Tuesday, March 29, 2016

2016 Murphspot Mascot Bracket - Midwest Region

#1 Virginia Cavaliers vs. #16 Hampton Pirates

I'll be honest, I'm a fan of Pirate mascots. Part of that is childhood bias, and part of that is a prediliction toward the sort of tricorne the Hampton Pirate has going on here. 

Also, he's got sort of a pained "I never really intended to get this deep into piracy, but here we are" expression.

It's just that the sort of hat that has enough brim that you've got to bind it up into shapes that suggests you've conquered a sufficient amount of foes that no one's going to say anything about it.

Cavman's brim is nothing to sneeze at, of course, and we're in the rare situation where these mascots could actually, I guess, actually come to blows. I'm not sure how crimes at sea related to Royalist opposition to Oliver Cromwell, but I can see there being an argument for it. 

Also, while I appreciate Cavman's goatee, I've got to side with the Pirate in a facial-hair-off.

I'm going to say that the Pirates' dedication to hat folding is the deciding factor here.

Hampton advances.

#8 Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. #9 Butler Bulldogs

Ok, so Texas Tech has The Masked Rider, which is not only a pleasantly unique mascot name (as opposed to, say, the myriad Pistol Petes that dot the landscape), but he originates in the 1930's, when a student threw a mask on to conceal his identity, "borrowed" (which I think we have to read as "stole") a horse from the agricultural department and rode it onto the field ahead of the team as a prank.

Also, the prank was originated by Douglas Fairbanks, by the looks of things.

Ignoring the size advantage and that I'd expect any self-respecting Raider to have a weapon, I think the Red Raiders don't even have to fight the Bulldogs here. The power of a Prank Based Mascot is enough to pull Texas Tech through.

Texas Tech Advances.

#5 Purdue Boilermakers vs. #12 Arkansas Little Rock Trojans

I feel like we've had this discussion before. Probably not with Arkansas Little Rock, but I'm pretty sure prior brackets have resulted in an anachronistic warrior (who I'd guess would either be USC, Michigan State or maybe San Diego State?) being confronted with Purdue Pete and several tons of train. 

Also, those are the eyes of a man who would not flinch from hitting a dude with a train.

Now, I'll admit. I'd watch a retelling of the events of the Trojan War where, rather than crafting the Horse, Odysseus simply waits until nightfall, lays down some track and smashes through Troy's gates with a damned train. I think the fact that I don't know what the Trojan response would be seals it.

Purdue advances.

#4 Iowa State Cyclones vs. #13 Iona Gaels

I don't get Cy, you guys. 

I mean, I get Cy in the sense that he's some sort of terrifying toothy bird from the netherworld whose only source of joy is pain, but as a mascot, I'm not sure I'm on board. You've got Cyclones as a team name and a school in a very flat part of the country, and so to go with something other than some sort of actual cyclone seems weak. Especially a small bird that would definitely be tossed around.

Say what you will about Iona's Gaels' beards, but I'm going to assume that the Gael can take care of a Cardinal. Even one as mighty as Cy.

Iona advances.

#6 Seton Hall Pirates vs. # 11 Gonzaga Bulldogs

It's not me, you guys. It's Pirates. Pirates naturally just really want to fight bulldogs, apparently.

In this, the Pirate region, I'm a little more skeptical of the chances of the Seton Hall Pirate, largely because he seems to have spent most of the gold he's stolen from trading vessels on bright blue Manic Panic for *all of his facial hair*. I appreciate a commitment to the school colors, but it's potentially a sign that he's going to run into trouble in later rounds as he deals with his impulsivity. 

Also, it turns out he wasn't pirating trading ships so much as No Use for a Name albums.

Spike seems like a fine bulldog. His underbite is a plus, but I'm concerned that in a Mascot Bracket of Death, his sad eyes suggest he's not going to be able to soldier through.

Seton Hall advances.

#3 Utah Utes vs. #14 Fresno State Bulldogs

I am out of ways to have fluffy mascots kill bulldogs. 

I am lost. There is no end. Everywhere I look, there are more bulldogs. 

It is adorable. It is unending.

As for the matchup, we've done hawk on bulldog. Hawk wins. Well done, Swoop. I'm sorry that it was your matchup that drove me to madness, and that I didn't allow you to team up with Fresno State's bulldog for some painfully forced Swoop Dogg jokes.

Swoop acknowledges that it's better this way.

Utah advances.

#7 Dayton Flyers vs. #10 Syracuse Orange

I get the sense that Rudy Flyer is up to something, but in a good-natured, playful mischief sort of way and not a bomb-his-enemies-into-embers sort of way. 

Oh well, whatever. You and Rudy and that red sweater.

Otto is an orange. The absolute best I can come up with is that maybe, *maybe* Otto could attack with citric acid somehow? Maybe try to get it into his foes' eyes? That's the best I can do. And, unfortunately for Otto, Rudy's got that problem covered because he's coming into the battle with the proper PPE in the form of those goggles.

And, getting back to the first point, I don't see Rudy as a "destroy civilization" pilot, but ruining some citrus crops? That seems like it might be his speed.

Dayton advances.

#2 Michigan State Spartans vs. #12 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

The problem with doing this over the course of the tournament is that, obviously, we know how this played out in reality. On one hand, we've got battle trained warriors as embodied by Sparty the Spartan, whose eyebrows suggest he has had enough of this. 

The Blue Raiders were once the Pedagogues, so good on them for establishing a reasonable mascot name. They've got some sort of sentient Blue Horse that might be able to deal thunder damage? The t-shirt suggests that he's got abilities beyond that of a regular horse, and the smile suggests that you'll never find the bodies.

Welcome to the Terror Stable.

So do I go with the upset (a Spartan being defeated by a horse, which preserves the potential of a Red Raiders/Blue Raiders matchup down the line) and include the massive upset that happened in reality or presume that Sparty could handle a magical horse and close the opening with some semblance that this is completely independent of the actual games?

Hell with it. Lightning's got magical weather powers, and I find this to be funnier.

Middle Tennessee advances.

Friday, March 25, 2016

2016 Murphspot Mascot Bracket - East Region

#1 UNC Tar Heels vs. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

I'm generally pretty generous with birds, eagles in particular. I don't know whether that's a reaction to watching some sort of nature documentary a while ago and seeing an eagle tear into a fish or out of a sense of patriotic duty.

Also, freaky bird teeth.

Don't get me wrong. Azul seems great, but Rameses just seems like something an eagle would not physically be capable of dealing with.

UNC advances.

#8 USC Trojans vs. #9 Providence Friars

Oh, Friar Dom.

Listen, I know that this is supposed to be about which mascot would defeat its opponent in battle. And USC has a horse named Traveler with a dude with an actual sword, so he should win here against what is, in effect, a monk.

Well, he was a monk. Now he's a monk who has your soul.

But the Trojan's attacks are only physical. Friar Dom's charge is Terror Itself. His wounds are emotional. Friar Dom is the Fear Prototype. Remember when you were a kid, and you heard stories about the bogeyman, or the Jersey Devil, or a driver who had driven into the lake and makes a nightly walk to the cemetery where his cenotaph is located, or Geraldo Rivera? 

That's what Friar Dom is. I'm not making a metaphor. I'm saying he's behind it all. 

Providence advances.

#5 Indiana Hoosiers vs. #12 Chattanooga Mocs

Indiana doesn't have a mascot. They've got a team name, though, so I'll assume that their mascot is just a person of my choosing who happens to be an Indiana native. I could have gone with the protagonist of Cat's Cradle, here, but I feel like the more rational choice is Fort Wayne native and Darrin Prime, Dick York.

I'm surprised as well, Dick.

The Mocs have Scrappy Moc, who is actually sort of menancing for a mockingbird.

I'm saying this is a little aggressive for what amounts to a tiny little songbird,.
Usually I'd give Dick York the advantage here, but considering Scrappy's gaze and the likelihood that our chosen Hoosier will be too busy dealing with whatever Agnes Moorehead is up to, I think this has to go to the Mocs.

Chattanooga advances.

#4 Kentucky Wildcats vs. #13 Stony Brook Seawolves

My favorite part of writing these things is discovering new mascots when teams that haven't been in the tournament for a while make it. So here I'm left with a choice between a fairly standard wildcat and a *mythical wolf from the sea*. And somehow, a mythical wolf from the sea from a folk tale from across the continent. Good on you, Stony Brook.

The most terrifying section of the myth involves the Seawolf learning how to don a baseball cap.

I'll even let the fact that the mascot's name is a terribly predictable "Wolfie" and the fact that Wolfie the Seawolf's Wikipedia page is a mess of what I presume are Stony Brook students inserting themselves into Tlingit myth slide. I'll let a lot slide for something other than another Wildcat or Bear.

Stony Brook advances.

#6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. #11 Tulsa Golden Hurricane

In one sense, this should be pretty easy for the Golden Hurricane. Commanding the weather is a pretty powerful ability, and at first blush there isn't much the Fighting Irish should be able to do to resist it. One imagines that Captain Cane could wreak havoc on some coastal Irish cities.

But we're not in coastal Irish cities. We're in landlocked South Bend, which is under assault from a storm-man from Tulsa of all places. So let's go to the videotape.

In searching for "mythical Irish figure fights something from the sea", the closest analog I could find was Cú Chulainn's interaction with Fand. Fand's flying around as a bird (as otherwordly sea deities are wont to do), minding her own business, when Cú Chulainn throws a rock at her and her sister despite being warned by his wife that the birds he's aiming at are pretty clearly above his current level and he'd do well to either leave them alone or go gain more XP somewhere else.

I'm going to say the bracket has failed here in not pitting Notre Dame against any of the schools with a dog as the mascot.

He hits Fand, then falls down ill and has Fand and her sister show up in non-bird form and beat him with a whip until he's nearly dead. So far, things are looking pretty good for the sea. 

Cú Chulainn recovers over the course of a year and they reconcile (by which I mean ahem) and comes back to help Fand and her sister out, which I guess we could interpret as Notre Dame having some sort of advantage over Tulsa? I'm not going to get into the affair that happens next, as I'm sure Notre Dame and Tulsa students and alumni would appreciate that I didn't.

The moral of the story is that I was looking for an excuse to incorporate the Pogues somehow.

In the end, though, the Notre Dame Leprechaun isn't quite a mythic hero and Captain Cane is more of a conjurer than a bird woman, so the Golden Hurricanes march on.

Tulsa advances.

#3 West Virginia Mountaineer vs. #14 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

It's General Purpose Woodsman vs. Lumber and Paper Industry Woodsman! The matchup we've all been waiting for. 

The weapon (and bicep) advantage goes to Stephen F. Austin. At minimum, that's a heavy and effective axe and there's the very real possibility that it's sentient. As for the Mountaineer, I'm thinking he's going to be less effective in single combat, but might be able to pull something off by setting traps and relying on his superior knowledge of the terrain. 

The lumberjack is in this for a paycheck, which I think doesn't stand up against the Mountaineer's expertise.

West Virginia advances.

#7 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #10 Pitt Panthers

Oh hey, an actual "animals that could plausibly meet" battle. 

There are tenacity arguments to be made in Bucky's favor, though even that has some doubts considering his sensible outerwear. 

To be fair, having been to Wisconsin, it can be a bit chilly.

The Pitt Panther, on the other hand, is an apex predator. There's not much to say beyond that.

Pitt advances.

#2 Xavier Musketeers vs. #15 Weber State Wildcats

I know I've been pretty down on Wildcats here, and I could spend a paragraph spouting some nonsense about the relative inaccuracy of period muskets, but I'm going to assume that The Musketeer is both competent in using his weapon and is getting some sort of marksman's bonus from his sweet mustache.

Also, I sort of assume he can use his hat for brief bouts of flight,.

Xavier advances.

Monday, March 21, 2016

2016 Murphspot Mascot Bracket - West Region

#1 Oregon Ducks vs. #16 Southern Jaguars

So, here's the thing. In reality, this game never happened (because Southern lost to Holy Cross) and would have been a rout (as the game against Holy Cross was), because it would have been Oregon against Southern. But this isn't reality. This is the mascot bracket.

In one corner, we have LaCumba. In the other, we have the Duck Formerly Pretty Clearly But Legally Distinct From Donald. To be fair to the Duck, he's held his own against a Large Cat mascot before, apparently the result of a dispute over pushups.

In the end, we've got a duck fighting a thing that is much larger, stronger and claw-ier than a duck.

Southern advances.

#8 St. Joseph's Hawks vs. #9 Cincinnati Bearcats

As covered in previous mascot brackets, Cincinnati's Fightin' Binturongs are small plaintain loving mammals who evidently smell like popcorn. That's adorable, but they should put up a fight here. They've got claws, after all, and apparently eat birds on occasion, so it's down to checking with what's going on with the St. Joseph's Hawk.

OH NO. Not only does the Hawk get some terror points strictly for being terrifying, but he apparently also NEVER STOPS FLAPPING HIS ARMS DURING GAMES. That's too much. I was frightened of the hawk before, but it's horrifying visage combined with crazy upper body stamina is too much. I'm sorry, Binturongs.

St. Joseph's advances.

#5 Baylor Bears vs. #12 Yale Bulldogs
So, Baylor has both a costumed mascot (Bruiser) and two live mascots (Judge Joy and Judge Lady), while Yale has a live mascot in the form of Handsome Dan and a somewhat-oddly muscled costumed mascot (Boola).

I don't know that I've ever been scared of dog thighs. I'm scared of dog thighs now.

As far as the costumed mascots go, I think it's probably a wash. So it's up to the live mascots.

This is going to seem like I'm against dogs. I'm not. I like dogs. I like Handsome Dan. I like that his name is Handsome Dan. I could even be convinced that he's got a chance of standing up to Bruiser purely through being an adorable dog. What I do not like is the chance that he'll be able to do much in a fight against an actual bear.

Baylor wins.

#4 Duke Blue Devils vs. #13 UNC Wilmington Seahawks

I never know what to do with Duke, so let's start with the Seahawks. Once again, we've got a colorful bird costume that clearly seems to be upset about something.

I'm going to guess it's the university fees that have been added to his bill for damaging the court. Good on Sammy for adhering to his unorthodox ideas about shoes.

Terrifying beak notwithstanding, this would probably turn out differently if we had Sammy the Osprey against some sort of fish mascot. Maybe a small mammal. But definitely not whatever sort of otherworldly horror that the Blue Devil represents.

Duke advances.

#6 Texas Longhorns vs. #11 Northern Iowa Panthers

So here's where my lack of experience with livestock comes into play. At first glance, Bevo the Texas Longhorn should have an advantage because of these ridiculous horns, but the curvature seems problematic. That is, I'm not sure how he'd actually spear an opponent. Maybe I'm discounting steer proprioception too much, though.

I'm just saying it's an awkward angle of attack.

Panthers, on the other hand, seem like the sort of thing that if it were near where you were raising cattle, you wouldn't just let the cattle fend for themselves. I'd imagine you take steps to mitigate the panther danger, especially in the form of T.C. Panther. Maybe some sort of panther trap? Probably just a shotgun.

If Bevo had the shotgun, then we might have a fight here. As it stands, I'm thinking dexterity takes the day, and T.C. is able to dodge the horns and attack the underbelly.

Northern Iowa wins.

#3 Texas A&M Aggies vs. #14 Green Bay Phoenix

Surprisingly, the mascot for the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay is not Aaron Rodgers. Instead, we've got "Phlash the Phoenix" which is a committment to alliteration that, I think, might be a bit more than I can handle. In any case, Phlash is a big, green bird whose super-power is resurrection, which doesn't so much harm his opponent as it does just drag the battle out.

Pictured: Phlash the Phoenix raising his chorus of the Damned.

Texas A&M has Reveille, a Rough Collie (as opposed to a Final Draft Collie), who, I presume, has the ability to not come to his opponent's aid in the event that they wind up trapped in a well. Still, collies can bite and I think this ends on a technicality; before Phlash is able to resurrect into a new phoenix, the match ends in the brief moment in which he's technically died.

Texas A&M advances.

#7 Oregon State Beavers vs. #10 Virginia Commonwealth Rams

Benny Beaver exists to build dams around my nightmares.

Fun fact: Benny's main food source is screams.

That said, I think beavers are mostly defense oriented. They're good at fortification, but I'm not sure the buck teeth or the flappy tail is going to do much in battle.

Rams, and Rodney in particular, have at the very least some manner of charge attack. He's also got freaky foam rubber musculature, and I'm not sure how to parse what a ram could possibly be doing to result in Ram arms of that magnitude. This isn't close

Virginia Commonwealth advances.

#2 Oklahoma Sooners vs. #15 CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners

This is another area in which my own experience with draft animals (I have none) is probably making it so that I don't see the overall benefits of having floppy-haired ponies as a mascot.

For CSU Bakersfield, I think they're expecting to be buoyed up by the cartoon Roadrunner, which is presumably why Rowdy the Roadrunner is this particular shade of blue. Maybe my color discernment isn't all that strong, though.

Now I'm worried I don't know what blue is.

You could make an argument here that Rowdy will be able to avoid being stomped on by Boomer, but absent any wacky Rube Goldberg schemes and outsized hubris, I don't see a way the Rowdy could actually damage Boomer.

Oklahoma advances.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Murphspot Mascot Bracket 2016 - South Region

#1 Kansas Jayhawks vs. Austin Peay Governors

I've tried to figure out the Jayhawks. In one sense, they're more terrifying than most of the bird mascots, purely because they've chosen not only to wear shoes (which I imagine was probably mandated in Jayhawk society because their razorclaws were responsible for too many deaths), but they've also chosen buckles as the fastening device.

That is madness. We are dealing with a bird that may not listen to reason.

Then again, they're not a bird I've seen in the wild (probably because they're fictional), and so I've got to presume they've got some sort of enclave. Unfortunately, despite the pure terror represented by the Jayhawk's shoebuckles, I'm afraid the Governors' control over the budget that allows for the districting of bird preserve territory is overwhelming. At the very least, they'd be able to withhold funding long enough to starve them out.

Austin Peay advances.

#8 Colorado Buffaloes vs. #9 Connecticut Huskies

I always go through these brackets explaining that no, really, I do like dogs. And I do. I like huskies, even. The ones I've met have been very agreeable. They're intelligent and loyal and have a lot of positive traits.

One trait they do not have is "weighing a literal ton" or "having big horns on the sides of their heads." I'm sorry, Huskies. If this were a pound-for-pound comparison, then it'd be close, but this is a dog against something the size of a midsize sedan.


Colorado advances.

#5 Maryland Terrapins vs. #12 South Dakota State Jackrabbits

I've been doing these brackets for a long time, and I think this is the first time everything's gotten all Aesopian on me. The correct answer, if I'm trying to instruct readers that being lazy isn't a good thing, is that the terrapin overcomes the jackrabbits through sheer force of will.

But I'm not trying to teach you that lesson. I'm trying to teach you the lesson that you should put off work for however long it takes to read one of these exceedingly lengthy posts. As that is the case, I'm going to rely on my own experience in figuring out a fight to the death between two opponents that don't seem to want to fight (what with the focus on defense and escape).

If I walk around my neighborhood, I've seen a lot of rabbits. Sure, they probably get killed by some coyotes now and again, but they're also out in the middle of winter. Most people aren't out in the middle of winter in Chicago, so that's got to speak to some sort of tenacity.

They don't even have those L heatlamps. I don't get it.

On the contrary, I very rarely see turtles. Now, it could be that they're in the sewers, out of sight, training with a rat, but it seems somewhat more likely that they're just not around.

South Dakota State advances.

#4 California Golden Bears vs. #13 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

So, listen. Bears are basically monsters.

But if we're going cinematic with this, I've got to think about what the name is going to mean for the fight.

"Rainbow Warriors" evidently stems from a tradition that Hawaii couldn't lose if a rainbow appeared; I'm going to presume rainbows are more common in Hawaii than in overcast Chicago, so that that becomes a strong predictor. One might then conclude that they're actually using the rainbow as a weapon. Rainbows result from the diffraction of light by water droplets, but the active thing we want to think about here is that these are now Warriors who are using light as a weapon.

Pictured: Me painting myself into a corner if I ever have to go against Hawaii in this bracket.

Hawaii advances.

#6 Arizona Wildcats vs. #11 Wichita State Shockers

Wildcats, overall, don't impress much in the Murphspot Mascot Bracket. They're slightly more fierce than, well, feral cats, which is to say that if they were going up against some sort of Rodent mascot. They should be a relatively easy fight, but I actually think they have a shot here. Yes, WuShock is a terrifying wheat elemental, but as someone who owns a cat and has dangled yarn and straws and things in front of the cat, it's pretty clear that wheat should be a natural enemy of the cat.

Even a wildcat, I assume will have an instinctual "must kill" reaction to whatever WuShock can throw at him. Maybe there's some sort of gluten insensitivity, but I don't think Wilbur cares about that. I think he cares only about destruction.

Well, and hats. Destruction and hats.

Arizona advances.

#3 Miami Hurricanes vs. #14 Buffalo Bulls

I've got to think that Buffalo teams all sort of look at the International League's Buffalo Bisons with a bit of jealousy. Every other team in the city has to work something other than a buffalo into their team name while still working a buffalo into the iconography. Professional teams have tried to go with puns (the Bills) or turning their logo into a rebus puzzle (the Sabres).

University of Buffalo could have gotten away with it. Adult male buffaloes are called bulls, but for some reason, their actual mascot (Victor E. Bull) is, as far as I can tell, not a buffalo. Sure, he's still an ungulate, but he's clearly domesticated and even if he's a pretty great blue color, I'm just left sort of disappointed.

Also, I don't trust a bull in sneakers. Just a rule I have.

This would have all fallen apart if it weren't for the equally inexplicable decision by the Miami Hurricanes, named after an enormous meteorological event that wreaks destruction wherever it goes, to set a small fish-eating bird as their mascot. I assume that, even if he's not a buffalo, Victor E. Bull is up to the challenge presented by Sebastian.

Buffalo advances.

#7 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. #10 Temple Owls

It's a bird-of-prey off. As mentioned previously, I find the new Herky a little, well, unsettling.

By a little unsettling, I mean this post was delayed as I threw my computer onto some train tracks.

This could work to his advantage, but that seems like the sort of thing that Hooter the Owl would handle well. For the purposes of this fight, I'm assuming that Hooter has a pretty high WIS and INT bonus, is proficient in investigation and has advantage on wisdom saving throws. Also, I cannot look at Herky anymore without screaming in terror.

Temple advances.

#2 Villanova Wildcats vs. #16 North Carolina Asheville Bulldogs

D'aww. I don't even want to have these two fight. I want this to result in a Merry Melodies cartoon, not the death of one of the combatants. Rocky even looks like a bulldog who just wants to see what you guys are doing over there.

I imagine the look is intended to be "ferocity" rather than "just heard the word 'walk'."

The problem is that Villanova's wildcat appears to be an actual big cat, and I fear that this ends poorly for the good-natured Rocky, purely from a size perspective.

Villanova advances.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2016 Murphspot Mascot Bracket - First Four

And lo, the skies darken and a terrifying howl is heard across the badlands. You and your party are beset by a mortal terror. Over the sound of your own pounding heartbeat, you are able to make out the words you have been hearing for weeks now, but which have existed as a murmur until this moment.

"It's time for the Murphspot Mascot Bracket again."

For anyone who is unfamiliar, this is how this will work.


I'm not going to have this complete in time to actually fill out a bracket; even if we ignore the play-in games, that would require that this is done by the weekend. Last year's final post about this nonsense went up on March 29. So if you're planning on using the Murphspot Mascot Bracket to fill out your own bracket for whatever quasi-legal office pool you're entering, you won't find much help here. 

As always, the scenario is a fight to the death between the mascots either as personified by their faom rubber mascot suits or, in some cases, their appearance in a logo, statue or otherwise. Home turf advantage goes to the higher seed, which I rarely remember to implement. We'll see.

Links will appear at the end of this post as each subsequent part is published, as these things tend to be too long to read outright.

First Four

#11 Vanderbilt Commodores vs. #11 Wichita State Shockers

While the play-in games are always a bit unpredictable, it's a little alarming to have to deal with mascot powerhouse Wichita State so soon. The benefit, I think, of having a plant elemental is that whatever the Commodores' experience in naval warfare or Motown, there's always the chance that WuShock could just command Vanderbilt's staple crops to fail, destroying public support for the war effort. Even resorting to the Commodore 64's library leaves Vanderbilt with little to hope for; the most relevant title I could find in a quick search was Fast Food, but even that is primarily egg-focused.

It should go without saying that Dizzy the Egg is an abomination.

Wichita State Advances.

#16 Holy Cross Crusaders vs. #16 Southern Jaguars

My "home turf" rule has already fallen apart, because these teams share a seeding. The argument for the Crusaders is primarily zeal-based; Iggy the Crusader looks like he has a certainty of purpose. He's also got an actual weapon and probably at least some training in what to do if something is trying to kill you. Southern's argument is that the Crusader likely will have little experience with big cats and, if it can force the meeting to be in Baton Rouge, that Iggy will actually just cook inside his armor. Also, look at LaCumba. He's pretty great.

Having been in Baton Rouge in the summer, despite the armor, I think I've got to go with Southern, here. Iggy's training will likely have been against other armed human opponents, and I cannot stress to you enough the experience of being in Baton Rouge with 3000% humidity and the sun inches from you at all times, particularly while wearing steel.

Southern advances.

#16 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles vs. #16 Fairleigh Dickinson Knights

Against a smaller, less armed opponent, the Eagles might have a shot here. They're apex predators and if they were going into battle against the Fairleigh Dickinson Trout or the Fairleigh Dickinson Housecats, it'd be Florida Gulf Coast all the way. 

What they are going up against is a blue horse named Knightro.

Also, the Chess Piece Logo has some pretty great late 80's feathering going on with his mane.

To future readers who are looking to start up a college for the sole purpose of winning this Mascot Bracket, the keys to victory are puns and ostentatious mascot colors. I'm even willing to overlook the logo being a chess piece. That's how much I like Knightro.

Fairleigh Dickinson advances.

#11 Michigan Wolverines vs. #11 Tulsa Golden Hurricane

In recent years, Captain Cane has been a generic-ish looking superhero with control over the weather, so I'm pretty sure that if my knowledge of Marvel's lore were better, I could find a comic in which Wolverine and Storm had some manner of explosive falling out.

As it stands, we've got a relatively fierce but pretty small creature trying to fight against what is apparently called an Atmokinetic, and I just don't see that working out well for the wolverine.

Tulsa advances.