I could go with a political bent here, given John McCain's status as a maverick, but I don't think a matchup between a 71 year old man and a tiger is going to be anywhere near fair. Instead, I will go with Tom Cruise, who played Maverick in Top Gun. The tiger's still going to rip him to shreds, but he stands a fighting chance by being younger and certifiably insane. Plus, it's more satisfying to have Tom Cruise ripped to pieces by Tigers.
Tom Cruise's crotch agrees. Also, what the hell is this picture?
Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Oregon Ducks
I'd like to knock the Bulldogs down a peg, since I have identical mascots winning two games in the Midwest, but I really just can't. It's a duck. You lock an irritated bulldog and a duck in a cage and see what happens. Actually, don't, because that would be cruelty and I don't want to be held liable.
Mississippi State takes it.
Michigan State Spartans vs. Temple Owls
I was hoping for a bit of a matchup here. Last year, I had Michigan State going pretty far in my mascot bracket because 300 had just come out, and so I was hoping to knock them off early this year, if, for example, they were up against some team whose mascot was a tank. Unfortunately, Temple couldn't pull through and gives me owls. Sure, they've got the head-rotation thing, but ultimately, it's just no contest.
Michigan State wins.
University of Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles
I hate to seem like a homer here (full disclosure: I do have a Pitt hat laying around somewhere), but in a matchup between some more goddamn eagles and huge cats that tear you apart, I'm going to have to go with the huge cats who tear you apart. Plus, taking the Panthers to be somehow affiliated with the Pink Panther, I'm going to have to say that I just like Peter Sellers more than I like Oral Roberts.
Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Kentucky Wildcats
I'm so over both of these mascots it's not even funny. That said, while the Wildcats and Golden Eagles both look kind of fierce, I'm going to have to cite Tweety v. Sylvester. Now, I could go the obvious route, that Tweety inevitably outsmarts Sylvester and so should win, but if you remove the Bulldog that's hanging around from consideration and get rid of Granny, Sylvester wins a deathmatch one-on-one. Plus, Tweety's incredibly annoying. Kentucky it is.
Stanford Cardinal vs. Cornell Big Red
Who the hell came up with this matchup? What am I, the blogger who's making a mockery of the whole bracket procedure by putting up picks based on team name/mascot supposed to do when it's two different shades of red going at it? Cornell does have an unofficial bear hanging about, while Stanford hase unofficial Stanford Tree. I might tend toward the Bear as far as sheer force, but in a match to the death, I'm going to have to go with the Tree out of sheer stamina.
Miami Hurricanes vs. St. Mary's Gaels
In trying to find out a bit more about the Gaels, I ran into basically every news outlet doing a gael/gale/hurricane pun, so I'll not do one here. Again, you'd think I'd go with the Gaels just because my name's Murphy and it's March 17th, but you'd be wrong. A single Gael trying to fight off Katrina would not have changed anything, so this one's going to have to go to Miami.
University of Texas Longhorns vs. Austin Peay State University Governors
There's an Eliot Spitzer joke here, but it seems kind of hacky, so I'm not going to do it, though I hope to get credit for the mention. I imagine that if we took any given Governor and put him or her in a cage with this
the Governor's not the one that's coming out of it. Enforcement of laws doesn't help you when you've been gouged. Texas wins.