Monday, April 02, 2012

Fifth Annual Murphspot Mascot Bracket: Final Four and Championship

#10 Xavier Musketeers vs. #10 Virginia Cavaliers
Oh damn,  you guys. Not only do we finally have two human mascots going up against one another, and not only are they both at least presumed to have some sort of elite military training, but they both represent very specific factions serving close to their king at the same point in history. Roughly!
The Musketeers of the Guard (Mousquetaires de la garde!) were formed under Louis XIII in 1622 and spent most of their time protecting nobles, shooting things (nominally in the name of protecting nobles, but I’m sure that there was a 17th century French equivalent of canned goods on a fence at some point) and waiting around for Alexandre Dumas to be born so that their story could eventually be romanticized, and then summarized by Wishbone.

Caution: If you actually ask Wishbone “What’s the story?”, he will cut you.
The Cavaliers, on the other hand were the loyalist component of the English Civil War, starting in 1642 and hung around through Oliver Cromwell’s rule and the Restoration of the Monarchy. They both had their own military problems to be concerned with (the Musketeers with trying to make sure the Huguenots didn’t kill the king; the Cavaliers fighting a civil war), so it’s difficult to say how they’d have done actually fighting each other. The Musketeers lose on numbers, but win on fancy hats and keeping kings alive (Louis XIII died of tuberculosis, and Louis XIV was a king for longer than anyone’s ever been a king in Europe). The Cavaliers had that period where the kings they supported were executed, but did mount a come-from-behind victory in that the Monarchy did show back up again.
I’d say this comes down to overwhelming force against a smaller, though better trained opponent, but honestly I keep reading “Musketeer” as “Mouseketeer” and I’m not going to make it to the end of this post if that keeps happening. So overwhelming force takes it.
Virginia advances.
#13 Montana grizzlies vs. #15 Detroit Titans
The Grizzlies have gotten here mostly by virtue of being 700 pounds and having razor sharp claws and murder in their hearts, along with a little help from the fact that Monte the Grizzly in particular rides a motorcycle and wears a bandana and is probably eventually going to be the subject of a critically well-received drama on FX. There’s a problem that comes up when your main advantage is size, though, and that’s when your opponent is something that serves as the base of synonyms for “really, really big”. 
 Oh dear.
The grizzlies have the advantage over most mortal things that aren’t several hundred pounds, but the Titans don’t exactly go down easily. Hell, it apparently takes a whole new set of gods to come in, which only really serves to imprison the Titans, and even then, you’ve got myths wherein Zeus overthrows Cronus by getting him drunk and putting him in a cave.
There’s simply no way a grizzly bear is walking out of that alive.
Detroit advances.
Fifth Annual Murphspot Mascot Bracket Championship
#10 Virginia Cavaliers vs. #15 Detroit Titans
 So we've established that the Titans are somewhere between a ridiculous man with a ridiculous smile in ridiculous armor and powerful (though explicitly not omnipotent) deities. The Cavaliers had, well, horses. And swords. And their own creepy smile. And a reputation for drinking and carousing and having plumed hats, which I sympathize with. Basically all they've got on the Titans is that the Cavaliers existed, whereas the Titans didn't, except as a moon of Saturn (or moons, if we're counting things named after individual Titans as part of that set).

Even there, we're conflicted. Titan's got an atmosphere, but it's got sort of a yellow haze to it. There are oceans, but they're made of methane. There might be microbial life, but that's not terribly threatening unless we're going to give the Cavalier some sort of terrible infection. 
And while, as I mentioned, the Titans are powerful, they also have a history of failing pretty hard. I'm not sure whether the Cavaliers have Zeus' contact information, or if they've got the ability to summon an iceberg, but it's not as though the Titans are unstoppable. It's merely really hard.
What it really comes down to is the interaction between a guy with a horse, a sword, and a rifle and a Titan with a tendency to be overthrown. I'm not finding a lot about human-Titan interactions in myth, and the Titan that keeps popping up is Prometheus, who would probably have just handed the victory to the Cavalier and then gotten tortured for it. 
 Honestly, I think that's it. I'm going to say that Tommy Titan is merciful toward CavMan and allows him the victory, based solely on his humanity and his facial hair. Tommy Titan will be OK. Clint Eastwood will make a commercial for him.
This may have been unduly influenced by hat plumage.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your Fifth Annual Murphspot Mascot Champion

The Virginia Cavaliers.

Fifth Annual Murphspot Mascot Bracket, Elite Eight

#5 Wichita Shockers vs. #10 Xavier Musketeers

I've already briefly lost my mind and decided that the Animated Wheat Abominations embodied by WuShock shouldn't be affected by gunfire, as projectiles would probably pass through them pretty easily. On the other hand, it's not as though wheat's got a lot of offensive capabilities. If wheat is going to kill a musketeer, it's going to have to either be incorporated into some sort of poisonous dish (preferably of the period most closely associated with the musketeers so that he'll eat it without suspicion) or by not being there for long enough that the Musketeer starves to death.

D'artagnan, on the other hand, was mostly concerned with actual combat but did, I'm guessing, have some sort of blade which could conceivably cut through wheat.

Xavier advances.

#1 Michigan State Spartans vs. #10 Virginia Cavaliers

This is turning out to be surprisingly human heavy near the end of the bracket. It makes sense from a "we have all the weapons, and occasionally the opponent is wheat, as though this is like the inverse of an after school nutrition special" point of view, but I'm worried this is merely highlighting some sort of underlying specieism I've been trying to think I've dealt with. It's probably more the weapons thing, though.

I could get into the differences in weaponry between 4th century BC Peleponnesians and 17th century frenchmen, but it's really more relevant to my interests to note that the Virginia Cavalier mascot (the unimaginatively named CavMan) has one of the few goatees in the tournament, and it's terrifying.

Cavman's only form of communication is maniacal laughter.

The Spartan mascot (Sparty) is more muscular, but lacks facial hair entirely. Also firearms.

Virginia advances.

#13 Montana Grizzlies vs. #3 Florida State Seminoles

There's another geographical disconnect here; grizzly bears tend to hang out in the northwest, and the Florida State Seminoles are pretty solidly centered in Florida. And the Seminoles have a fighting chance, as they've got weapons and have probably taken down a bear or two in their time. That'd be great if we were dealing with a standard bear, but we've previously established that Monte (following in the tradition of giving incredibly plain names to mascots) has both a motorcycle and a bandana.

Which, as we all know, universally signifies badassery.

I can't think of much that would stand up against a 700 pound grizzly bear flying around on a motorcycle, but I'm now going to live the rest of my life terrified that that is a thing that will happen.

Montana advances.

#1 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. #15 Detroit Titans

Rameses is great, and all, but when you get right down to it, he's an oversized ram with oddly yellow horns.

I'm concerned they might be indicative of some kind of health issue.

The "Tar Heel" thing seems to literally come from tar and pitch that were produced in North Carolina. There's a "standing their ground" implication that goes along with that, but honestly, I think speed and agility is going to be significantly more important, especially when going up against a deity. The Titans, as ever, have an uncomfortably wide smile and Bruce Campbell's chin.

Detroit advances.