Two teams whose names derive from generic terms for people. I'd love to see a game in which actual Tar Heels (let's say Zach Galifianakis, Reginald VelJohnson, Charlie Rose, Ben Folds and Andy Griffith) against natives of the Scottish Highlands (William Barclay, Yvette Cooper, John Shepherd-Barron, inventor of the ATM, the Loch Ness Monster and Connor MacLeod). But, as this is a mascot bracket, the focus should be on the mascots. Rameses has got this cocky swagger and, I think, too many curves in his horns. The mascot for Radford is this guy.
If your mascot is clearly listening to anthemic metal, it means you win.
Look at that guy. Even if we ignore the absurdly large muscles, he's still got an enormous sword, a helmet that strangely has one centered antler and some pretty impressive Conan-the-Barbarian hair. I'll even ignore that the artist got us as close to seeing his package as is allowed for sports logos. Radford with the upset.
#8 Louisiana state Tigers vs. #9 Butler Bulldogs
This bulldog is more clearly a British Bulldog with a hell of an underbite. As it stands, that's not that threatening. Which is a shame, as they could have fixed the entire ordeal with a rhinestone Union Jack, some ridiculous braids and enough bronzer to drown an anteater.
Davey Boy Smith is not going to stand for your Cajun nonsense
As it stands, though, we've got a diminutive dog going up against Mike VI, who weighs 300 lbs and lives off of a diet of palmetto bugs and fear. Which there's plenty of, because of the palmetto bugs. I haven't been there in four years and I still have nightmares about three-inch flying cockroaches. Christ. Ok. Let's move on. LSU wins.
#5 Illinois Fighting Illini vs. #12 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
With the retirement of Chief Illiniwek in 2007, I'm afraid the chances for Illinois go way down. It's just very difficult to win a mascot-fight-to-the-death when you have no mascot, and your only logo is a big orange I.
While the Hilltoppers would certainly lose if this were a "fearsome team name" bracket, they enter with a bizarre, abstract mascot named Big Red who just seems to be having so much fun I'm tempted to move to Western Kentucky.
Having the caption be anything other than "Whee-hah!" would be blasphemy. So, "Whee-hah!"
Western Kentucky wins.
#4 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. #13 Akron Zips
Zips, or zippers, are rubber overshoes. Ignoring the mascot for a second, the way to strike fear in my heart is not to be galoshes. I've never been scared of galoshes. Galoshes full of spiders, perhaps, but the galoshes are incidental to that. Their actual mascot is Zippy the Kangaroo (who I'm disappointed to report doesn't have his own saturday morning cartoon) and he's going up against a bulldog. My first thought was that the bulldog would have the advantage, but I imagine a kangaroo could kick a bulldog in the head pretty hard. Akron moves on despite the uninspiring name.
#6 Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Temple Owls
Owls can be scary. I've been in the forest at night with a screech owl, and I'm pretty sure neither of us were happy with the expierence. He wasn't down with my presence in his habitat, and I wasn't down with his hell-screams and was convinced that he was using them to tear my soul from my body. That said, Sparky the Sun Devil has a cartoonish mustache, a leotard and a trident rather than a pitchfork. Still, it's stabby. Arizona State moves on.
#3 Syracuse Orange vs. #14 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
I have to admit, I follow college sports with such little tenacity that it hadn't even struck me that Syracuse ceased being the "Orangemen" in 2004. Orangemen might have had a chance here, but shortening the team name to "Orange" means there's no chance I can allow them to move on. You could argue that the name refers to the color, and as such, the section of the electromagnetic spectrum we perceive as orange isn't vulnerable to an axe to the face, but given the mascot, Otto the Orange, the Lumberjacks aren't only going to defeat them, they're going to consume them as part of a balanced breakfast. Stephen F. Austin moves on.
#7 Clemson Tigers vs. #10 Michigan Wolverines
Lots of tigers this year. I like that, because tigers are generally going to provide for some better fights than last year's ever-present wildcats. Unfortunately for Michigan, they're offering up what amounts to a large weasel that probably doesn't even have an adamantium laced skeleton. They do have Mathman's support, but I believe Mr. Glitch went to Clemson for a few years before backpacking around Europe, so I'm going to have to go with Clemson here.
It's surprising he could do elementary math at all with such a disproportionately tiny foot. Mathman is an inspiration
#2 Oklahoma Sooners vs. #15 Morgan State Bears
I have known a few Oklahomans in my time. Sooners, the original settlers of the Unassigned Lands that became Oklahoma, I imagine were resourceful, hard working and determined. If you threw one of them in a cage with a bear, though, I don't think the Sooner is walking out. Sure, they've probably got guns, but I've been doing a bit too much of the specist stuff in this round, and I'm going to go with Wikipedia's insistence that Sooners were often land surveyors and try to imagine the Sooner being armed only with a dumpy level and their wits. Yeah. Morgan State moves to round two.
Next up: Round Two.