#1 Duke Blue Devils vs. #16 Robert Morris Colonials
Basically two ways this could go, as every year. Either we acknowledge the whole Les Diables Bleus World War I Alpinist unit Duke is invoking and wind up in the "Which military force would win?" question that I'm pretty sure makes actual historians set fire to things, or we focus on the actual foam rubber mascots. If we go with the former, Duke wins through actual training (and not just being "people who lived in a colony). If the latter, it probably goes to RMU as the Blue Devil is more inexplicable than threatening, while the Colonial has the sort of jawline that I assume is formed explicitly so that he can bite through steel.
|Additionally, that is a hell of a coat.|
Also, I could be sort of a homer and go with the team from Pittsburgh (well, Moon, but you know what I mean). That might impact the integrity with which this bracket is viewed worldwide.
And I'm ok with that.
Robert Morris advances.
#8 San Diego State Aztecs vs. #9 St. John's Red Storm
Typically, the Aztecs do well in the Mascot Bracket, but I don't believe they've gone up against St. John's Red Storm before. In their favor, they've got actual weaponry and a pretty awesome helmet on their mascot.
But I don't feel like I can ignore the fact that the Red Storm sounds like the fighting force of a Silver Age comic book villain. Probably in a Captain America book.
Combine that with the fact that their mascot's name is Johnny Thunderbird and I can't help but give this to St. John's. Johnny Thunderbird sounds like the name of a guy who just drives around town with no particular goal in mind except that everyone within earshot should hear his sweet, sweet sound system blaring Whitesnake.
|Yes, Johnny Thunderbird. Here you go again on your own. We get it.|
St. John's advances.
#5 Utah Utes vs. #12 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
I'm not going to go into the inevitable My Cousin Vinny tangent, except to say that I spent more time writing this bracket than I'd originally intended because I found it necessary to go watch the end of My Cousin Vinny.
The Lumberjacks are the reigning champions, mostly on the strength of their "dude in flannel with an axe" platform. Well, I say dude in flannel with an axe; I should specify that I'm assuming the SFA Lumberjack has some expertise in the field of Lumberjacking. Hell, I've been alternately a dude in flannel and a dude with an axe (though never at the same time, I don't think) and I'm certainly no threat, but I'm guessing the SFA Lumberjack is more confident that he won't manage to lop off a limb than I am.
|If this were the mascot, I'd just retire the Bracket entirely.|
Considering that the Utes are countering with a hawk named Swoop, I'm not sure this works out for them. At the very least, their opponent being someone whose job it is to knock down trees can't help for simple habitat displacement reasons. Also, he's got an axe.
Stephen F. Austin advances.
#4 Georgetown Hoyas vs. #13 Eastern Washington Eagles
This is the second entry in a row where one of the combatants being trotted out is a predatory bird named Swoop. I'm starting to genuinely get concerned that soon, all mascots will coalesce into a small few and we'll replace the fine art of being in a foam rubber costume while people play basketball with a Saturday Morning Cartoon about the adventures of Swoop and Pistol Pete.
|He does have the disdainful gaze down pretty well.|
Ignoring the Hoya Saxa thing for a second, and realizing that this doesn't help my image as some sort of anti-dog tyrant, Jack the Bulldog is likely pretty tenacious, but he's still a relatively small dog that I've got to think the eagle could at least try to pick up. I'm not sure if the spiked collar would act as a disincentive. Not enough of one anyway.
|For some reason, wearing the hat and nothing else is a little unsettling.|
#6 Southern Methodist Mustangs vs. #11 UCLA Bruins
I've spent less time in the western part of the country than I'd like, but considering this is a Wild Horse vs. Roaming Bear fight, I'd like to imagine this is the culmination of a centuries long inter-species war. Maybe New Mexico serves as some manner of border country.
Despite Joe Bruin's general congenial sort of feel, he's still a half ton of claws and rage. It's hard to fight against that.
|He's just so cheerful about the prospect of dismembering his opponents.|
It's harder still when you're a Shetland Pony. I have nothing against Peruna, and I'm glad we live in the part of history where if you want a detailed history of the Shetland Ponies that have served as the Southern Methodist University mascot that exists. Which is great.
I just can't come up with a scenario in which Peruna is victorious here.
#3 Iowa State Cyclones vs. #14 UAB Blazers
Sy's fine and all, though "toothy cardinal" has been done elsewhere. He's got sort of a terrifying Cheshire Cat smile going on, but maybe he just really likes the weather patterns of Central Iowa.
|Back away slowly or he'll start talking to you about his sweet home meteorology instrumentation.|
UAB, on the other hand, is coming at this with a fire-breathing dragon named Blaze. That's basically all that matters here. There wouldn't be a whole lot Sy could do to counter than in any case, but certainly not as a songbird.
|Someone go alert the Ghiscari.|
This isn't even close.
#7 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. #10 Davidson Wildcats
I honestly don't know what it is at this point with schools wanting to give teeth to birds. Is this some sort of genetic engineering initiative I was unaware of?
I've long held that wildcats, as non-descript cats that live in the woods but effectively the same size as a domesticated cat, just aren't all that threatening in a fight to the death. This isn't going to be any different.
#2 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. #15 North Dakota State Bison
See, institutions of Buffalo, New York? You could totally pull off something like this.
Now, listen. I'm not going to sign off on Thundar the Bison's haircut. This is generally a pretty lighthearted Mascot Bracket, but I have standards that I will not violate. I will, however, sign off on basically anything named Thundar.
As for the actual battle, this is mostly just a weight-ratio sort of thing. There are reasons that in most standard combat sports, weight classes are a thing, but the Mascot Bracket cares not for such considerations. There isn't a handicapping system. There is no relief. There is only the arena.
Also, silly pictures and foam rubber. But mostly the arena.
North Dakota State advances.