#9 Pittsburgh Panthers vs. #12 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
You know, I've considered whether I've had the Panthers move on because of some subconscious bias toward them, but I don't think that's the case. What do I care about having a team from Pittsburgh make it deep into the bracket?
I have no idea what could possibly lead to that conclusion.
Here though, I'm afraid that I have to give it to Stephen F. Austin. Presumably, part of the logging trade is dealing with wildlife, and if a panther is coming at you, and you've got a chainsaw, I imagine that qualifies as self-defense (if, you know, cartoonish).
And so, as it was in the famous Iceburgh v. Van Damme, this is going to have to go to the human.
Stephen F. Austin advances.
#11 Dayton Flyers vs. #15 Eastern Kentucky Colonels
You know, I know that "Kentucky Colonel" is a title of honor, but I'm not really sure what that implies. Happily, the Colonel Toast highlights some of the qualities of a Colonel.
To excerpt in case you don't feel like clicking a link, it mentions a dedication to the good things in life. It paints a picture of a gallant, patriotic individual, standing for virtue in a world darkened by hatred and misunderstanding; a symbol for inspiration and a goal to strive towards.
Unfortunately, it doesn't mention anti-aircraft capabilities.
#1 Virginia Cavaliers vs. #4 Michigan State Spartans
This is where the Spartans usually tend to trip up; they get along ok against the earlier, usually harmless-animal mascots and the endless fields of Wildcats and then run into trouble when they find a military force from a later point in history than them.
Well, for certain values of "Spartan", anyway.
Yes, the Spartans had nifty shields and short swords and big long "You really ought to stay about nine feet that way" spears, but the Cavaliers would have had actual firearms. Muskets and flintlock rifles and some larger "punch a hole in your silly phalanx" cannons and things.
#11 Providence Friars vs. #15 Milwaukee Panthers
Providence has mostly been skating by on the fact that Friar Dom absolutely terrifies me, but this seems like it might actually not go in his favor.
I'm going to keep including this in a futile attempt to conquer my fear. It isn't working.
I mean, I'm taking a risk here, and I'm probably going to have my soul devoured for this, but I'm just not seeing how he fends off a panther attack. The white cloth habit isn't going to confer any defensive bonuses and aside from creeping me out, I don't imagine there's much he can do with "humility" as a weapon.
In the end, he's a cleric where we need at the very least some manner of mage, or at the very least a ranger or two.
#9 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. #4 San Diego State Aztecs
I appreciate San Diego's headgear. To be honest, I'd be all for a return to eagle-shaped helmets in a wide variety of sport and non-sport context.
The simple fact here is that the Cowboy turned up about three centuries later than the height of power of the Aztec empire, and Oklahoma State's mascot is so into his gun that he's named after it.
Pistol Pete is victorious.
Oklahoma State advances.
#6 Baylor Bears vs. #10 Brigham Young Cougars
Oh hey! Actual large scary animals that could actually get into a fight in reality. It probably says something about where I've taken this bracket that "Bear vs. Cougar" at this point seems less obvious to me than "Wheat vs. Billiken".
Baylor's definitely got the size advantage. I would give Brigham Young speed, but part of the horror of bears is that they're pretty quick. The only advantage, then, that the Cougars have is probably in stealth, and it's just not enough here.
He's also an unsettling shade of green, so that's concerning.
#1 Wichita State Shockers vs. #5 Saint Louis Billikens
I can't quite figure out WuShock, but between the bright golden logo and the "Wu" prefix, I'm prepared to disregard the fact that he dates to the late 1940's (having previously been an unnamed shock of wheat) and assume he's Raekwon's spirit animal.
Cash Rules Everything Around Wichita
I know I've been banking on the presumption that the Billiken has some sort of mystical power here, and I don't mean to demean that. It's just that WuShock may be able to call in some formidable assistance here, and the RZA is sort of Batman.
Wichita State advances.
#11 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. #10 Arizona State Sun Devils
And so it finally comes to an end. I went with Iowa in the first round on extremely questionable grounds (considering that it was militia vs. bird or, at best, militia vs. Alan Alda).
The Iowa Alan Aldas would walk away with this tournament.
But at this point, I can't push them along any longer. I still don't know what a Sun Devil does exactly. Maybe changes the ecosystem so that the rodents Herky presumably lives off of are unable to thrive, thereby denying the Hawk of his food supply?
Sure, let's go with that.
Arizona State advances.