#16 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. #4 Michigan Wolverines
Wolverines have a reputation for ferocity, but I'm not sure how well just being ferocious is going to hold up against the screaming terror that is Big Red.
He's also got time for the occasional bit of solemn contemplation.
Part of the issue is that while they've got a team name, Michigan doesn't actually have a mascot. There's that wolverine from the 1920s who kept trying to kill his handlers (though, to be fair to the wolverine, we only really have the handlers' account of the whole thing), but even if we presume some sort of temporal anomaly that allows the Jazz Age wolverine to compete against Big Red, he'll be dazed by the advances in technology, commercial flight and the noted absence of Jelly Roll Morton.
Wolverine Blues, indeed.
I'm sure the wolverine would put up a fight, but Big Red abandoned fear when he donned the WKU lettering. I"m guessing he just swings his giant head open and tosses the wolverine in.
Western Kentucky advances.
#6 UCLA Bruins vs. #7 San Diego State Aztecs
I've been pretty emphatic in my belief that bears are basically monsters, and Joe Bruin is no different. He's three-quarters of a ton of claws and fury in light blue shorts, and I can't decide whether the shorts make him less intimidating (because it's a bear wearing shorts) or more intimidating (because he clearly doesn't care).
Fun fact: Brown bears are serially monogamous and are constantly doing this sort of nonsense.
Luckily for the Aztec, bears aren't really pack animals, because if they were humans would never have stuck around long enough to come up with college basketball. As the Aztec mascot exists as part of a standing army, he's got the ability to strategize and figure out how to take down a bear before it rips his head off. Atlatls, maybe, which I've read can be quite accurate. Most YouTube videos I've found regarding atlatls seem to throw that into question, but then again most of them are made by guys in Rockford who throw darts at stuff for fun.
Who am I kidding? I sort of want an atlatl now.
I'll assume the San Diego State Aztec is pretty good at things.
San Diego State advances.
#8 North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. #5 UNLV Rebels
Mr. and Mrs. Wuf are at least nominally part of a Wolfpack, but I also get the feeling they spend most of their time looking for yard sales and spoiling their grandkids. It's the sweaters and souvenir hats, I think.
If this were a competition about building models of tall ships, Mr. Wuf would win hands down.
On the other side of things, we've got Hey Reb, who will devour your soul in an unspeakably terrifying ceremony.
He just wants a hug! And to siphon all of your good memories!
Hey Reb also has a slightly less "buttoned-down surburbanite" vibe to him. More of a "lives in the middle of the desert and spends most of his time focused on his mustache, occasionally staggering into town to scream something about the Lizard Overlords Who Control Us All" sort of thing.
If this were the Murphspot Mascot Hat Bracket, Hey Reb would win convincingly. And why not.
#11 Bucknell Bison vs. #15 Pacific Tigers
I like Bucky the Bison. He's the size of a sedan, can move about as fast (if the sedan's in a residential neighborhood) and he seems genuinely pleased by the whole situation.
A little surprised, sure, but happy. Like he just found out he's going to a theme park.
Power Cat, on the other hand, has quickly become a grizzled veteran of the Mascot Bracket by virtue of the fact that he's been apparently designed to be grizzled.
The issue here is that I set out in the Rules at the beginning of this iteration of the bracket that Precedent Counts. As Power Cat has already taken care of the Colorado Buffalo, I'll have to apply the same result here, which leads me to regrettably take the Bison out of consideration. Which is a shame, because he had such a promising career as the head of a crime syndicate.