Sunday, March 29, 2015

2015 Murphspot Mascot Bracket: Finale

How devoted am I to the completion of the Mascot Bracket? This special edition of the final matches is being posted from some sort of odd basement gate at Dublin International on a tablet, which Blogger seems to be struggling with. Updates to clean up the format will be completed soon. But the bracket must go on.

#13 Valparaiso Crusaders vs. #7 Wichita State Shockers

Considering that the Crusaders advanced to this point via clumsily thrown shield, I'm not entirely confident in their prospects. The thing is, for the most part, the shield is what the Crusader seems to rely on in terms of hand weapons. That works if he's Captain America. He is not Captain America.

His opponent, in the mean time, has acquired the ability to control plant life in the time since this bracket started. One could suggest that he's going to win by some sort of Wheat Sorcery, as he has so far, but I don't think that's the case here. 

Not a lot of people know this, but WuShock was the sixth of the Istari sent by the Valar to help stop Sauron. He's like Radagast, but wheatier.

Instead, one imagines that WuShock's attunement with crops would allow him to go after the Crusader's ability to feed himself and his comrades. The Crusader puts up a valiant effort, but in the end his reliance on grain products is his downfall. Mascot battle burns a lot of calories, and he won't be able to keep fighting for long.

Wichita State advances.

#9 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs #6 Xavier Musketeers

I see Pistol Pete as being pretty practical. He's wearing clothing appropriate to his setting, including a giant orange hat which not only shields him from the sun, but also allows other members of the Pistol Pete Contingent to easily locate him so that they don't wind up hitting his giant head while in the middle of the Rite of the Revolver.

The Musketeer is certainly jolly, but I think that at this point, he's going to be a bit too reliant on ceremony to succeed here. The Mascot Bracket is a fight in a gutter, and Pistol Pete's Neckerchief seems more suited to the environment than D'Artagnan the Musketeer's pillowy sleeves.

Oklahoma State advances.

#12 Wyoming Cowboys vs. #2 Virginia Cavaliers

Wyoming's Pistol Pete follows the general trend of cowboy-appropriate attire in conjunction with a carefree attitude, a giant improbable chin and a mustache like he's on the 1970's Oakland A's. There's a lot to support there and now that I've had to look back and forth between the myriad Pistol Petes in the tournament, Wyoming Pistol Pete has grown on me.

CavMan, on the other hand, varies between a doorknocker goatee and a Van Dyke based on the design of the character of the time. He's certainly got more military training than Pistol Pete, but I think his reliance on the sabre might be his downfall. While he's working out which crossbeam he can attach a rope to in order to dramatically swing in, Pistol Pete is at the ready with a six-shooter. It's the sort of "finesse vs. practicality" that I think we settled when Harrison Ford was ill that one time.

Wyoming advances.

#9 St. John's Red Storm vs. #14 UAB Blazers

St. John's has been skating along pretty well mostly on the novelty of their mascot/name. That's all well and good, though I do think that in electing to hire Johnny Thunderbird as their mascot, they may have missed out on a licensing opportunity with Marvel.

Actually, now that I write that, it seems like UAB could have done the same sort of licensing deal by appending "Johnny" (though through a less straightforward rationale than St. John's is employing), but if it results in an awful movie about the Human Torch fighting Ghost Rider, I'm sort of down. 

But that's not the world we live in. We live in the world of Johnny Thunderbird, whose tenacity I'm not really doubting, but who is, in the end, a bird. I just honestly can't see how to have a bird, even as one as interested in his car's sound system as Johnny Thunderbird, winning over a dragon.

UAB advances.

#7 Wichita State Shockers vs. #9 Oklahoma State Cowboys

WuShock has already defeated part of the Pistol Pete Triumvirate in combat, and I assume has absorbed his essence. 

Oh, also, new rule for 2015, the basic principles of Highlander can be instituted pretty much at will. Sword combat, the Quickening, Sean Connery playing a Spaniard, the whole thing. 

WuShock has probably absorbed a soul or two in his day.

So, given that, it seems as though WuShock would probably have learned enough from his victory over NMSU's Pistol Pete to thwart the OSU Pistol Pete. I'm a little sad to report that this won't end in a Pistol Pete-off, which I imagine would have been mostly about mustaches and bandoliers and whether or not Clint Eastwood's character in the "Man with No Name" trilogy was simply another incarnation of the Eternal Pete.

Wichita State advances.

#13 Wyoming Cowboys vs. #14 UAB Blazers

Things continue to look bleak for our Pete heroes. It's not impossible, here, that the Wyoming Pete could eke out a victory. He's overcome a few obstacles so far, and I refuse to count out anyone with a chin that mighty. And hey, maybe the "Blazers" name doesn't actually refer to the dragon itself. Maybe this is a fight between the Final Pete and a sports jacket.

But even then, it's not looking good. Wyoming Pete's sense of fashion will not be compromised, which is why he's no longer invited to formal-attire occasions. Sure, he misses out on some fine catering, but relinquishing his vest, his chaps and his big goofy hat would compromise who he is as a person.

In the end, whether he's fighting a garment or a dragon wearing the garment, there's no path forward for Pete. He yields, either to his determination to keep pulling off the cowboy look come hell or high water, or because Blaze breathes fire. One of the two.

UAB advances, and The Pistols Pete will have to try again in 2016.

#9 Wichita State Shockers vs. #14 UAB Blazers

And here we are. Dragon vs. Grain Elemental. And, I believe, two former Champions of the Murphspot Mascot Bracket. So, we don't have the pesky specter of "things that actually exist" hanging over our heads.

Over the last several years, and particularly in this bracket, WuShock has been built into some sort of Agricultural Menace, lording his power over both the flora he counts as subjects and over a bunch of well meaning Pistols Pete. 

I struggled with the outcome of this final Mascot Fight. Not only because this will be the first time in Mascot Bracket history (which I've apparently been doing since 2008) that a former victor reclaims the title, but because I'm hesitant to establish precedent that one of these mascots may become too powerful to be beaten in future brackets, unless some other school responds with a thresher or St. George, respectively.

In the end, though, the decision was clear. WuShock fought valiantly, along with his comrades (who I assume include sorghum, oats, barley and Ghostface Killah) but even his previous tactic of denying sustenance is unlikely to work here. I'm not sure that all dragons are carnivores, but Blaze certainly gives off that vibe. Also, I'm pretty sure wheat is flammable.

Blaze is victorious. The Bracket is at an End.
Your 2015 Murphspot Mascot Bracket Champions

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