#1 Louisville Cardinals vs. #16 Liberty Flames
I went back and forth on this more than is warranted by a goofy mascot tournament. On one hand, if this is a straight-up bird battle, Liberty seems to have the edge; they've got a bird-of-prey as their mascot, whereas Louisville has a seed-eating songbird whose defining characteristic is not being able to hide well unless it's autumn or it has selected the CNA Center as the field of battle.Rams
On the other hand, it bugs me when teams have a nickname that doesn't at all correspond to their mascot. I'm sort of fine with it when the name is something abstract, but if the UIC Flames can have a dragon who is also named Sparky, I feel Liberty could have put some more effort into this.
Sparky D. Dragon is not relevant to this bracket, as UIC isn't in the tournament, but he's a dragon wearing sneakers. He stays.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Bird has some manner of mutation wherein he's been granted teeth and a frightening musculature and if you're ever in a car wreck caused by low blood sugar, he will pull you from the wreckage and comfort you. Actually, that alone is enough to sway it, at least for this round.
#8 Colorado State Rams vs #9 Missouri Tigers
Listen, I don't want to impugn the reputation of the noble bighorn sheep. I'm sure they're wonderful creatures who I wouldn't want to run into in a dark alley.
Mostly because I would start to have to question what life choices I'd made that had sent me down an alley with livestock. But maybe there's some sort of farm show I'm near and I'm within minutes of getting some fried cheese curds. That'd be fine.
I might stop the mascot bracket prematurely to just go sit at the Wisconsin State Fair grounds and wait.
In any case, the fact of the matter is that however effective CAM the Ram would be at fighting other rams, Mizzou's got a tiger. A tiger will kill a ram, eventually, regardless of the surrounding circumstances.
#5 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. #12 Oregon Ducks
Ducks are fun. A duck once flew at my head, and it was startling. Frightening, though? I'm not sure I'd be able to get behind the idea that ducks are frightening.
Particularly not if the duck is wearing a jaunty beanie.
To be fair, if this were a matchup between the Duck and the Houston Cougars, I'd have actual precedent to run with as that has already happened.
I don't think they let you call yourself a cowboy if you can't successfully fight a duck. I'm pretty sure whatever cowboy credentials the Federal Cowboy Agency grants you are revoked.
Oklahoma State advances.
#4 St. Louis Billikens vs. #13 New Mexico State Aggies
Damn it, Billiken, I had just recovered.
I get it. Sort of. The Billiken is based on a doll designed by a Missouri art teacher in the early 1900s and it's supposed to be a good luck totem and may or may not have resembled a football coach at SLU. So that's one thing.
Of course, its foam-rubber mascot form is full of life and happiness and is some sort of vampire bat thing which is in your closet right now (that last bit is best read if you've turned off all of the lights and are reading this alone while a squeaky windvane is just outside your window.)
The Aggies nickname is pretty indistinguishable from the other aggies, but the mascot's got a Mustache of Justice and a Righteoulsly-Oversized-Belt-Buckle of Fury.
I'm going to hope that whatever precious metal you need to stop a Billiken is castable into something that'll fire from those revolvers because someone stop it it's coming for me please send help.
New Mexico State advances.