Everyone else that's even taken any kind of cursory glance at the bracket has already done the "What the hell's a Moc?" joke, and after looking up the athletic program at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, I've got to say they'd have had a better chance in this if they'd stuck with their original mascot. A water moccasin could actually present a challenge to a dog like a husky, as it's probably getting bitten at some point. The intermediate mascots (a moccasin, as in a shoe, and "Chief Moccanooga") could have offered some interesting matchups (Chief Moccanooga doesn't seem to be a reference to anything really, but could probably have killed a dog), but what we're left with is a mockingbird. A mockingbird driving a train, sure, but as the train only appears in the logo, it's not fair to include that in the mascot death match. Huskies advance.
#8 Brigham Young Cougars vs. #9 Texas A&M Aggies
Puma concolor is intimidating. They've got teeth and claws and I can hardly deal with housecats coming after me without nearly dying. Bonus, apparently the Apache and Walapai of Arizona regard the wail of the cougar as a harbinger of death (presumably by cougar on your carotid). Aggies have perhaps the most accurate team name (as "Aggie" simply means "student at an agricultural college", which all of the players are), but I can't imagine that any amount of schoolwork is going to help you when you hear the Wail of the Cougar (coincidentally my favorite Twisted Sister album). Also, an image search for Aggies turned up this camel-dog-with-makeup-that-evidnetly-sings unholy driver cover. As far as I know, this is offered from an independent agency and the camel-dog-from-the-underwold isn't technically the mascot of Texas A&M, but it's too frightening not to include.
Enjoy the nightmares
Brigham Young wins.
#5 Purdue Boilermakers vs. #12 Northern Iowa Panthers
It's going to be tough to beat a train. I suppose that you could make an argument that an actual "boilermaker" is the guy that makes them, but he's probably pretty handy with a wrench and I wouldn't want to fight one. Given that the actual mascot is the Boilermaker Special, a train, I'm going with that. As much as I made the case during the last matchup for the ferocity of a giant cat, it's not doing anything but getting run over here. Purdue moves on.
#4 Washington Huskies vs. #13 Mississippi State Bulldogs
This matchup makes me feel uncomfortably like Michael Vick. I can't tell from a picture of the mascot whether the bulldog in question is of the British or American variety, but considering that it's Mississippi, I'll presume it's American. Huskies can run across Alaska and have the nifty heterochromia thing on their side, but I'm pretty sure a bulldog could bite my arm off if it really felt like it. Given the two, I am going to go with the bulldog based on nothing in particular. Mississippi State with the upset.
#6 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. #11 Utah State Aggies
I appreciate the specificity. It's finally not just an eagle, it's a specific eagle. It also makes me think of Coach, but those were the Screaming Eagles, so I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's just a fond nostalgia for Bill Fagerbakke.
"Lovable Dimwitted Assistant Coach" Bill Fagerbakke, not "Neo-Nazi Prison Guard" Bill Fagerbakke
I'm actually going to go with the Aggies here, as I imagine that they'd be able to figure out how to kill an eagle (either directly or by manipulating the ecosystem), even if they have chosen willingly to live in Utah. Utah State wins.
#3 Missouri Tigers vs. #14 Cornell Big Red
Since Big Red's an abstract team name, I'm going with their mascot, Big Red Bear, making this matchup awesome. Tiger vs. Bear is the sort of death match that should be on an album cover or, failing that, Fox. I'm going with the Tigers for two reasons. First, while bears are terrifying and spend their time killing you in Werner Herzog movies, they spend a lot of their time hibernating (important in March). Secondly, the mascot appears to have some sort of back issues.
"Oh crap. I have to turn in this logo, but I've got no idea how to draw a bear's hindquarters. They're got giant tumors, right?"
Missouri moves on.
#7 California Golden Bears vs. #10 Maryland Terrapins
I grew up with the concept that turtles, if given enough toxic waste and a giant rat as a teacher, can learn martial arts and protect reporters in yellow jumpsuits. As I've gotten older, I've learned that dumping toxic waste on turtles causes protests, that giant rats are riddled with disease, and that reporters in jumpsuits don't deserve protection.
Maybe she minored in Auto Repair. I still don't get it.
Given that this is a bear going up against a standard turtle with no superpowers or junk food, Cal takes this in a walk.
#2 Memphis Tigers vs. #15 Cal State Northridge Matadors
Another Tiger versus this year's bullfighters (as San Diego's Toreros aren't in the tournament), and though I went with the human last time, I'm going to say that the tiger wins this. Sure, the Matador has got the sword and the banderillas and the big fancy cape, but all the impressive cape-twirls in the world aren't going to stop Montecore here from tearing a leg off. Memphis advances.
East Region, Round One when I get a chance.