Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fifth Annual Murphspot Mascot Bracket, Midwest, Round Two

#1 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. #9 Alabama Crimson Tide

 The problem with being an abstract mascot is that you’re going to have some difficulty defining yourself enough to be useful in a mascot bracket. Sure, the Crimson Tide have Al the Elephant, but focusing on the “Tide” part of “Crimson Tide”, we’ve got a mascot where you’ll be able to just wait for six hours and it’ll go away on its own. I even checked the Crimson Tide IMDB page to try to find a justification here. On one hand, the sub was the USS Alabama, hence the name, but a quick (by which I mean needlessly extensive and far too much work for a joke) check of the cast shows no one who’s actually a North Carolina native who could act as a source for intel in the all important mascot battle.

Things I’d forgotten: James Gandolfini was in this. 

As far as whether North Carolinians are going to be able to hold off a tide; they’ve got lighthouses. I’ve seen them. They’re tall and occasionally no longer used but demonstrate that, if nothing else, they’ll be able to tell when the tide is doing things; mostly so they can ignore it and go back to working on the Andy Griffith Colossus.  

North Carolina advances.  

#12 California Golden Bears vs. #4 Michigan Wolverines

I get the ferocity, the tendency to bring down larger animals, and the 1860s era Adamantium-fused Canadians with a healing factor. I get all that. But what it comes down to is that even if the Wolverines are the largest member of the weasel family, they’re still a member of the weasel family.

Indisputable fact: The best alternate name for wolverines: “Quickhatch”. Also a pretty great name for a jam band, or an affiliate of the A-Team.

The Golden Bear, according to mythology, is a 1,500 pound bear. That’s a small car. Or a huge pumpkin from Maryland.

I’m going to assume that even if the wolverine can kill animals larger than itself, there’s a limit.  

California advances  

#6 San Diego State Aztecs vs. #14 Belmont Bruins

This is always the case, isn’t it? A few years ago we wound up very Tiger-heavy, and this year it’s getting to be a bit much with the bears. Brown bears, in this instance, who as far as I can tell mostly hang out in Western Canada and Alaska on this continent, which doesn’t really overlap with the area of Central Mexico historically controlled by the Aztec Empire. I’m not sure who this benefits.

On one hand, I guess you could say the Aztecs would never have fought a brown bear specifically (though I think the strategy for fighting one type of bear transfers across bear breeds). On the other hand, I’m pretty sure a brown bear would stand there dumbfounded, trying to figure out what an atlatl is until such time as it’s got a spear in the face.

Turns out you can hunt deer with these in Alabama. I don’t know whether that will be relevant for anyone reading this, but I figured I’d include it on the off chance that it was. If I have atlatl wielding readers, that's either awesome or frightening. 

San Diego State advances.  

#10 Purdue Boilermakers vs. #15 Detroit Titans

Good on Purdue for diversifying. They’ve got, as a mascot, a train, the guy who makes trains, a shot and a beer, and a jazz band that I used to go see at the Wightman Building in Squirrel Hill.

Purdue Pete seems perennially surprised. 

At least a few of those appeal to me specifically, which is a good way to get bumped up in the mascot bracket. The problem with making your mascot a train is that it’s prone to breakdowns and derailments, and of course if you actually want to have a chance at hurting another mascot, you’ve got to hope it wanders across your path. Titans, being deities, can probably handle knocking the train the hell over, rendering it harmless. As long as the train isn’t named Zeus.  

Detroit advances.

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