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The 2010 Mascot Bracket

It is bracket-time.  Here’s my second annual NCAA tournament picks based solely on which mascot would win in a fight.  I have made some changes after commenters pointed out two mistakes I made.  I entered  this bracket into a yahoo public group along with an expert, picking all the favorites, my three-year-old daughter’s picks, President Barack Obama’s picks, and my own actual picks.

There are a few rules to follow:

  1. Inanimate objects, e.g. colors and plants, always lose to animate objects.
  2. Predators beat non-predators and unarmed humans.
  3. Humans beat non-predators.
  4. Humans with weapons beat predators.
  5. Humans with weapons beat humans without weapons.
  6. Humans with superior weapons win.
  7. Supernatural beings and weather systems beat almost anyone.
  8. Ties go to the high seed.
  9. Prepositions lose to everything (see Hoyas vs. Bearcats)

MIDWEST

(1) Kansas Jayhawks def. (16) Lehigh Mountain Hawks.  I’m calling this one a tie.  They’re both hawks.  The higher seed wins.

(8) UNLV Runnin Rebels def. (9) Northern Iowa Panthers. Human with weapon beats a predator.  This looks like a clear Rule 4, but a Runnin Rebel has Civil War weaponry, and a Panther is a serious animal.  I think the Black Panther would love to take a shot at a confederate soldier, but I’m sticking with my rules.  If the Rebel could keep his distance (maybe by doing a lot of runnin), he could win.

(5) Michigan State Spartans def. (12) New Mexico State Aggies.  An Aggie might have a gun, but not necessarily.  Plus, have you seen 300?  Their sparkling abs would shock the poor farmers into submission.

(13) Houston Cougars def. (4) Maryland Terrapins.  The first upset of my bracket is not completely off-the-wall.

(6) Tennessee Volunteers def. (11) Sand Diego State Aztecs.  The Aztecs were bad asses, but volunteers in the war of 1812 would have had muskets.

(14) Ohio Bobcats def. (3) Georgetown Hoyas.  Another significant upset.  You might be asking yourself, “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.”  So, if you’re using that – I think we finally found the only mascot that would lose to the Orange or the Buckeyes – a preposition.  Yet, their mascot is a bulldog.  A bobcat is a pretty mean cat, and I think it would beat even a bulldog.

(10) Oklahoma State Cowboys def. (7) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.  The Cowboy wins unless he is allergic – but I cannot base this scientific endeavor on pure conjecture.  The Cowboy would squish the yellow jacket.

(15) UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos def. (2) Ohio State Buckeyes.  I thought that UC-Santa Barbara was known as the Banana Slugs, which would jeopardize their NCAA chances – unless they had the good fortune of going up against the Buckeyes.  A reader informed me that they were never the Slugs – that is UC Santa Cruz.  Even if they were the slugs, they would win over a plant. Since they are spanish-language Cowboys, it’s an easy upset pick.

Second Round: Rebels def. Jayhawks; Spartans def. Cougars; Volunteers def. Bobcats; Cowboys def. Gauchos, this is a tough one.  I’m not sure how I pick between an English-speaking Cowboy and a Spanish-speaking cowboy without looking like some border-patrolling, xenophobic a-hole.  I’ll take the higher seed.

Regional semifinals: Rebels def. Spartans, the glistening abs are no match a musket ball.  Cowboys def. Volunteers, Cowboys have superior weapons to soldiers in the War of 1812.

Regional Final: Okalahoma State Cowboys def. UNLV Runnin Rebels.

WEST

(16) Vermont Catamounts def. (1) Syracuse Orange.  Seriously, Syracuse kills me every year.  I don’t even know what a Catamount is, but if they move, they would beat the Orange. I’ll have to do some research before the second round.

(9) Florida State Seminoles def. (8) Gonzaga Bulldogs.  See Rule 4.

(12) UTEP Miners def. (5) Butler Bulldogs.  Bad day for bulldogs.  I’m counting the pick axe as a weapon.

(4) Vanderbilt Commodores def. (13) Murray State Racers.  The logo for the racers is a racehorse.   The Commodores gave us “Brick House,” which is a plus. They also gave us Nichole Richie, which is not such a plus.  Killing them softly with their song, Commodores win.  Commodores have swords.  Jockeys have whips.  This might be the excpetion to Rule 4, but I’m sticking with the human with a weapon over an animal.

(6) Xavier Musketeers def. (11) Minnesota Golden Gophers.  The Musketeers have an um, musket.  Gophers have buck teeth. Muskets win.

(3) Pittsburgh Panthers def. (14) Oakland Grizzlies.  This is one of the best contests of the first round.  I seriously am not sure who would win this fight.  My first thought was the Grizzly, but have you seen how big a panther is? I’m really not sure, so I’m cheating, and going with the higher seed.

(10) Florida Gators def. (7) BYU Cougars def.  This is another great contest of the first round.  Again, I’m not sure who would win.  The Cougar’s agility would come in handy, but I’m not sure it could do enough damage to the Gator, and one good bite is all it would take.  Plus, if the Gator could draw the Cougar into the water, it would be over.

(2) Kansas State Wildcats def. (15) North Texas Mean Green.  Even though North Texas uses a bird in their logo, they are still just a color. No matter how mean they claim to be, this is rule #1.

Second Round: Seminoles def. Catamounts, a Catamount is a wild cat; Commodores def. Miners, sword over pick axe; Musketeers def. Panthers, This seems like a textbook Rule 4.  A musketeer whould beat a panther, but muskets are not the most powerful and dependable of weapons.  This depends on the size ring we have.  If the Musketeer could keep his distance, he might win.  If this is close quarters, the panther would tear him apart.  That all being said, the musketeer would also have a sword, so I’m going with Musketeer; Gators def. Wildcats, the Gator just beat a Cougar.

Regional Semifinals: Commodores def. Seminoles, according to wikipedia, a Commodore was the highest rank in the US Navy until the Civil War, and today is the highest rank below Admiral.  Plus, the Seminoles lose points for racial insensitivity.  The NCAA shouldn’t even allow them in the tournament if they followed their own rules; Musketeers defeat Gators.

Regional Finals: Vanderbilt Commodores defeat Xavier Musketeers.

EAST

(16) E. Tennessee St. Buccaneers def. (1) Kentucky Wildcats.  I’m not happy about this, but Rule #4 strikes again.

(8) Texas Longhorns def. (9) Wake Forrest Demon Deacons.  I do not think Deacons – even Demon ones – generally pack weapons.  Longhorns, on the other hand are really big and strong and mean.

(5) Temple Owls def. (12) Cornell Big Red.  Rule #1.

(4) Wisconsin Badgers def. (13) Wooford Terriers.  This sort of depends on what kind of terrier you are using.  A rat terrier would be a snack for badger.  A bull terrier, on the other hand, would prove more interesting.  Unfortunately for Wofford, their mascot looks more like a Boston terrier.  Game, set, match for Wisconsin.

(6) Marquette Golden Eagles def. (11) Washington Huskies. Unless of course, the Golden Eagles are eagles made of gold, which would make them an inanimate object.  But in a fight between a gold-colored eagle and a huskie, I’ll take the eagle.  I just don’t see the Huskie being able to mount much of an offensive.

(14) Montana Grizzlies def. (3) New Mexico Lobos.  Another tough call, but I don’t think that the fact that the wolf is Spanish would help.

(7) Clemson Tigers def. (10) Missouri Tigers.  I’m picking the Tigers.  Rule #8.

(2) West Virginia Mountaineers def. (15) Morgan State Bears.  The third bear-type mascot in the field, and they go 1-2.  This time because of Rule #4.

Second Round: Buccaneers def. Longhorns, I’m really starting to not like this rule, according to this system, 16 seeded East Tennessee State is going to make a historic run; Badgers def. Owls; Grizzlies def. Eagles; Mountaineers def. Tigers.

Regional semifinals: Bucs def. Badgers; Mountaineers def. Grizzlies.

Regional Final: West Virginia Mountaineers def. East Tennessee State Buccaneers.

SOUTH

The original Blue Devils – French fighters during World War I

(1) Duke Blue Devils def. (16) Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions.  The Blue Devil name came from a squadron fighting in France during World War I.  If the lion is made out of gold, it might be tough, but it might also be inanimate.  If it is just a gold-colored lion, it would be a dead-colored lion after that bulls-eye shooting Blue Devil on the left was done with it.

(8) California Bears def. (9) Louisville Cardinals.  This is one of the most one-sided contests of the first round.

(5) Texas AM Aggies def. (12) Utah St. Aggies.  This will be a popular 12 over 5 pick on many brackets – but not mine.  Rule #8 applies.

(4) Purdue Boilermakers def. (13) Siena Saints.  A Boilermaker has a great big hammer.  A saint has a Bible.  While the Bible can be a pretty destructive weapon in the wrong hands, I’m going with the Boilers.

(6) Notre Dame Fighting Irish def. (11) Old Dominion Monarchs.  Monarchs are not inherently armed, and they are generally not used to fighting for themselves.  Irish, on the other hand, are a people known for their large cans of whoop-ass.

This is a bearcat. Check out the size of those claws.

(3) Baylor Bears def. (14) Sam Houston State Bearkats.  A bearcat is also known as a binturong, which actually looks like a cross between a bear and a cat, and it looks like a badass. I would like to pick the binturong, but Bearkats lose on general principle for spelling Cat with a K.  Bears and Grizzlies finish 3-2 in the first round.

(10) St. Mary’s Gaels def. (7) Richmond Spiders.  A Gael is someone that is Gaelic, or Irish.  They step on the spider – even if it is a big bad one.

Robert Morris signed the Declaration of Independence, which is cool, but this would not help him in a deathmatch with a wildcat.

(2) Villanova Wildcats def. (15) Robert Morris Colonials. Colonials are not inherently armed. Their logo shows them armed only with a flag. Plus, Robert Morris was just a big fat banker that helped finance the Revolution.  He would be a nice meal for a wildcat.

Second Round: Blue Devils def. Bears; Boilermakers def. Aggies, this comes down to a hammer versus a shovel.  In actuality, both the Utah State Aggies and the Texas A&M Aggies use a dog for mascot, so Boilermaker advances either way.  Bears def. Irish, It would be great to see a drunken Irishman wrestle a bear.  Great in the same way it is great to see a traffic accident.  Gaels def. Wildcats, the Gaels win because they are depicted as some pretty fierce knight-like warriors with swords and armor.Regional semifinals: Devils def. Boilermakers, Gaels def. Bears.

Regional Final: Duke Blue Devils def. St Mary’s Gaels.

Final Four

Vandebilt Commodores def. Oklahoma State Cowboys and Duke Blue Devils defeat West Virginia Mountaineers.

Championship: Vanderbilt over Duke

A Commodore, as previously stated, is a high-ranking officer in the US Navy.  The Blue Devils were named for a French military unit in World War I.  I’m going with the Commodores because I love America.

NOTE: This year I’m going to enter this bracket into a few free online contests to see how I fare.

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Sweet 16 update

My mascots system has not been stellar.  I took big hit in the first round when my upset-special, West Virginia, went down in the first round.  In fact, the entire Midwest Region is a total loss.  In that region, there were only three wins – total, and none in the second round.

The mascot system has got me eight of the 16 teams into the third round.  Three of my elite eight teams are already gone.  Three of my final four teams are still alive, and I had West Virginia in the championship.  It is clear that this bracket is not going to shock the world. 

Here is the updated Sweet 16:

Midwest Region: 

Wildcats def. Cardinals, Spartans def. Jayhawks.  In this region, the Michigan State Spartans would emerge in the Final Four. 

West Region:

Boilermakers def. Huskies, Tiger vs. Tiger is a draw, the higher seed are the Memphis Tigers.  I’ll go with Memphis into the Final Four

East Region:

Muskateers def. Panthers, Blue Devils def. Wildcats. The Duke Blue Devils emerge in the Final Four.

South Region:

Tar Heels def. Bulldogs, Sooners def. Orange.  The Tar Heels win the region.

Final Four:

Blue Devils def. Tar Heels, Spartans def. Tigers.  Blue Devils are the national champions.

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Bracket Recap

So, looking at my bracket, which is based on which team’s nickname would in a fight, a few things pop out at me. The No. 1 seeds did not fair well. Only one made it to the Sweet 16, and two of them – The Pitt Panthers and the Louisville Cardinals were knocked out in the first round. Considering no 16 seed has EVER won a game, I’m thinking this is quite the long-shot.

I had to revise something earlier. In the West region I hit a problem with Bear vs. Tiger. I had to go with Tiger. To be honest, I’m not sure why. Then in the regional final there would be Tiger vs. Tiger. In my post I mistakenly called the Mizzou Tiger the higher seed, but realize that the Memphis Tiger is a 2-seed. Then in a controversial call I went with the Tiger over the Boilermaker even though the Boilermaker had already defeated a Cougar and a Panther. No real explanation, just my gut – a tiger seems bigger and meaner than a cougar or panther.

REVISED FINAL FOUR:

Duke

North Carolina

West Virginia 

Memphis

-West Virginia is the only real odd pick out of that bunch, and the Blue Devils, named for a World War I fighting unit, would pull out the victory.  

 

I have entered this bracket into the ESPN contest.  When Pitt and Louisville go down early, you might see me on Sportscenter as the new bracketologist.

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2009 Mascot Bracket

So, for the last twenty years or so I have been filling out NCAA tournament brackets.  When I was about 13 I came within a last second shot of winning, but settled for fourth place.  That is the closest I have ever come to winning.  I stopped doing brackets for money about three years ago – but still enter into free contests, and still get my ass handed to me.  So instead of making predictions which have almost no credibility based on my track record, I decided to fill out this year’s bracket based on a system my brother and I came up with about 10 years ago.  Put simply, the concept is, Which mascot would win in a fight?

There are a few basic tennets of this system:

  1. Predatory animals defeat non-predatory animals – its the food chain, right?
  2. Predatory animals defeat humans without weapons.
  3. Humans with weapons defeat all animals.
  4. Humans with weapons defeat humans without weapons.
  5. In battles between two humans with weapons, most advanced weapons win, e.g. gunpowder defeats iron.
  6. Battles betwee two predatory animals, the bigger, meaner one wins.

These are basic rules.  It gets tricky when you start to consider the following:

  • Supernatural entities – These things will typically defeat any animal and most humans, but godly humans will win.
  • Weather systems – Depends on the severity.   A hurricane? pretty tough.  A green wave? not so much.
  • Colors (how do you defeat the Orange? With an eraser? How do you even fight the color orange to begin with?  New rule – Immobile inanimate objects lose to anything that moves.  There might not be knockout, but when you go to the scorecards, the moving object would get some points for trying).

So, here it goes:

MIDWEST:

Play-in game: Morehead State EAGLES def. Alabama State HORNETS
16 EAGLES def. 1 Louisville CARDINALS (This is the first time in history that a No. 1 seed has gone down. I haven’t looked yet, but I’m not confident about the TAR HEELS either).
9. Siena SAINTS (depicted by a Saint Bernard) def. 8. Ohio State BUCKEYES
5. Utah UTES def. Arizona WILDCATS (see rule #3 – humans with weapons vs. animals)
13. Cleveland State VIKINGS def. Wake Forest DEAMON DEACONS (this is a tough call, because a deacon could presumably get a weapon, but there is nothing about a deacon that is inherently armed.)
15. Robert Morris COLONIALS def. 2. Michigan State SPARTANS (see rule #5 If you have seen the movie 300, you might disagree, but COLONIALS would have more firepower.)
10. USC TROJANS def. 7. Boston College EAGLES
3. Kansas JAYHAWKS def. 14. North Dakota State BISON (see rule #1. Very tough call, it is hard to imagine a hawk pecking a bison to death, there’d probably be no knockout, but Hawks would win on the cards).
6. West Virginia MOUNTAINEERS def. 11. Dayton FLYERS (see rule #4)
SECOND ROUND:Saints def. Eagles – similar to Jayhawk vs. Bison, but if the dog could get one good bite, it would be curtains for the Eagle)
Utes def. Vikings – rule #5
Colonials def. Trojans – rule #5
Mountaineer def. Jayhawk – rule #3
THIRD ROUND
Utes defeat Saints – rule #3
Mountaineer def. Colonial – rule #5
REGIONAL FINAL
Mountaineers def. Utes

EAST:

16. East Tennessee State BUCCANEERS def. 1. Pittsburgh PANTHERS (A historical second No. 1 seed goes down)
8. Oklahoma State COWBOYS def. 9. Tennesee VOLUNTEERS – rule #5 (this took some research. It turns out the name Volunteers comes from the War of 1812, when Andrew Jackson got a bunch of volunteers to fight the British. Cowboys though, lasted well into the 1800’s, and presumably would have better weapons).
5. Florida State SEMINOLES def. 12. Wisconsin BADGERS – rule #3
4. Xavier MUSKATEERS def. 13 Portland State VIKINGS – rule #5
2. Duke BLUE DEVILS def. 15. Binghamton BEARCATS – miscellaneous rule. Duke used to be called the Methodists, which is kind of cool, but not very tough. Some think it could actually refer back to a French military unit from World War I, back when the French actually were tough.
7. Texas LONG HORNS def. 10. Minnesota GOLDEN GOPHERS – Neither are predatory, but if forced to fight, there is a clear favorite.
3. Villanova WILDCATS def. American U. EAGLES – rule #6
6. UCLA BRUINS def. Virginia Commonwealth RAMS – rule #6
SECOND ROUND
Cowboys def. Buccaneers – rule #5
Muskateers def. Seminoles – rule #5
Blue Devils def. Long Horns
Bruins def. Wildcats – rule #6
THIRD ROUND
Cowboys def. Muskateers
Blue Devils def. Bruins
REGIONAL FINAL
Blue Devils def. Cowboys

SOUTH

1. North Carolina TAR HEELS def. 16. Radord HIGHLANDERS – rule #5 (A highlander is a Scottish warrior from the middle ages. The term Tar Heel came from soldiers in the Civil War, who presumably had something more deadly than a Claymore).
8. LSU TIGERS def. 9. Butler BULLDOGS – rule #6
5. Illinois FIGHTING ILLINI def. Western Kentucky HILLTOPPERS – rule #4 (the Illini were native Americans that presumably had weapons. The Hilltoppers are just a bunch of guys that moved the school up to the top of a hill).
4. Gonzaga BULLDOGS def. Akron ZIPS. – (This will be the Zips vs. the Zags, but Gonzaga’s official nickname is the Bulldogs. The Zips are actually named after the zipper, which was invented in Akron, OH. The mascot is a kangaroo, which would probably crush a Bulldog, but we’re going with nicknames – and a zipper would not defeat anything, unless a school became known as the Ben Stiller’s Franks and Beans)
2. Oklahoma SOONERS def. 15. Morgan State BEARS – A Sooner would have a shotgun.
7. Clemson TIGERS def. 10. Michigan WOLVERINES – This would be an awesome fight, but I’ll take the Tiger.
14. Stephen F. Austin LUMBERJACKS def. Syracuse ORANGE – anything beats a color, except maybe a zipper.
6. Arizona State SUN DEVILS def. 11. Temple OWLS – ASU might be tough to beat.
SECOND ROUND
Tar Heels def. Tigers
Fighting Illini def. Bulldogs
Sooners def. Tigers
Sun Devils def. Lumberjacks
THIRD ROUND
Tar Heels def. Fighting Illini
Sun Devils def. Sooners
REGIONAL FINAL
Tar Heels def. Sun Devils (this is not exact science, but the Sun Devil looks like a guy with a douchy mustache in a Noid costume, carrying a pitchfork. A Tar Heel would shoot him).

WEST

1. UConn HUSKIES def UT Chattanooga MOCS (I am still not sure what a Moc is, but from the logo, it looks like a bird. Some logos show a bird driving a train, which is just weird.
8. BYU COUGARS def. 9. Texas A&M AGGIES – An Aggie is a farmer, which is not intrinsically armed. A cougar would maul an unarmed farmer.
5. Purdue BOILERMAKERS def. 12. Northern Iowa PANTHERS – This is a close call, but the Boilermaker has a huge hammer, and could connect on one good swing.
4. Washington HUSKIES def. Mississippi State BULLDOG – Another close one, but a huskie is a little bigger and more agile.
2. Memphis TIGERS def. 15. Cal State Northridge MATADORS – A Matador is a human with a weapon, but he is used to fighting impaled bulls, not full strength Tigers. Think Siegfried and Roy. Tigers win.
7. California BEARS def. Maryland TERRAPINS – A Bear would have a hard time getting the knockout, but he would win on the scorecards.
3. Missouri TIGERS def. Cornell BIG RED – Again, colors always lose.
6. Marquette GOLDEN EAGLES def. Utah St. AGGIES – Again, unarmed farmer is defeated by predatory animal.
SECOND ROUND
Cougars def. Huskies
Boilermakers def. Huskies
A classic battle pits Tiger vs. Bear. I really do not know who would win.
Tiger def. Golden Eagle
THIRD ROUND
Boilermaker def. Cougar (if he beat a Panther, he could beat a Cougar)
Tiger vs. Tiger or Bear (this is a real conundrum)
REGIONAL FINAL
Boilermaker would be defeated by either a Tiger or a Bear, the hammer would not be enough. But which? I’ll go with the highest seed, and take the Mizzou Tiger.

FINAL FOUR
West Virginia Mountaineers defeat Missouri Tigers
Duke Blue Devils defeat North Carolina Tar Heels

CHAMPIONSHIP
Duke defeats West Virginia.

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