Monday, April 04, 2011

4th Annual Murphspot Mascot Bracket - Sweet Sixteen

#8 George Mason Patriots vs. #11 UAB Blazers

I really don't know what it says about me as an American that I'm doubting how well the Father of the Bill of Rights is going to do against a giant, fire-breathing lizard. Notably, George Mason (who I'm going to take as the mascot for the George Mason Patriots because that seems sort of reasonable) was one of the delegates who refused to sign the Constitution because he didn't to support it without adding a Bill of Rights, which at the very least has got to say something for the degree to which he's willing to stick to his guns. I'd credit him with the fact that no troops are currently quartered in my apartment, but the Third Amendment only specifies that the government needs the owner's permission, and I am certainly not the owner. There's not as much room for debate with a dragon as there is with the Constitution and its Amendments, I'm guessing. Dragons don't care if they have prior approval to burn you, then tear your body asunder. They just do it. Then they go do something else. Because the maiming people gets boring after a while. Anyway, UAB advances.

#6 Xavier Musketeers vs. #2 University of North Carolina Tar Heels

Human/human matchups are rife with possibilities for me to completely make up a reason why one mascot should win over another. Musketeers, I think, carry with them an implication of some sort of battle training given that they're actually part of a formal military, but Tar Heels (as I've noted) get points for standing their ground and, because the name was coined at a later point in history, probably have better weaponry than muskets. The Xavier musketeer is pretty clearly supposed to be French, given that he's named D'Artagnan (presumably based on Dumas' D'Artagnan, who was based on the historical Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan).

The "hand-on-hip" pose and puffy collar not withstanding, the guy did still have a gun

While the Tar Heels mascot, if we want to be pedantic about it, is Rameses the Ram. Who has some impressive horns, but if it's male sheep vs. guy with a gun we're talking about, I'm going to have to give it to the guy with the gun. Xavier advances.

#8 Michigan Wolverines vs. #13 Oakland Golden Grizzlies

I'm starting to reconsider whether the Wolverines can count the fact that they share a mascot name with a Marvel character as a positive, or whether it works against them. If you do a Google Image Search for "wolverine", it's not wolverines. It's mostly pictures of Hugh Jackman in varying states of undress and even more widely varying states of about-to-cut-into-you-with-adamandium-adapted-bone-claws. Threatening, sure, but it doesn't tell me much about either wolverines or Michigan. Yeah, they're ferocious things, but I have the nagging feeling that a Bear could kill a Wolverine. Perhaps its the published account of a bear killing a wolverine for trying to steal its kill. Sure, that was a black bear, but I've got to think a grizzly would be up to the task.

Oakland advances.

#14 Bucknell Bisons vs. #2 San Diego State Aztecs

Given that part of the issue with Bison is that humans, as a species, have gotten really good at killing all of them, this doesn't seem like it'll be much of a fight. The bison's got a weight advantage, sure, but it's still a giant target that likes to hang out in areas without a lot of cover, and we've established that at the very least, the San Diego State Aztec has a spear. Probably an atlatl. Which has gone from "indispensable war and hunting weapon" to "thing the guys from Make magazine can teach you how to build so that you can throw spears at soccer fields"

So there's that. Still, I'm not sure the bison has a plan for that, other than "get speared" and "die as quickly as possible." SDSU advances

#8 UNLV Runnin' Rebels vs. #5 Vanderbilt Commodores

I'm still having nightmares about the Lionel Ritchie golem, but it's time to move on and pick a winner out of this increasingly human/bear-centric matchup. The Runnin' Rebels are probably going to have some ground to cover in terms of formal training. As a bonus (from Vanderbilt's perspective), I have serious doubts about whether the Runnin' Rebels mascot has a firm grasp of early 80's home computing.

It's just baffling. I have no idea.

Now, UNLV's in the middle of the desert, and Commodore is a navy rank so there's potential for battlefield leveling owing to unfamiliarity with terrain, but out of the two, the adaptability edge has got to go to Vanderbilt. Hats notwithstanding, Vanderbilt advances.

#3 Purdue Boilermakers vs. #10 Florida State Seminoles

The Boilermakers generally last until they run into a human mascot, and I don't think this year is going to be any different. The problem with being a train and trying to go into a fight to the death is that as long as whoever you're fighting is not standing on the track, you're pretty much fighting to a tie at best. If your opponent has the ability to board you and wreck what makes you able to move, you've more or less lost. Actually, that last bit applies whether you're a train or not. Then, of course, there's the bit where the actual mascot apparently has molded plastic hair and lifeless, terrifying eyes.
Oh dear. It appears to have taken my soul.

Yeah, I'm going to go with the Seminoles on this one. Florida State advances.

#9 Old Dominion Monarchs vs. #13 Belmont Bruins

I don't know many monarchs, but I'm pretty sure the preparations for ruling a nation is more focused on etiquette and propriety and less on what to do when you find yourself trapped in a fight to the death with a bear. The skills that come in handy when trying to inspire (or supress) a people so that they won't revolt and attempt to install a less autocratic form of government probably isn't of too much use when the 900 pound thing with claws wants you dead. I've got to go with the bear on this one. Belmont advances.

#3 Brigham Young Cougars vs. #10 Michigan State Spartans

I've been mostly going with humans over animals, which I don't think nature entirely bears out. Evidently, according to the very convenient List of fatal cougar attacks in North America Wikipedia page, 23 people were killed by cougars in the last 120 years. But they do attack if they feel cornered, which an attacking Spartan with a giant head would certainly qualify for.


Apparently cougars try to go for the neck, which might not work for the Spartans mascot as he has no neck, but it does imply that cougars strategize, which is terrifying enough that I'm never going outside again. That, plus the fact that cougars are still around, and this one actually goes to BYU. Brigham Young advances.

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