The homer part of me wants Pitt to win this, but I just don't see how they can. Panthers are vicious, sure. We've been over my feelings on big cats (or small cats with exceptionally sharp claws), but a Buccaneer's likely got a musket, a sword and is probably pretty pissed off about having scurvy.
Though, this particular buccaneer may not pose too much of a threat, as he's cyanotic.
Even with the various medical conditions the Buccaneers are no doubt infected with, I'm going to have to go with them. East Tennessee State moves on to the second round
#8 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. #9 Tennessee Volunteers
I appreciate the spirit of volunteerism. I don't do it enough. But this is about a fight to the death, and Habitat for Humanity doesn't have an answer for dangerous loners who spend all their time with cattle. Moreover, when I hear "cowboy", I think of westerns generally, and I'm pretty sure Clint Eastwood could kill whoever the hell he wanted. In fact, I'm not sure why the whole "Chuck Norris joke" phenomenon had to happen to Chuck Norris instead of Mr. Eastwood. Clint has the bonus of being both relevant and not batshit insane.
#5 Florida State Seminoles vs. #12 Wisconsin Badgers
Again with the "human versus animal" matchup. Badgers have this reputation for being vicious and are good at holding on if they've decided to bite you, but they're going up against the Unconquered People, who I'm positive would be able to take down a rodent. Florida State in a rout.
#4 Xavier Musketeers vs. #13 Portland State Vikings
Xavier was the champion of last year's Murphspot Mascot Bracket, but they run into some tough competition early. I'm not sure how giant wooden boats are going to hold up against musket fire, but in general, I think the facial hair of the Vikings is going to help them. Somehow. I'm not sure. Against the vicious attack of the Vikings, the Musketeers are going to have to ask for some strategic assistance from someone who knows their strength and weaknesses.
Portland State with the upset.
#6 UCLA Bruins vs. #11 Virginia Commonwealth Rams
These matchups always seem simple. Bears kill things pretty easily, and I was trying to think of how a ram could conceivably kill a bear. The best I've come up with is either causing some kind of internal hemmoraging with blunt force from the horns, or luring the bear up onto a mountain, getting it to unwittingly stand on the edge and pushing it off. That seems a bit too "cartoon villain" to be plausible, so I'll go with the simple answer and say the ram's getting mauled. UCLA takes it.
#3 Villanova Wildcats vs. #14 American University Eagles
Two of the most overused mascots in the NCAA. I'd like to imagine that this will end in complete destruction of both, just to thin the herd of wildcats and eagles. Realistically, though, even though the wildcat's a lot smaller than I expected, I'm going to have to go with Villanova. Cartoon cats kill cartoon birds, and that's good enough for me.
#7 Texas Longhorns vs. #10 Minnesota Golden Gophers
Here, we've got a tiny burrowing rodent. Apparently the "true gopher" is the "pocket gopher" which doesn't inspire much terror. If "my word, that thing's small enough for me to carry around as though it were spare change" is part of the name of the animal, that's a strike against. To be fair, "Goldy Gopher" appears to be a chipmunk, which is a bit less embarassing, but I don't like having to play with what the hell the mascot is. Longhorns, on the other hand, have big spears on the side of their heads. Texas it is.
#2 Duke Blue Devils vs. #15 Binghamton Bearcats
The Blue Devils (Les Diables Bleus) were an elite French mountain infantry unit. The bearcat (Binturong) isn't a bear, a cat, and appears to spend most of its time hanging out in trees.
They also like to eat benches, I guess.
The bearcats get points for the coincidence that typing "bearcat" only uses the left hand, but whimsical observations aren't enough to save it from the Blue Devils, even if they are French. Duke wins.