Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Mascot Madness 2010

WE'VE ALL BEEN HERE BEFORE. In the early stages of March Madness, incurable as far as I know, and trying our best to predict the winner, hopefully for monetary gain. There are a lot of methods to arrive at this, but the one I prefer is to fill out my bracket according to how the mascots would fare in a cage match (standard North American rules).

I don’t want to brag too much, but when I last did it this way, I accurately chose the winner.

Let’s break it down, bracket by bracket, shall we?

Kansas Jayhawks vs. Lehigh Mountain Hawks – In predicting the winners here, I will do my best not to favor the mascot of my alma mater, the overall #1 seed, which is not a bird actually but a Civil War guerilla fighter fighting for the freedom of slaves. What I’m saying is: KU’s mascot is named after an armed force that was totally on the right side of history. Can the same be said about you, ordinary hawk? No it can’t.

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs. Northern Iowa Panthers – There are a lot of armed forces in this year’s bracket, but the Rebels are the only Runnin’ version. However, it isn’t their speed or the size of their fantastic mustachios that will really benefit them in this match. No, it’s the guns that will make the biggest difference.

Michigan State Spartans vs. New Mexico State Aggies – Spartans are historically gifted fighters, favored in a fight even if they are outnumbered. On the other hand, Aggies are students who are studying agriculture. Oh Aggies, don’t you know, you never bring a lawn aerator to a sword fight.

Maryland Terrapins vs. Houston Cougars – You know how Skittles have that crunchy candy coating outside but are soft and tangy on the inside. Me too. Oh, by the way, that’s exactly how a cougar describes a turtle.

Tennessee Volunteers vs. San Diego State Aztecs – Hmm, I wonder how an indigenous people would fare against an armed force from America? If only there were some historical precedent.

Georgetown Hoyas vs. Ohio Bobcats – No one really knows what a “Hoya” is, not even people who are proud to call themselves Hoyas. What we do know is that they are depicted as a bulldog. There’s no confusion about what a Bobcat is. Or how much more well-adapted to hunting prey it is compared to a domesticated dog.

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets – Cowboys are rough and rugged men of the prairie who occasionally fall in love with each other, according to Hollywood anyway. Yellow jackets are a predatory wasp. Not being human-sized is a disadvantage in this confrontation, however.

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos – If this were a confrontation written, directed and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, those Gauchos might have something to fear from a bunch of trees from Ohio. Of course, then the ending would still be some dumb twist you figured out from watching the trailer anyway and you’d have to swear to your wife you’d never take her to another one of his crappy movies ever again, even though you both really liked The Sixth Sense and Signs (kinda). What was I talking about? Oh right…

Syracuse Orange vs. Vermont Catamounts – One of the three colors in this year’s tournament, the Orange have a difficult task ahead of them. Not having a specific physical form, they don’t stand much chance against the sharp claws and gnashing teeth of the variant of the cougar from the Northeast. Unless, they aren’t the color but the fruit! Oh wait. That’s still not an advantage.

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Florida State Seminoles – Bulldogs, you are adorable. With your crazy faces and the slobbering and snoring. And you’re so friendly and trusting too! You might have noticed that I did not say “poison-tipped” or “razor-sharp.”

Butler Bulldogs vs. UTEP Miners – Oh boy. Those adorable Bulldogs have befriended someone else. Don’t follow them into the mine, puppies! Don’t do it!

Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Murray State Racers – To be honest, I’ve always wanted to see a horse fight an obsolete computer. Nothing against the Commodore 64, it just smashes real good under the powerful forelocks of a thoroughbred. Also, I’m a big fan of stomping.

Xavier Musketeers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers – Let’s for a moment imagine that these are not ordinary Gophers some maniac has simply dipped in gold. What if these are gold-plated mecha-Gophers? What then, Musketeers? What would your answer be then, huh? Ah, I see. You’re putting away your sword in favor of your musket. Well played, sir.

Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Oakland Golden Grizzlies – Now we’re talking! Now you’ve mechanized something fearsome. As if ordinary Grizzlies weren’t terrifying enough, now they’ve got shiny golden skin and red laser eyes! (I’m assuming.) I think even a Robo-Panther would have a tough time winning this one.

BYU Cougars vs. Florida Gators – Now this is a fight where the home court advantage would really matter. It would be a no-brainer if the Cougars had to fight the Gators in the water. But on land, it’s a lot closer. Ultimately, I give the edge to the side with scaly armor, a thousand teeth and the coach who looks like the Marine in your unit who goes bananas and shoots up the place.

Kansas State Wildcats vs. North Texas Mean Green – Seriously. Your mascot is a color? I feel like you’re just giving up, North Texas. Even if I imagine that your mascot is an Angry Salad, you still don’t stand a chance.

Kentucky Wildcats vs. East Tennessee State Buccaneers – Normally, I would give the nod to the pirates. But a quick glance at a map shows me that these “pirates” aren’t really anywhere near an ocean. In fact, East Tennessee is mountainous. So, Buccaneers, I’m guessing you aren’t the brightest bulbs. Even with your cannons and swords, you’ll find a way to lose.

Texas Longhorns vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons – No matter how long your horns are, you’re still a steer. And your opponent hails from hell. That combination could mean only one thing. Barbecue for everyone!

Temple Owls vs. Cornell Big Red – After a little research, I discovered that Big Red was actually short for “The Big Red Team.” Which, coincidentally, is the answer to the question: What is a worse nickname than “Big Red?”

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Wofford Terriers – It’s a battle of tenacity vs. tenacity. But I’m sorry, Wofford, I can’t help but think your name is based on a pun. I get it, WOOF-ord, I get it. Your wordplay will not save you against the curved claws and snapping jaws of the Badgers.

Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Washington Huskies – Mecha-Eagle vs. Sled Dog! It might as well be Wood Chipper vs. Six Week Old Puppy.

New Mexico Lobos vs. Montana Grizzlies – These two opponents are familiar with one another, frequently calling the same state park home. And it’s really sad to think of all of those Grizzlies every year who are attacked and killed by wolves. What’s that? That never happens? Oh right.

Clemson Tigers vs. Missouri Tigers – Not since the Civil War have we seen a house divided in such a way. Brother against brother! But it’s so sad. When Tiger fights Tiger, does anyone really win? Yes, a Tiger wins.

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Morgan State Bears – If you live in the mountains and don’t know how to handle yourself around a bear, well, you’re probably not really a “mountaineer.” You’re probably just a “weird guy who thinks he has a special connection with bears.” You know how that story ends, right? You don’t? Just ask Werner Herzog.

Duke Blue Devils vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions – Turning an already accomplished predator like a lion into a futuristic robot would, in most cases, assure a win. That is, unless the foe is a supernatural creature made of fire and evil.

California Golden Bears vs. Louisville Cardinals – No matter how angry you make your songbird mascot look, it’s still just a songbird. It’s still as dangerous and vicious as a songbird.

Texas A&M Aggies (5) vs. Utah State Aggies – see Tigers vs. Tigers above.

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Siena Saints – You know what Step One in becoming a Saint is? Dying. Step Two is traditionally being dead for many many years. This does not bode well for Siena, in my opinion.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Old Dominion Monarchs – Let’s face it, the Irish will be too hungover on the day after St. Paddy’s Day to win this one.

Baylor Bears vs. Sam Houston State Bearkats – Oh man, Bears vs. Bears! This one will be awesome! Oh wait a second. Bearkats? I’m assuming this is a combination of a bear and a meerkat. In which case, it is not an improvement on your standard issue Bear.

Richmond Spiders vs. Saint Mary’s Gaels – Are they giant spiders? Made gargantuan by exposure to radioactivity or a strange meteorite from the deeps of space? No? Just spiders? Regular old spiders? And are the Gaels wearing shoes? Yes?

Villanova Wildcats vs. Robert Morris Colonials – You know those people who churn butter and make tri-corner hats at those tourist traps across the country? Of course you do. You know what those people are called? That’s right: Nerds.

Click here for Round Two!

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