Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mascot Bracket 2014 - Round One - West Region

#1 Arizona Wildcats vs. #16 Weber State Wildcats

Now just what in the hell is this? I'm now expected to judge the various merits of the same damn mascot? And it's not even one of the more threatening ones?


Wilbur Wildcat, hat aside, has pretty malevolent eyes and actually makes me a bit wary. Like he might be concealing a shiv or something. Waldo Wildcat on the other hand has a big poofy face that places him squarely on the "amenable to Fancy Feast" spectrum of Wildcatness.

Arizona advances.

#8 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. #9 Oklahoma State Cowboys

I like bulldogs. They're stout, tenacious little things, and they can have a decent amount of heft to them. But at most, they're 55-60 pounds and frankly, Pistol Pete should have experience dealing with much larger fare.

Like Nightmares.

Spike the Bulldog does have that collar, I guess and might even be able to get a few good bites in, but besides the personal arms that the name Pistol Pete implies, it seems Oklahoma State could probably just throw a tennis ball really far away and be done with it.

Oklahoma State advances.

#5 Oklahoma Sooners vs. #12 North Dakota State Bison

On one hand, going by the mascots, Boomer and Sooner are Welsh Ponies, which isn't all that intimidating. On the other hand, they're named after the settlers in two waves of American expansion into the "Unassigned Lands" (though if the Civil War hadn't just happened, I imagine your opinion on whether the lands were assigned was different if you were in the Creek or Seminole nations).

And while obviously the Boomers and Sooners were pretty late to the party in terms of US Settlers, here are the population counts for Bison in 1500 and in the early twentieth century.

YearEstimated Bison Population
150030,000,000 to 60,000,000
1902Approx. 700

So, yes.

Oklahoma advances.

#4 San Diego State Aztecs vs. #13 New Mexico State Aggies

I've never really warmed to the Aggies, or at least these Aggies. I'm biased toward the unfamiliar, which is why I am browsing for Coastal Carolina Chanticleers hats that don't look ridiculous. But New Mexico State fails both at having an original name (Yes! You have an agricultural college. That's fun.) and at having an original mascot, as they share Pistol Pete with Oklahoma State.

Man can wear a vest, though.

Yes, NMSU's Pistol Pete is more dapper, but that's not what I want in a Pistol Pete. I want grit and probably some sort of debilitating aversion to baths. Meanwhile, San Diego State can just build a city-state and roll on through.

San Diego State advances.

#6 Baylor Bears vs. #11 Nebraska Cornhuskers

"Bears vs. Guy who pulls the husks off of corn" is a foregone conclusion, but I'd like to take a second to say that name notwithstanding, Lil' Red is absurd enough that I'm a fan. To not only embrace the whole cornhusker thing but to put out there as one of the faces of your team a big, happy, inflatable cousin-of-the-Bob's-Big-Boy mascot is pretty great. My extensive research (read: less than three minutes of clicking around on YouTube) suggests he flops around, which is even better.

In the end, though, bears have claws, and inflatable things don't do well with that.

Baylor advances.

#3 Creighton Blue Jays vs. #14 Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

I would love nothing more than for the Ragin' Cajuns to advance, if for no other reason that I'd like an excuse to keep listening to Calvin Borel's accent.

But this is a very serious Mascot Bracket, and the mascot I've got to work with is Cayenne, the anthropomorphic cayenne pepper. That might stand a chance against some sort of mammal with a pepper sensitivity (or against one of the other food mascots on flavor alone), but birds aren't sensitive to peppers, so this one ends with Billy the Bluejay slowly eating his opponent.

Creighton advances.

#7 Oregon Ducks vs. #10 Brigham Young Cougars

This seems like something that'd show up on one of the more tasteless and killin'-things oriented nature shows. I'm no ornithologist, but I feel like I have a reasonably good grasp of what a duck has in its bag of tricks, at least insofar as a fight to the death with a cougar is concerned.

Look at his eyes. I feel like I just told him happiness was cancelled.

I'm sorry, Oregon Duck. This doesn't go your way.

Brigham Young advances.

#2 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #15 American Eagles

Badgers have a reputation for being pretty fierce, despite my opinions on Bucky Badger's penchant for sweaters.

Note: Even with the sweater, I'm still a little scared of Bucky

I'm a bit torn about the American Eagles. On one hand, the name "The American Eagles" makes me want to go buy fireworks and concentrated Freedom while watching baseball with a cadre of Country-Western singers. On the other hand, omitting the "the" and just being left with "American Eagles" makes me feel like I'm in a mall.

Which I guess is also pretty American.

Works for me.

American advances.

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