I realize that the Mascot Bracket is entirely divorced from reality, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to spend a fair amount of time trying to figure out how a bulldog could possibly put up a fight against a jaguar.
I'd default to just looking at what the mascots themselves look like.
So then. On one hand, we've got a surprisingly long bulldog named Spike with a pronounced underbite, sad eyes and sagging ankles.Southern University, on the other hand, has an actual Jaguar named Lacumba. Which seems like it'd be dangerous for either the actual Bulldog or the student in the Spike suit.
Let's check in with Wikipedia. Maybe Jaguars are natural pacifists or have taken a species wide vow to promote manners or something.
The jaguar has an exceptionally powerful bite, even relative to the other big cats. This allows it to pierce the shells of armoured reptiles and to employ an unusual killing method: it bites directly through the skull of prey between the ears to deliver a fatal bite to the brain.
Holy damn. We're all George Romero-esque zombies in the eyes of the Jaguar. I'm sorry, Spike. This thing bites you in the brain.
Southern University advances. Someone keep jaguars the hell away from me.
#8 Pittsburgh Panthers vs. #9 Wichita State Shockers
WuShock is weird. Which benefits him here. Panthers are researchable. I can figure out generally how a panther is likely to hunt and kill its prey, and what it would do if confronted with something that wanted to kill it. A shock of wheat, though? What am I supposed to do with that?
I can't tell if that's a turtleneck or if that's just how shirts fit on wheat. I rarely dress wheat.
I'm amused by the fact that they chose the shock of wheat and then slapped a scowl on him because mascots need a scowl. That's pretty forward thinking towards a time in which (in the near future) teams will become irrelevant and the competition will rightfully be held between mascots.
My problem here is that I'm not sure how you kill a shock of wheat. It's already been harvested, so I guess the panther could just wait for the wheat to dry up. Panthers are obligate carnivores, so it won't eat the wheat. I guess fire could be a potential method of dealing with WuShock, but I really, really hope we haven't fallen into some horrible dimension where panthers can start fires.
When it comes down to it though, I also can't come up with a way in which some wheat will be able to beat a panther. I guess we are just left with the stalemate until the wheat dries up and crumbles.
Ole Miss retired Colonel Reb in 2003, and took most of a decade to come up with a replacement. If they'd stuck with the Confederate officer, this would be a pretty strange fight to have to consider. Sure, Col. Reb probably has some firearms, or at the very least some manner of either functional or ceremonial sword, but he's also clearly in his seventies and looks suspiciously like Colonel Sanders.
I'm not sure if having the character be from the 1880s or so was supposed to blunt the politics of the mascot or what, but an old man fighting a badger has got some potential.
Rebel Black Bear is a bear, which would normally be covered by my "bears are basically monsters" rule, but for some reason I'm not feeling it here. Maybe it's because "Rebel Black Bear" is the most uninspiring name for a mascot that exists. Maybe it's because he's wearing Dockers. He should be able to destroy the badger, but in slacks?
Yes. I know the badger is wearing a sweater. Somehow, that seems ok for the moment, mostly because it's really cold in the northern midwest right now.
I'm going to say tenacity beats out pleats.
#4 Kansas State Wildcats vs. #13 La Salle Explorers
Every year I've done this, I've made some comment about how Wildcats really aren't as fierce a competitor as they'd have you believe, since they're effectively the size of domestic cats. They're not exactly feral cats (which are definitely not much of a threat so long as they don't attack you with rabies), but I really can't imagine they'd be able to do much to stop pretty much any other mascot from doing what they will.
To say nothing of the fact that the mascot is just a head. They're barely trying. Or they are trying, and Willie is the result of some horrible genetic experimentation, in which case they should stop trying.
The Explorer looks like Tom Savini in a Union uniform, but I've got to believe he'd be able to take down a cat if for no other reason than if a generic explorer were turned away by a cat, we'd basically have never found anything as a species outside of direct line of sight.
La Salle advances.