#1 Oregon Ducks vs. #16 Southern Jaguars
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.
#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 BulldogsSo, 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.
#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.
#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.