I long ago gave up on actually putting this together in time to actually fill out a bracket, so if you're using this as an actual guide in your office pool, you shouldn't do that. That's a terrible idea on several levels.
Links below to each section of the bracket as they are published, but let's get things started.
First Four (Or, More Writing for Me, I guess. (Or, The Silver Skates))
#16 Hampton Pirates vs. #16 Manhattan Jaspers
Every year that I do this, I look forward to dealing with mascots where the school hasn't gone the well-trod "Bear/Big Cat/Elder Thing" route. Like your UCLA Bruins, your Missouri Tigers, or your Nyarlathotep University Fightin' Crawlin' Chaoses. Hampton's got a blue (and from their logo, pleasingly circular) seaman with guns and swords and things, and Manhattan's got a Franciscan who used to coach baseball there (and is apparently a claimant to having been the inventor of the Seventh Inning Stretch). I imagine he's got a bat, but this doesn't go his way.
He's sadly caught off guard while singing about Cracker-Jack.
#11 Boise State Broncos vs. #11 Dayton Flyers
Listen, Boise State. I get it. You like things really, really blue, and I support that. And of terms one can use to describe a horse, Bronco is up there. Certainly better than the Boise State Foals Who are Learning To Walk and It's Adorable.
But Dayton has a ridiculous man with goggles and a pilot's license. No contest.
Apparently he's also welding at some point? I'm not sure why the tint on the goggles.
#16 North Florida Ospreys vs. #16 Robert Morris Colonials
So the Ospreys are new. I don't think I've ever had to write about them before, though I've probably considered them in my own, private mascot deathmatch considerations, what with the Osprey being a sea hawk and Seattle being a thing. As much as I want to like Ozzie the Osprey, though, the Colonials presumably have a gun and a yearning to assert their rights as Englishmen.
|"Robert Morris circa 1876" by Ole Erekson|
Financier, Founding Father and Enemy to all Ospreys
Robert Morris advances.
#11 Brigham Young Cougars vs. #11 Ole Miss Rebels
Oh hey, it's a Bear vs. Big Cat fight. A fight between a cougar and an antebellum plantation owner would have been interesting both logistically and politically, but here we are. I'm tempted to start flipping coins for the "large animal with claws" fights, but I don't think I need to here. Rebel Black Bear has two strikes on him. First, the name. I get that there was resistance to retiring Colonel Reb, but "Rebel Black Bear" is just this side of "Fierce School Mascot #5".
Second, he's wearing slacks. I'm sorry. No.
|I mean, if he were fighting Captain Dockers, maybe, but as it stands, no.|
Brigham Young advances.