We’ve all been there. It’s March Madness time and the blank bracket lays before us in its immaculate difficulty. We consider ourselves masters of the madness, capable of dropping knowledge about basketball like it’s our job. And for one month –it is. We painstakingly consider each game, each player, each possible upset, until, in the end, we’ve filled out the perfect bracket. With pride, we turn the bracket into our office pools, fraternity contests, and ESPN’s latest competition.
Then we lose to the person that picked their bracket based on team mascots and which colors were prettier. We curse the system, rip up our bracket, drink ourselves into submission, and forget that we just witnessed a hell of a basketball tournament.
If you can’t beat them –why not join them?
This is a chance to fill out THAT bracket. This is a chance to decide which mascots reign supreme in the world of Division I College Basketball. This is a chance to tell office-gal Ruby, the defending March Madness Champion, to take her love of huskies and shove it. ‘Cause this time, it’s an equal playing field. Let the Mascot Madness begin.
Here are the rules:
Thirty-two teams have earned the right to be on the first StraitPinkie Mascot Madness Bracket. It’s up to you to decide who wins. Each week, the matchups will be previewed here, by yours truly, and you will vote (via comment, Facebook, e-mail) on the winners of each game. Winners will be revealed and the next round announced each week, until we crown a Mascot Champion.
Suggested evaluation methods:
- Imagine it is in a neutral site and is a 5-on-5 matchup. For example, in the case of a UK vs. Vanderbilt matchup, who would win in a fight? Five angry wildcats or five commodores? Clearly, the Wildcats would claw some Commodore booty.
- It’s completely okay to consider the logo of the team. If a yellow jacket has biceps in the logo, that is fair game. Five yellow jackets with biceps are scarier than five yellow jackets without arms.
- Whatever the hell you want to base this on. Just vote. Upsets are not only okay, but encouraged. The best “reasons” for why you vote for certain teams will be included in the next article.
- You can see the full-size bracket here.
Here are the matchups for Round One:
Forces of Nature Division
In a matchup of Wind versus Fire that Captain Planet would be proud of, the key to this battle may actually be the birds that inexplicably appear in each logo. Can the Hurricanes blow out the candle or will they simple fan the Flames? Will the talons of this not-so-intimidating stork have any chance against a bird of prey?
As if nature isn’t terrifying enough, this matchup features bad weather IN TECHNICOLOR! I can’t decide what is more frightening –the air pollution that would cause a red storm, or the water pollution that would cause a green wave. For you art students out there, don’t be fooled by the fact that red and green are complementary colors. These guys hate each other.
Remind me to never go to Alabama or Iowa if there is weather in the forecast. In Alabama, waves from God-knows-what water source apparently carry elephants with them. In Iowa, tornadoes are accompanied by giant cardinals with shredded biceps and teeth. Which giant animal will help lead their force of nature to peak calamity?
These teams may be duds. After all, even a golden hurricane that has somehow traveled all the way to Oklahoma can’t be that strong, and the waves of Pepperdine aren’t even green. That being said, hurricanes and the coasts of California have been known to raise Hell.
Tiny Terrors Division
This may be the most lopsided 1 vs. 8 matchup. In one corner, you have the rattlesnake, a venomous, cold-blooded reptile. In the other corner, you have a freaking blue hen that looks like the Roadrunner’s less intimidating cartoon cousin. But stranger things have happened.
As a child, I had an unexplainable fear of frogs. I’m glad I never encountered one that was horned. I think five of these babies could strike terror in the heart of any bucktoothed gopher. That being said, the gophers definitely have a size advantage, and characters with letter-sweaters always win at the end of the movie…right?
This matchup is classic –the tortoise and the hare, if you will. It’s the rematch we’ve all been waiting for. As children, we learned that slow and steady wins the race. But what wins the fight? Five slow-ass turtles or five cocky-ass fast rabbits? This is the most exciting battle between two vegetarians you will ever witness.
This battle features two creepy-crawlies that have fallen to numerous rolled-up newspapers in the past century. One one side, the team will have forty legs and sticky webs. On the other side, there are five stingers and somehow some amazingly muscular arms. Who passes the test of pest?
Angry People Division
This matchup may be laughable. Quakers are pacifists, and this Rainbow Warrior looks ready to use his muscles and a truckload of skittles to get to the finals. An upset here may require an act of God…or a lack of rain.
This is a battle of the Wild West and Westward Expansion, of guns and trains, and of guys that probably have killer mustaches. On paper, the Cowboys and their weaponry are favored. But don’t count out the boilermakers. They may employ the use of a locomotive –and we all know how cowboys fare against an oncoming train.
The shamrock and the fleur-de-lis face off in this cultural battle. On both sides, an angry, slightly margianilized group of America faces off and probably fights over a beer. This is sure to be a fist fight for the ages and a Catholic-on-Catholic war that will have the Pope biting his yellowing finger nails. Perhaps the winning side will be the first team to realize they forgot the “g” in their nicknames.
Yes…beware of the monk with the chiseled jaw line. Who am I kidding? This is a matchup of a pious religious leader and an angry dude with an ax. Just look at him! Providence will need divine intervention, or a pancake diversion, to avoid “getting the ax” in the first round.
Mythical Creatures Division
This is the best division in the tournament. Creatures we’ve never seen before (and a lot of teams we’ve never heard of before) face off in epic battles. This one features two flying creatures. One can breathe fire and the other one…is purple. But, before you count out the Purple Eagles, you may recall that the mythic eagles in Lord of the Rings kicked some Nazgul ass. Those Nazguls looked a lot like dragons…
Harry Potter fans…rejoice. It is the matchup you’ve all been waiting for. The mythical creature behind the name of Gryffindor versus Dumbledore’s Badass Bird. I would hint one way or another, but I’m honestly just excited to see how people justify who would win this battle of flying, ancient, mythic beasts. One rule: no wizards allowed. Actually, scratch that. Wizards are totally allowed.
It’s not just in Jack London novels that you can encounter something as frightening as a sea wolf. Apparently the shores of Stony Brook are littered with them. One minute, you are relaxing next to the Atlantic Ocean. The next minute, the white cap of the waves have turned into White Fang. On the opposite ocean, Cal State Fullerton is operating with a loaded team. Not only do they have Hercules, but they apparently have a random elephant. Maybe he’s related to the elephant that haunts the waters of Alabama.
This may be the first and last time Duke is an underdog in a bracket. I hear they are pretty decent at basketball. This time, however, the sly devil with the pointy beard is up against a dragon. This battle is going to be hot.
And those are the round-one matchups. Vote (with your teams of choice and reasons if you want the chance to be features) by commenting below, commenting on my Facebook link, or by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners will be announced, along with some of your comments and perhaps a brief creative description of how the battles went down. Until next week, may the best Mascot win.