter training win.
- Supernatural beings and killer weather systems are tough to beat.
- Ties go to the high seed.
- Prepositions lose to everything.
Alabama State Hornets def. UT San Antonio Road Runners. The hornet can sting multiple times. The road runner has no discernable offense. It might take awhile, but the hornet wins. Things are looking good for the Hornets, who have the luck of taking on a plant next.
Alabama-Birmingham Blazers def. Clemson Tigers. I thought this would be tougher, expecting that, like the former Portland basketball team, the blazers was short for trailblazers. I was wrong. Apparantly, the Blazers are a bad-ass dragon with blazing fire out its mouth. They are going to be tough to beat.Southern California Trojans def. Virginia Commonwealth Rams. Armed human over animal (Rule 4).
Arkansas Little Rock Trojans def. North Carolina Ashville Bulldogs. A Trojan will beat a bulldog even easier than he would beat a Ram.
(16) Alabama State Hornets def. (1) Ohio State Buckeyes. The Ohio State University kills me every year. The 16-seed hornet takes out the buckeye, as per Rule #1.
(8) George Mason Patriots def. Villanova Wildcats. Armed human shoots the wildcat.
(12) UAB Blazers def. (5) West Virginia Mountaineers. Usually the armed man defeats the predatory animal. But usually the predatory animal isn’t a GIANT FIRE BREATHING DRAGON!!! I’ve seen Harry Potter, and no hillbilly with a shotgun is going to take out an Hungarian Horntail.
(13) Princeton Tigers def. Kentucky Wildcats. A big mean, predatory cat devours the much smaller, mean, predatory cat.
(3) Syracuse Orange def. Indiana State Sycamores. Seriously, when I saw this draw I laughed out loud. Every year Syracuse is an early exit from the Mascot Bracket. They finally found a matchup they could win. The color versus the tree would undoubtedly be the least entertaining of all of these matchups. This has to defer to RULE #8 – ties go to the higher seed.
(6) Xavier Musketeers def. (11) Marquette Golden Eagles. Muskets aren’t the most accurate gun ever invented, but all it would take is one shot, unless of course the Golden Eagle is made of actual gold. But then it wouldn’t really be able to mount much of an offense
(7) Washington Huskies def. (10) Georgia Bulldogs. In a (excuse the pun) dog-eat-dog matchup, I’d have to go with the Husky. And this youtube video proves it. It is of an actual bulldog and a husky pit against each other in fierce competition. In the end, the Husky clearly comes out on top (just watch it).
(2) North Carolina Tar Heels def. (15) Long Island Blackbirds. The Tar Heel name is the stuff of legend, but according to the UNC website, it started during the Civil War and refers either to the North Carolina soldiers’ stubborn ability to stand and fight, as if they had tar on their heels; or was a slur used to make fun of the poor and dirty soldiers that made tar. For the purposes of the Mascot Bracket, I’m going with civil war soldier.
(8) George Mason Patriots def. Alabama State Hornets. No weapon needed, just a hand or rolled up copy of “Common Sense”
(12) UAB Blazers def. Princeton Tigers. “Princeton yells for Tigers, and Wisonsin for Varsity,” but the Blazers would eat roast cat.(6) Xavier Musketeers def. Syracuse Orange. RULE #1
(2) North Carolina Tar Heels def. Huskies. RULE #4
Blazers def. Patriots
Tar Heels def. Musketeers RULE #6
Tar Heels def. Blazers. Okay, so you might be asking, would a civil war soldier be able to beat a dragon? Would a Tar Heel be able to do what a Mountaineer, Tiger, and Patriot failed to do? Well, the Tar Heel just shot a Musketeer and a Huskie without a challenge. The Dragon has been shot at by two different people and taken some nasty tiger bites. I’m saying the dragon is more weakened by the previous three rounds than the tar heel. If you think I’m wrong, make your own mascot bracket. Besides, its RULE #4.
(1) Kansas Jayhawks def. (16) Boston Terriers. The Jayhawks present quite a problem. The mascot itself resembles foghorn leghorn. According to some research, it is actually supposed to be a cross between a Blue Jay (because its annoying) and a Sparrow Hawk (because it is a stealthy hunter). If you go by this, then it is not particularly intimidating. Granted, neither is a boston terrier, but I’d still pick the terrier over an annoying bird. However, I have a tradition of going back to the meaning of the mascot. According to the school website, the Jayhawk refered to pioneers in Kansas that bugged other pioneers, notably from Nebraska. As Kansas moved toward statehood, there was quite a public debate over whether Kansas would be a free or a slave state. Ruffians on both sides of this battle were dubbed “Jayhawkers” and were known to rob, vandalize, sack, set fire to, and steal horses from the other side. In time, the Jayhawks referred mainly to the free-staters. So, that is a very long-winded way to determine that the true meaning of Jayhawk is not a stupid little bird, but a 1850s thug that was against slavery. In other words, RULE #4.
(8) Illinois Fighting Illini def. (9) UNLV Runnin’ Rebels . This is another tough one. Neither the Rebel nor the Illini is intrinsically armed. the Rebel seems to be a Civil War era rebel, but the school was really called the rebels because they rebelled against the University of Nevada. I’m going with the Illini because of the adjective. In the Mascot Bracket, it helps to fight instead of run.
(5) Vanderbilt Commodores def. (12) Richmond Spiders. Unless the Commodore has a severe case of arachnophobia.
(13) Morehead State Eagles def. (4) Louisville Cardinals. RULE #2
(3) Purdue Boilermakers def. (14) St. Peter’s Peacocks. Seriously, its a big dude with a hammer against a non-flight bird. It’s a pretty gruesome image.
(11) USC Trojans def. (6) Georgetown Hoyas. What’s a hoya? Well, that is a question that Georgetown opponents have been chanting for decades. Wikipedia gives us the answer – it appears to have come from a chant, “Roxa Hoya,” which is loosely translated from Latin to “such rocks.” Hoya is basically Latin for “Such as.” Long story short: Prepositions lose.
(10) Florida State Seminoles def. (7) Texas A&M Aggies. You would think an Aggie is someone involved in agriculture. Look up Texas A & M Aggie. Apparantly their mascot is a collie. Lassie doesn’t stand a chance against the guy with the flaming spear riding a horse.
(2) Notre Dame Fighting Irish def. (15) Akron Zips. For some reason the Zips use a kangaroo as their mascot. This boxing kangaroo notwithstanding, I think a good drunken Irishman would whip a kangaroo.
(1) Kansas Jayhawks def. (9) Illinois Fighting Illini
(5) Vanderbilt Commodores def. (13) Morehead St. Eagles
(11) USC Trojans def. (3) Purdue Boilermakers. The Trojans have swords and armor and stuff. The Boilermaker has a hammer.
Commodores def. Jayhawks. A Commodore is a naval officer, a jayhawk is some rabble rouser with a pitchfork.
Seminoles def. Trojans. I really didn’t know who would win this one, so I did a little more searching. The first google image of a seminole is a guy with a huge shotgun. Screw the flaming spear, Seminoles win big.
Seminoles def. Commodores. Again, this is a really tough one. I think the Seminole would be able to beat the naval officer, because most officers are older and have seen their battles in years past.
(16) Arkansas Little Rock Trojans def. (1) Pittsburgh Panthers. Here’s another big upset. I was expecting the Buckeyes to go down in the first round. I’m not too crazy about losing the Panthers.
(9) Old Dominion Monarchs def. (8) Butler Bulldogs. I’m assuming that a monarch would have some access to a weapon of some kind, but if you go by the mascot they use, a lion, that wins too.
(12) Utah State Aggies def. (5) Kansas State Wildcats. Whether the Utah State Aggie is a farmer or the bull on the left, it would beat a wildcat. Wildcats are really not that big.
(13) Belmont Bruins def. (4) Wisconsin Badgers. A badger is a mean little bastard, but a bruin is a bear. A bear. This little part of the bracket is all upsets.
(3) BYU Cougars def. (14) Wofford Terriers. If Wofford were the pit bull terriers, it might be interesting. They’re not. They are boston terriers. A nice snack for a cougar.
(6) St. John’s Red Storm def. (11) Gonzaga Bulldogs. Another dog goes down. I suppose by drowning, or maybe lightning strike. The fact that the Storm is red doesn’t add to its ferocity, but most dogs are total cowards in storms. I know mine is.
(10) Michigan State Spartans def. (7) UCLA Bruins. This is something right out of a Charlton Heston movie. It would be a great fight, but according to RULE #4, Sparty wins.
(15) UC Santa Barbara Gauchos def. (2) Florida Gators. Much like the last matchup, this might be fun to watch, that is, until the Gaucho pulls out his six-shooter.
(16) Ark-LR Trojans def. ODU Monarchs. The ODU Monarch is a lion. The Trojan against the Lion would be an intersting fight, but I’m going with RULE #4. (I’m not expecting many points out of this part of the bracket).
(13) Belmont Bruins def. (12) Utah State Aggies. That bull looks pretty tough, but not up against a bear.
(6) St. John’s Red Storm def. (3) BYU Cougars. RULE #7.
Trojans def. Bruins
Red Storm def. Bruins (tough day for Bruins)
Red Storm def. Trojans.
(1) Duke Blue Devils def. (16) Hampton Pirates. Duke was named for a French squadron in World War I, and if you are thinking, “How tough can they be if they were French?” then you are betraying your ignorance about world history. The French were long known as one of the greatest armies of the world – and they were especially tough during World War I.
(9) Tennessee Volunteers def. (9) Michigan Wolverines. RULE #4/
(12) Memphis Tigers def. (5) Arizona Wildcat. The second matchup between a Tiger and a Wildcat. Again, the tigers win.
(13) Oakland Grizzlies def. (4) Texas Longhorns. Again, Grizzlies are big, bad bears. Not sure many land mammals could take out a Grizzlie, except Baxter from Anhorman.
(14) Bucknell Bison def. (3) UConn Huskies. A bison would trample a huskie.
(11) Missouri Tiger def. (6) Cininnati Bearcat. A bearcat vs a badger would be a tough call. A bearcat vs a tiger is not.
(7) Temple Owls def. (10) Penn State Nittany Lions. A Nittany Lion is really just a wildcat from Pennsylvannia. It isn’t real big or vicious, and I think an owl would wear it down.
(2) San Diego State Aztecs def. (15) Northern Colorado Bears. The armed human defeats the bear.
(1) Duke Blue Devils def. (9) Tennessee Volunteers. Volunteers were named after fighters in the war of 1812. This is RULE #6.
(13) Oakland Grizzlies def. (12) Memphis Tigers. This might the best matchup of the entire tournament. My first instinct is to go with the bear, but a tiger is a bad dude. Not sure who to pick, I went to the “expert” at Wild Animal Fight Club. The writer seemed to know more about animals than me, and he picked the Tiger. I’ll go with Memphis.
(11) Missouri Tigers def. (14) Bucknell Bisons. The Bison has no offense. The tiger naturally takes down animals like yaks and elk.
(2) San Diego State Aztecs def. (7) Temple Owls. RULE #4.
Blue Devils shoot the Tigers
Tigers def. Aztecs. This looks like a RULE #4, but the Aztec weapons were almost all hand held. I don’t like the chances of any man versus a Tiger unless he has gun powder, or at least a projectile of some kind.
Blue Devils shoot Tigers.
Duke Blue Devils def. UNC Tar Heels
St. John’s Red Storm def. Florida State Seminoles
St. John’s def. Duke
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5 responses to “The 2011 Mascot Bracket”
I believe that the Buckeye is a poisonous nut, and therefore would win over anyone else.
Also, while the live mascot of Texas A&M is a collie, the actual mascot is the Aggie, someone involved in agriculture. Still loses to the armed Seminole, but at least has a fighting chance. 🙂 And actually, another mascot used often is Ol’ Sarge, an US Army soldier, who would win over the Seminole.
Love your blog! I play mascot vs. mascot every year (and usually am on the bottom of my pool) but I play by my own crazy rules (humans never win over predators, with or without a weapon) but my rules are the same as your Rules #1, 2, and 7. I’m going to try it all your way this year. Good luck in your pool!!
a nittany lion is actually a mountain lion or cougar from when they still roamed the east coast, so a little bigger than a wildcat. there was an actual mountain lion in the state college area that terrorized the local homes and farms back in the day; his stuffed cadaver is on display in the foyer of the library.
slightly bigger than a wildcat. you may want to revise your pick of it losing to an owl. even if the owl strikes the first few blows, the lion will get pissed off enough and rip it to shreds, i believe.
Although the Fighting Illini have traditionally used the Native American mascot, this ended in 2007. The NCAA allowed them to retain the name Fighting Illini because they were able to show that the term predated the Native American mascot and was first used to honor fallen soldiers in WWI. If this interpretation is used (akin to the Blue Devils) then that ups their potency considerably.
What happened to your analysis on the bottom of the SE bracket? Spartans vs. Gauchos? That’s a tough one. I’m going with a Spartan with superior training over a cowboy with better technology. I’d also put an intelligent human over a Red Storm. All told humanity has lived through more storms than storms have taken out humans. I think I have problems with rule #7 more broadly, especially in regard to intangible objects such as the Red Storm. How was a mythical dragon so easily overcome but a storm was not? A survivability rule would probably be appropriate. If a mascot is largely intangible, like a storm, can it kill its opponent in 24 hours time? Otherwise it is considered dissipated and defeated.
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