Last year, at first, I just sort of accepted that Duke's name was a references to Les Diables Bleus, a french military group. That may have been a bit hasty. There's also the Australian plant. And the mythological devils that bring sadness. Which is pretty weak. And the Graphic Design lion is a pretty formidable opponent. In the end, my nerdiness kicked in and reminded me of Blue Devil. Graphic Design Lion is impressive, but Blue Devil's got the Trident of Lucifer and a healing factor. Duke advances
#8 California Golden Bears vs. #9 Louisville Cardinals
I'm no ornithologist, but I'm pretty sure that if you're surrounded by Cardinals, you're going to be ok as long as you're not seeds. Which the Golden Bears most certainly aren't. I guess you could argue that they should get some sort of bonus in the threat department now that they're getting hitting instruction from Mark McGwire, but that's too much of a stretch even for me. Cal advances.
#5 Texas A&M Aggies vs. #12 Utah State Aggies
The Clemson/Missouri Tiger vs. Tiger match was at least made a bit more sensible by the fact that there are a lot of schools that share the "Tigers" team name. Aggies? I don't know. I could compare the programs, I guess, and try to determine which school turns out the superior Agricultural students, but that violates the point of the mascot bracket. A comparison of their mascots reveals the victor. Texas A&M has a Collie called Reveille. Utah State has a smug looking bull called "Big Blue". Seriously, look at the way he's standing. He doesn't have time for this. Utah State Advances
#4 Purdue Boilermakers vs. #13 Siena Saints
Saints might be threatening if we were talking about people who have been canonized, but as far as I can tell, the Siena Saints mascot is a St. Bernard. I know, the way this mascot bracket has been going it has to seem like I hate dogs. I don't. I like dogs. I just don't think they're suited for battle. Boilermakers (if they refer to steelworkers) have welding equipment and a pretty awesome mask. The Purdue mascot, the Boilermaker Special, is a train. In the eternal battle of dog vs. train, train wins. Purdue advances.
#6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. #11 Old Dominion Monarchs
Oh hey, it's the politically loaded NCAA matchup. Yeah, technically the mascot of the Old Dominion monarchs is a crown-wearing lion swatting with his paw the way most cats I've been around do when they want you to go away. On the other hand, Ireland is still not part of the United Kingdom, and monarchies are well known for lounging around in rooms filled with gold. Can't buy me a second round berth. Notre Dame advances.
#3 Baylor Bears vs. #14 Sam Houston State Bearkats
Ridiculous misspellings aside, I'm begining to become concerned about the prevalence of bears in the second round. And the prevalence of bears in my neighborhood in Chicago, but that's just my personal paranoia kicking in. Bearcats (or Binturongs!) are the size of large cats, and I just really can't think of a situation in which that's going to take down a bear. Baylor advances, but I don't feel very good about it.
#7 Richmond Spiders vs. #10 Saint Mary's Gaels
I personally really, really dislike spiders. I'm not alone in that; during an interview for NPR's "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me", Phillipe Petit, the tightrope walker that walked between the World Trade Center buildings said that he was afraid of things with "too many legs or not enough legs." WHich makes me feel better. But even if spiders were as dangerous as my brain keeps telling me they are, the Gael depicted in St. Mary's team logo has armor and a sword and, presumably, a shoe. Saint Mary's advances and helps to rid the world of the arachnid menace.
#2 Villanova Wildcats vs. #15 Robert Morris Colonials
The thing about this is that my graduate school, Northwestern, is the Wildcats. So you'd think I'd have some sort of interest in seeing at least one wildcat make it past the first round. I don't. The mascot bracket is unassailable. And even if I wanted to give Villanova a break, what the hell is the cat on top of the V doing? If a cat did that to me while crouching on a huge V, I would shove it the hell off. Not in a way that would hurt it, of course. It would need to understand that that kind of shit is unacceptable. The colonials depicted have guns, but even if they were just colonials in the sense that they live in a colony, they'd be able to take care of a cat. Robert Morris advances.
End of Round One.