The sixth annual Mascot Bracket has a special interactive addition. This year, you can submit your own picks. Who do you think would win in a fight? The First Annual Readers’ Choice bracket was also submitted into the Free Yahoo Tournament Pick ‘Em Contest. The Readers have a lot of respect for the tenacity of the woleverine, and little respect for 19th century arms. The Michigan Wolverines came out on top over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
- When determining the winner, origins of the nickname are of primary importance (see Blue Devils and Jayhawks). Current official logos are consulted to find out needed details, such as whether or not the mascot is armed; and for disambiguation, such as which type of Aggie?
- 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. There can be exceptions if the weapon is non-gunpowder, and the animal is particularly big and/or fierce.
- Humans with weapons beat humans without weapons.
- Humans with superior technology/weapons/training win.
- Supernatural beings and killer weather systems defeat human warriors.
- Many animals, especially birds and fish, can survive devastating storms.
- If the schools have the same mascot, then the higher seed wins.
- Prepositions lose to everything. (See explanation of What’s a Hoya)
- Don’t turn your back on bears.
1 Florida Gators def. 16 Albany Great Danes or Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers. This year, instead of treating the play-in games (and yes, NCAA, they are play-in games) as a separate round, I’m throwing all three mascots into the ring to see which one will emerge. Before doing any research, I was very hopeful that the mountaineer didn’t have a gun. It looks like the Mountaineer has two tickets to the gun show, but no actual gun. Hoping that the gun show loop holes are closed, and feeling bad for the Fighting Scoobies, but the gators emerge. 8 Colorado Buffaloes def. 9 Pittsburgh Panthers. The last time a we saw the Panthers versus Buffalo, Cam Newton was sacked six times and Buffalo won 24-23. I’ll stick with that outcome.
5 Virginia Commonwealth Rams def. 12 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. While the SF Austin Lumberjack would be a formidable foe against a human opponent, I’m not sure he would be able to do the Razor’s Edge on a Ram. That huge axe might come in handy, but I’m not sure it would be enough.
13 Tulsa Golden Hurricane def. 4 UCLA Bruins. Here I have to make the important distinction between being a mascot bracket or a nickname bracket. I have to admit that this is really a nickname bracket. I don’t usually go with the appearance of the guy running around on the sideline. This is a good thing for Tulsa, because their mascot is this comic-book like character known as Captain ‘Cane. He even has a complete Marvel-esque origin story. If we’re pitting a bear with this blue static-electricity guy, I’m taking the bear. The bear versus a hurricane though, does not favor the bear. I’m not confident in the bear’s survivability in the face of a hurricane, and we have our first major upset, and our first early favorite to win the whole thing. 2 Kansas Jayhawks def. 15 Eastern Kentucky Colonels. The Kansas Jayhawks are one of the more interesting origin stories for a college mascot. While the current version looks a lot like Foghorn Leghorn, it has roots in the Civil War. The Eastern Kentucky Colonel looks like Colonel Sanders’s cousin. It would not be a very good fight. 7 New Mexico Lobos vs. 10 Stanford Cardinal. This is a clear example of rule #2. Colors lose to everything. By the way, so do hippie trees. 3 Syracuse Orange vs. 14 Western Michigan Broncos. Again, colors lose. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. 11 Dayton Flyers. It was kind of nice of the committee to put all the Mascot Bracket losers in the same quadrant. One of these days we’ll have a Ohio State vs. Syracuse matchup, but this is not that day.
Gators def. Buffaloes. This is not a clear-cut choice, but I don’t think a Buffalo would be able to mount enough of an offense. Golden Hurricane def. Rams. If a hurricane could take out a bear, a ram would not stand a chance. Broncos def. Flyers. Even though this Bronco is just sort of chillin’, I don’t think an unarmed pilot would be able to beat a horse in a fight. I know that this goes against my normal human vs. non-predator rule, but I think this is a proper exemption.
Jayhawks def. Lobos. On the surface, it appears that a wolf would dismember a strange blue jay crossed with a sparrow hawk bird. The Mascot Bracket though, goes deep. The origin of the Jayhawk predates the Civil War. When the future of the state of Kansas as either a free or slave state was in dispute, supporters of both sides waged an underground civil war on each other. These vigilantes from both sides were known as Jayhawkers. They stole horses, ransacked farms, vandalized homes, and there were even some casualties. Eventually, the Jayhawk name became synonymous with the free-staters. During the Civil War, a Union regiment from Kansas that was called the Independent Mounted Kansas Jayhawks. So, that is a long way of explaining how the Jayhawk defeats the wolf. It’s sort of like that sad part of Dances With Wolves.
Gators def. Golden Hurricanes. I actually think that a gator could wait out a hurricane. I might be wrong about that, but it’s my bracket. If you disagree, you should have voted in the Readers’ Choice Mascot Bracket. Jayhawks def. Broncos. Do they still, or did they ever really, take dead horses to the glue factory? Answer: Yes, they did; and no, they don’t.
Regional Champion: Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas Jayhawks are able to topple the Florida Gators. Given the Jayhawk history, this boils down to a simple case of armed human defeating a powerful wild animal.
1 Arizona Wildcats def. 16 Weber State Wildcats. In the first of two Wildcat battles in this tournament, I have to go with the higher seed.
9 Oklahoma State Cowboys def. 8 Gonzaga Bulldogs. This is a clear case of armed human defeating an animal.
12 North Dakota State Bison def. 5 Oklahoma Sooners. This one has some historical significance. At first glance, I’m thinking that in the battle between settler and bison, the settler came out on top. According to this site, the bison numbered 30-60 million at the time of Columbus, but by 1888 there were 541 known bison in the United States. The good news is that at that time there was more of an effort to preserve the bison, and by 1907 there were over a thousand living bison. Today there are 250,000. That year, 1888, is important. That is the year before the Sooner was born. April 22, 1889 was one of the most unique days in American history, when settlers were allowed to claim 160 acre plots of land. There was a great race to claim the land, and those that left before the predetermined starting time were called “sooners.” Anyway, the idea here is that by the time that the sooners were on the scene, the bison population actually improved.
13 New Mexico State Aggies def. 4 San Diego State Aztecs. An Aggie is an infuriatingly ambiguous mascot. Even the New Mexico State Aggie has two versions. In one version, the mustachioed aggie is wielding a lasso. In another, he is pointing two six shooters. The Aztec takes out the mustache and the rope, but cannot stand up to the firearm. The current NMSt website has the guy packing heat. I’m going with the Fighting Ron Swansons.
15 American Eagles def. 2 Wisconsin Badgers. If the American Eagle is one of these clowns, I’m picking the badger. Unfortunately for Bucky though, one of the badger’s natural predators in the wild is an eagle.
10 Brigham Young Cougars def. 7 Oregon Ducks. Pretty terrible fight, really. It wouldn’t even be sporting.
14 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns def. 3 Creighton Blue Jays. Even if the Cajun isn’t armed, I’m pretty sure he could take a blue jay.
6 Baylor Bears def. 11 Nebraska Cornhuskers. This one comes down to whether or not the Cornhusker is armed. That’s an ear of corn in his pocket, and I’m thinking that won’t do much good against a bear.
Cowboys def. Wildcats. He shot a bulldog last round. This time it’s a wildcat.
Aggie def. Bison. We unfortunately know the outcome of armed farmer vs bison.
Bears def. Ragin’ Cajuns. I’ll let you guess which of these is the mascot of the Cajuns, and which is the mascot of a delicious restaurant. Baylor goes to TGI Fridays to celebrate after the game.
Cougars def. Eagles. In doing research, I came across a website that had actual footage of an eagle fighting a cougar. The cougar wins.
Cowboys def. Aggies. This exact matchup came up in last year’s Mascot Bracket. The Aggie and the Cowboy seem identical, so I’m just going with the higher seed this year.
Bears def. Cougars. This video is not at all graphic. The bear and the cougar basically stare each other down. The narration is great, and for some reason it ends with techno music, and the video declares the bear the winner.
Regional Champion: Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Oklahoma State Cowboys take out the Baylor Bears.
1 Texas Southern Tigers def. Wichita State Shockers and Cal Poly Mustangs. It is clear that the tiger would take out the mustang, so the only question is: Is Lady Elaine armed? The actual mascot is a bundle of wheat. Not sure it would muster much offense against a ferocious beast. So let’s dig a little deeper, shall we? Well, it turns out that the Wheat Shocker name came from a common summer job of many of the students. Shocking wheat might take a sickle, but really there’s nothing here to make me think that a wheat shocker could survive a tiger attack.
8 Kentucky Wildcats def. 9 Kansas State Wildcats. Top seed wins.
12 Xavier Musketeers def and 5 Saint Louis Billikens. Were you thinking that the Billiken was some kind of supernatural entity that would be a tough out? If so, you were wrong. The Billiken is basically a troll doll. It is a tchotchke. Seriously, it is a made up good luck charm that became a fad about a 100 years ago. Next, we have the Musketeers and the Wolf Pack. This looks like another exception to the armed human versus a predator rule. A wolf pack would not be fun to face, but I think that once one wolf was shot down, the rest would be pretty intimidated, and would retreat. If it were a closed arena, where retreat was impossible, the musketeer might have some trouble, but I imagine these battles coming in natural environment.
13 Manhattan Jaspers def. 4 Louisville Cardinals. The Jaspers have no discernable mascot. All I could find was an M with a star. It turns out that the Jaspers are named after Brother Jasper, a priest at the college who introduced intercollegiate sports to the college. He was their first athletic director and first baseball coach. So, the Jaspers are just some old guy, but even some old priest can beat a cardinal.
2 Michigan Wolverines vs. 15 Wofford Terriers. If these were the bull terriers, things could get interesting. The Wofford Terrier though, is a Boston terrier. The wolverine is one of the most terrifying wild animals out there.
10 Arizona State Sun Devils def. 7 Texas Longhorns. Supernatural entities are tough. There’s really no way to gauge the toughness of a completely fictional character. The origin of the Sun Devil doesn’t help either. Apparently, the student body didn’t want to be called the bulldogs anymore.
3 Duke Blue Devils def. 14 Mercer Bears. As has been long established by The Mascot Bracket, the Duke Blue Devil is not supernatural, but was the name of an elite French army unit from World War I. This is a clear rule #5.
11 Tennessee Volunteers def. 6 Massachusetts Minutemen and 11 Iowa Hawkeyes. This is a very tough one. The Minutemen and the Volunteers are a pretty even matchup. The Minutemen were from the Revolutionary War. The Volunteers were from the war of 1812. Even the Hawkeyes are making this one tough. They are actually named after a fictional character – a white man who was a companion, hunter, and scout in the book The Last of the Mohicans. I’m going with Tennessee because of rule #7, I’m guessing that there must have been some advances in weapon technology between 1776 and 1812. I’m no expert though, almost all I know about guns I learned on Pawn Stars.
Tigers def. Wildcats. A tiger is the king of the wild cats.
Musketeers def. Jaspers. Brother Jasper would, presumably, not be armed.
Blue Devils def. Volunteers. This is basic timeline stuff. World War I soldier defeats a War of 1812 soldier.
Sun Devils def. Wolverines. Seriously, I don’t know what to do with a Sun Devil. I don’t even know what it is. I suppose the trident helps against the Wolverine.
Musketeers def. Tigers. Rule #5.
Blue Devil def. Sun Devils. I really don’t have a good reason for this. I don’t see the Sun Devil having any extraordinary power. Do they give the Blue Devils a bad sun burn? I guess that trident is useful, but not against World War I fire power.
Regional Champion: Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devil is a more advanced soldier than a Musketeer.
1 Virginia Cavaliers def. 16 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The Chanticleer (SHON ti Clear) are not a fancy light hanging in your Grandma’s dining room. The school website has a pretty pompous explanation that alludes to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It’s a rooster. A rooster would be run down easily by a Cavalier.
8 Memphis Tigers def. 9 George Washington Colonials. So, is the Colonial armed? It looks from this logo like the only thing ol’ George has to defend himself is a flag. That might work for a little while, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough to fight off a tiger.
5 Cincinnati Bearcats vs. 12 Harvard Crimson. Colors lose. Always.
4 Michigan State Spartans vs. 13 Delaware Blue Hens. Perhaps the most lopsided of all battles, the Spartan versus a hen is not a pleasant site.
15 UW Milwaukee Panthers def. 2 Villanova Wildcats. It looks like this matchup has already been taken care of in the DC universie, but I don’t have the book, so I don’t know how it ends. A real Panther has about 100 pounds on a wildcat, so I’m going that direction.
7 Connecticut Huskies def. 10 St. Joseph’s Hawks. The kid in the St. Joseph’s Hawks outfit never stops flapping his arm, but apparently he only flaps one arm during the anthem out of, um, respect? I’m not sure how to pick between a bird of prey and a dog. A husky’s fur is pretty thick, and its jaws are pretty powerful. I’m going with the Husky.
14 North Carolina Central Eagles def. 3 Iowa State Cyclones. Usually the Cyclone is a formidable foe, but I think the eagle soar over it, avoid it, and wait it out.
6 North Carolina Tar Heels def. 11 Providence Friars. I don’t think it really matters what a Tar Heel is, the friar isn’t going to put up much of a fight.
Cavaliers def. Tigers. Human with weapon. This could be an exception to that rule, since the sword is a non-gunpowder weapon, but I’m sticking with the Cavaliers.
Spartans def. Bearcats. Human with weapon. No exceptions here, despite the lack of gunpowder.
Tar Heels def. Eagles. We’ll get to whether or not the Tar Heels have a weapon a little later, but for now, I’m sticking with the Heels.
Panters def. Huskies. I don’t like to think of dogs fighting, so I won’t have much explanation.
Spartans def. Cavaliers. Ken Burns recently made a sequel to his groundbreaking documentary, 300. It reminded us all of how badass Spartans were.
Panthers def. Tar Heels. This breaks with history as far as the Mascot Bracket is concerned. I’ve uncovered an origin to the name Tar Heel that goes farther back than the Civil War. Instead, it appears to go back farther than the Civil War, connecting instead to a laborious, and dirty process of making tar that was an important part of the area economy and development. That is much less cool than the story about the soldiers. There’s no inherent weapon here, so the panther has lunch.
Regional Champion: Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans take out the Panther in a clear case of Rule #5
We’ve come to a point where we three armed men with similar firepower and training, and one ancient warrior that was the product of a an entire society aimed at war. Throw the four of these in a Hunger Games-like arena, and I’m putting my money on the Spartan. So, does a cowboy defeat a World War I soldier? The Cowboy is a quintessentially American icon. I feel like I would be accused of hating America if I pick against the Cowboy against a French soldier. In the other semi, we have a Civil War soldier versus a Spartan. When it comes down to it, the gun would just be too much.
Oklahoma State Cowboys def. Duke Blue Devils
Kansas Jayhawks def. Michigan State Spartans
In the championship, it’s the Cowboy versus the Union soldier. I’m going with the training, and the cause.