Monday, March 17, 2008

Mascot Madness!

SINCE I AM TRADITIONALLY TERRIBLE at picking the winners in any NCAA Basketball Tournament Pool, no matter what criteria I apply, I am trying something new this year: Basing my choices on how the actual mascots would fare in a cage match.

Here's how the shit would go down in Round One.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Coppin State Eagles or Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers—A Tar Heel is simply someone with pitch or tar on their heel who hails from North Carolina. Which doesn’t seem particularly threatening by itself. But considering the potential first round opponents, Eagles or Mountaineers, I will assume that the tar is poisonous and give North Carolina a pass into the next round.

Indiana Hoosiers vs. Arkansas Razorbacks—
When a native of the state of Indiana faces off with a dangerous wild boar, I don’t believe the Hoosier stands much of a chance. He’s an ordinary Indianan. He’s not (apparently) unexpectedly strong or well-armed. He’s just some dude from Indiana. In which case, I believe I have to vote for the Razorback. It could be a close fight, but in the end, I think the wild animal prevails.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. George Mason Patriots—
The Irish are fighting here because they are a stereotype, I’m guessing. Whereas the Patriots are fighting because they believe in something. What is that thing they believe in? Oh, nothing really. Just a little thing called Freedom. Just a little thing called America.

Washington State Cougars vs. Winthrop Eagles—
This is a cage fight, remember. Both mascots are trapped in a cage and only one emerges. Eagles might be birds of prey and therefore deadly to most small animals, but a Cougar is a Cougar. And to a Cougar, an eagle is a delicious snack.

Oklahoma Sooners vs. St. Joseph’s Hawks—
A settler of Oklahoma is so susceptible to dysentery, not to mention weakened by hunger and the general malaise of being stuck in Oklahoma, that I cannot believe they would put up much of a fight. In fact, I sort of imagine they would view death and/or defeat as a sweet release.

Louisville Cardinals vs. Boise St. Broncos—
I’m not sure under what circumstances a songbird might pick a fight with an untamed pony. Unless it was a songbird with particularly low self-esteem who needed to show off for his songbird buddies, or to prove to those nearby birds of prey that he was as cool as they were. Whatever the explanation, it’s a mistake.

Butler Bulldogs vs. South Alabama Jaguars—
Wow, what a mismatch! While Bulldogs are known for being tenacious, they are also domesticated. Sure, there may be some question as to how a Jaguar ended up in Alabama. (Chalk it up to excellent recruiting, I suppose.) This one will be quick and unpleasant. You may want to cover your child’s eyes.

Tennessee Volunteers vs. American Eagles—
The Volunteers volunteered for this fight, so they knew exactly what they were getting into. That said, how can you vote against an American Eagle? Unless you’re a terrorist. But you’re not a terrorist, are you? I didn’t think so.

Kansas Jayhawks vs. Portland St. Vikings—This would be quite a spectacular fight. Civil War era guerilla fighters pitted against Scandinavian pirates. The slight edge goes to the Jayhawks, not because of their modern weaponry, but because that is where I went to college. Go KU!

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs. Kent State Golden Flashes—
Though anthropomorphized as an angry bird of some sort, the Golden Flashes, in the end, are still just that: some sort of trick of the light. While pretty, beguiling and occasionally disorienting, they pose no serious threat to actual humans.

Clemson Tigers vs. Villanova Wildcats—
Now this is a fight you want to see! One vicious cat pitted against another! Sadly for Villanova, size matters.

Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Siena Saints—
Possibly the most boring matchup of the Tournament: a ‘70s funk/soul band versus a bunch of goody two-shoes. The Saints might make it into heaven in a walk, but the Commodores wrote “Brick House.”

USC Trojans vs. Kansas State Wildcats—
Sure, I don’t want to be trapped in a cage with a Wildcat of any size, but I’m not a trained warrior from Troy. They are ready for any type of battle. Also, swords offer an advantage.

Wisconsin Badgers vs. CSU Fullerton Titans—
I don’t care how tough and vicious a Badger might be. It’s still only Badger-sized, not of titanic proportions.

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Davidson Wildcats—
If Davidson were the House Cats, then I’d let this one go the other way. But they are wild. Sorry Gonzaga, you’re out in the first round.

Georgetown Hoyas vs. UMBC Retrievers—
Seriously? A Chesapeake Bay Retriever? That is your mascot? Well, at least you are specific. I cannot say the same for the Georgetown Hoyas, who, for some reason, have a bulldog as their mascot. But Wikipedia (the world’s most accurate site) tells me a Hoya is “a genus of 200-230 species of tropical climbing plants…native to southern Asia, Australian and Polynesia.” Since I always believe Wikipedia…

Memphis Tigers vs. Texas-Arlington Mavericks—Those nonconformists from Texas-Arlington, they’re such free spirits! They’re so eccentric and original! Have you read their poetry? They’re totally giving a reading at the coffee house later tonight. That is, if they can manage not to be mauled and eaten by wild tigers. Uh-oh…

Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Oregon Ducks—
Wow! That was fast! Look at all those feathers! Honestly, I don’t know why I expected more of a fight. Maybe it’s because I bought into all the Pac-10 hype.

Michigan State Spartans vs. Temple Owls—
Did you see 300? Did you see those Tootsie Pop commercials from the ‘70s? Yeah. That’s right. Tonight, Michigan State dines in hell! Dines on Owl kabobs.

Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles—
Coating a bird of prey in gold will NOT make it more difficult to defeat. In fact, it will just make it immobile. Shiny and expensive…but immobile.

Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Kentucky Wildcats—
See above.

Stanford Cardinal vs. Cornell Big Red—
According to both universities’ web sites, their team names refer to the color red. So, um, this is a battle of red versus red? Like, which red is better, red or red? Boy, is this match-up stupid. The mascots aren’t much more help: a tree and a bear. So who wins in that battle? A bear can climb a tree, so is that like defeating a tree? It is if the bear’s nickname is “Touchdown.”

Miami Hurricanes vs. St. Mary’s Gaels—
To hear of this battle, you might think it sounds like the perfect storm, literally. A hurricane versus a gale! Oh, wait. What? A Gael? Isn’t that a typo? It isn’t? So it’s a Hurricane pitted against someone from Ireland? Well, not being a tropical people, I think the Gaels are in for a rough time.

Texas Longhorns vs. Austin Peay Governors—Austin Peay
was a person before he became a university. He was actually the governor of Tennessee during the Scopes Monkey Trial, who notably died in office, something no Tennessee governor has done before or since. As I believe death renders most foes easily vanquished…

UCLA Bruins vs. Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils—Bears are deadly and dangerous. Just ask Stephen Colbert. But a Devil, from the Delta or not, has that little extra something. A little something most people call “evil.”

BYU Cougars vs. Texas A&M Aggies—
Aggie jokes are the Polack jokes of Texas, because Aggies are viewed as possessing bag-o-hammers level intelligence. Darwinian selection being what it is, then, there’s only one way this fight ends.

Drake Bulldogs vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers—
If your biggest accomplishment, the thing that you seem most proud about, the thing you name yourself after, is “topping” a “hill”, maybe you can be beaten by a Bulldog. Let’s face it, you’re not exactly a go-getter. You think making it to the top of a hill is a “big deal.”

Connecticut Huskies vs. San Diego Toreros—
If you are in the Iditarod, you want a team full of Huskies. Good, strong, hard-working dogs. However, this is not a race but a fight. And Toreros are used to fighting something a little more dangerous than a dog, namely, a charging bull. Oh yeah, and then they kill the bull.

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Baylor Bears—
When you and your buddies are out having drinks, the last thing you want to do is stumble into a townie bar and start some shit with a bunch of ironworkers. You and your buddies might be tough, but, trust me, you’re not as tough as labor union lifers from the Rust Belt. Unless, you and your buddies happen to be Bears. And I’m not talking about big, hairy gay guys.

Xavier Musketeers vs. Georgia Bulldogs—
Bark! Bark! Bang!

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Arizona Wildcats—
Mountaineers are used to living in the mountains. They are experts in it, one would assume. If that is the case, they would be no strangers to encountering an occasional Wildcat. And they wouldn’t really be considered much of a Mountaineer if they didn’t know how to handle themselves around a Wildcat, now would they?

Duke Blue Devils vs. Belmont Bruins—
Man, this bracket is lousy with Devils and Bears! If Belmont had only had Baylor’s luck in the tournament draw, they’d make it past the first round. But, as it stands, they ended up in hell. Bears might rule this earthly plane, but Devils snack on Bears like Pretzel and Peanut Butter Combos.

Round Two predictions later this week!


Adam said...

Hey, I did this last year, and surprisingly, using mascots I predicted the winner correctly.

a couple things:
1. It gets hard trying to find different ways for them to fight, the final four is almost impossible. Good Luck

2. I've been suckered into doing it again. I'm doubting that I'll make a blog post out of it, but I'd like to challenge you and your ability to handicap mascot fights against my ability to do the same for the undisputed mascot fight handicapping championship. I'll gladly provide my reasoning.

3. I also host a radio show, I'd like to track your progress against mine. Maybe even have you on the show for a few minutes to debate the merits of the mascots. It's on 98.1 The Ticket in Pensacola, FL from 6 til 9 am central time.

You can contact me at mccloskey981-at-bellsouth-dot-net to accept or decline my challenge.

Adam said...

Oh, and I forgot, here's a link to the posts I did last year:

It's most of them from the month.