August 21, 2017

Mascot Bracketology with TGS

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again — March Madness. While you’re going to see post after post after post on the internet of so-called “experts” telling you why this 12-seed is going to upset that 5-seed in the first round, you don’t really care do you? You already know your team is the best in the land and is certainly going all the way to the Final Four. But what you really want to know is how the teams’ mascots and nicknames stack up against the rest of the field of 64 68. Fear not, my friends, for I have you covered.

First Round

EAST
1. Villanova Wildcats vs. 16. New Orleans Privateers/Mt. St. Mary’s Mountaineers
OK. So here we’ve got the most unoriginal mascot of all-time: the Wildcats. Even Zac Efron is shaking his head here. Then we’ve got the choice between a mountaineer and legalized piracy (which is what privateering basically is/was). Of course the winner has got to be the legal pirate.
New Orleans Privateers move on.

8. Wisconsin Badgers vs. 9. Virginia Tech Hokies
When I started this project, I had to ask myself, “What the fuck is a Hokie?” In fact, I had to ask myself some version of that question several times. Well, it turns out a Hokie, at least in the example of VA Tech’s “Hokiebird,” is a sad-looking turkey. I’m not a zoologist, but I bet badgers would probably eat the shit outta a nice, sad-looking turkey.

Davey Morgan Photography
The saddest Thanksgiving meal.

Wisconsin Badgers move on.

5. UVA Cavaliers vs. 12. UNCW Seahawks
The UVA Cavaliers mascot kind of looks like a cartoon Antonio Banderas in “Zorro,” but with more color. The UNCW Seahawk looks like a bad-ass bird you don’t wanna run into in a dark alley down by Front Street (I lived in Wilmington, once upon a time).

UNCW Library
You don’t want to run into Sammy C. Hawk in a dark alley on any night of the week.

UNCW Seahawks move on.

4. Florida Gators vs. 13. East Tennessee State Buccaneers
I don’t know about y’all, but a wannabe pirate scares me a little bit less than a MOTHER FUCKING ALLIGATOR.
Florida Gators move on.

6. SMU Mustangs vs. 11. Providence Friars/USC Trojans
The USC Trojans are the first I’ll throw out because their mascot reminds me of the condom company before it reminds me of actual, historical Trojans. The Providence Friars also gotta go because the least terrifying thing to see on a basketball court has got to be an old, gray monk.
SMU Mustangs move on.

3. Baylor Bears vs. 14. New Mexico State Aggies
WTF is an “aggie”?
Baylor Bears move on.

7. South Carolina Gamecocks vs. 10. Marquette Golden Eagles
lol.
South Carolina Gamecocks move on, obviously.

2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 15. Troy Trojans
Again with the Trojans?
Duke Blue Devils move on.

WEST
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. 16. South Dakota State Jackrabbits
I’ve never seen the two side-by-side, but I have a feeling jackrabbits can probably run circles around a bulldog on a basketball court.
South Dakota State Jackrabbits move on.

8. Northwestern Wildcats vs. 9. Vanderbilt Commodores
Again we have the Most Boring Team Mascot and Nickname in History, but this time they’re up against what Google tells me is a navy captain, which I’ll go ahead and point out is a little unusual for a landlocked state like Tennessee.
Vanderbilt Commodores move on.

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. 12. Princeton Tigers
The name “Fighting Irish” and the image it evokes of a leprechaun that’s had a few too many Guinnesses at the pub might be a tiny bit racist, but it’s more amusing than a zoo animal.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish move on.

4. West Virginia Mountaineers vs. 13. Bucknell Bison
West Virginia has the creepiest-looking mascot in all of the Big 12 (which is where my mascot expertise is), but the Mountaineers make more sense than some bison in the middle of Pennsylvania.
West Virginia Mountaineers move on (barely).

6. Maryland Terrapins vs. 11. Xavier Musketeers
I imagine the starting lineup at Xavier as the Three Musketeers (plus two), but turtles are my second favorite animal.
Maryland Terrapins move on.

3. FSU Seminoles vs. 14. FGCU Eagles
Using the name of a grouping of Native American tribes is racist as hell, so the Eagles get this one.
FGCU Eagles move on.

7. Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. 10. VCU Rams
So apparently the mascot for St. Mary’s used to be a knight in shining armor, but they recently-ish changed it to a Gaelic warrior on steroids. That Gaelic warrior could probably go into a ‘roid rage and out-ram a ram.

St. Mary's
Doesn’t he remind you of Dave the Barbarian?

Saint Mary’s Gaels move on.

2. Arizona Wildcats vs. 15. North Dakota Fighting Hawks
The “Fighting Hawks” sounds dumb af, so I’ll give the boring af Wildcats a bye here.
Arizona Wildcats move on.

MIDWEST
1. Kansas Jayhawks vs. 16. NC Central Eagles/UC Davis Aggies
Eagles are boring, wtf is an “aggie”?
Kansas Jayhawks move on.

8. Miami Hurricanes vs. 9. Michigan State Spartans
Were hurricanes a thing in Greece during the time of the Spartans? Are they a thing in Greece now?
Miami Hurricanes move on.

5. Iowa State Cyclones vs. 12. Nevada Wolf Pack
A bird tornado or the fun group of pals who lost Doug in “The Hangover”?

So irresponsible.

Iowa State Cyclones move on.

4. Purdue Boilermakers vs. 13. Vermont Catamounts
Apparently a “catamount” is a medium-sized or large wild cat like a cougar. Why didn’t they just call themselves the Cougars? Probably because they’re East Coast Elites or something like that. A boilermaker is a person whose profession is making boilers, which is awesome American blue collar work as fuck.
Purdue Boilermakers move on.

6. Creighton Bluejays vs. 11. University of Rhode Island Rams
A ram is probably a bit more rowdy than the cute birds that braid Snow White’s hair.
URI Rams move on.

3. Oregon Ducks vs. 14. Iona Gaels
Would you rather fight one duck-sized Gael or one hundred Gael-sized ducks?
Oregon Ducks move on.

7. Michigan Wolverines vs. 10. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Sorry, but Hugh Jackman > John Wayne. (Tbh I’ve never seen a John Wayne movie.)
Michigan Wolverines move on.

2. Louisville Cardinals vs. 15. Jacksonville State Gamecocks
Do I need to explain myself here?
Jacksonville State Gamecocks move on.

SOUTH
1. UNC Tar Heels vs. 16. Texas Southern Tigers
So in my less-than-thorough research into what in tarnation a “tar heel” is, all I could find was that the term predates the University of North Carolina and likely was coined at some time around the Revolutionary or Civil wars, and it possibly has some racist undertones in its history. The UNC mascot, on the other hand, is a ram named Rameses, and they actually have a live ram they keep replacing and naming Rameses. Uh. OK.
Texas Southern Tigers move on.

8. Arkansas Razorbacks vs. 9. Seton Hall Pirates
A motherfuckin’ wild boar with razors on its back? How the hell is a pirate supposed to stand up to that?
Arkansas Razorbacks move on.

5. Minnesota Gophers vs. 12. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
Idk what a “blue raider” is, but I do know that a gopher is a cute woodland animal that will fuck you up with its teeth.
Minnesota Gophers move on.

4. Butler Bulldogs vs. 13. Winthrop Eagles
I went to Butler Elementary School in my hometown and we were the Butler Bulldogs, so I’ve got some residual bias left in me.
Butler Bulldogs move on.

6. Cincinnati Bearcats vs. 11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons/Kansas State Wildcats
So I’m just now learning that a “bearcat” is a real thing and it’s actually called a binturong. The Kansas State Wildcats might have one of the most comical-looking mascots of all-time, but I’ve got to give some props to Wake Forest for having the most creative concept for a mascot.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons move on.

3. UCLA Bruins vs. 14. Kent State Golden Flashes
I also am just now learning that “bruin” is another name for “bear” or some shit like that. I assume they also have their own live version of their mascot. But on the other hand, the Golden Flashes have Flash, the golden eagle, for their mascot.
Kent State Golden Flashes move on.

7. Dayton Flyers vs. 10. Wichita State Shockers
OK, have any of you ever seen a photo of Dayton’s mascot? His name is Rudy Flyer and he’s obviously Glen Quagmire from “Family Guy” dressed as an airplane pilot. WuShock over at Wichita State isn’t much better – he’s clearly Marge Simpson’s evil brother, but they say he’s an anthropomorphic bundle of wheat.

This was a hard choice.

Dayton Flyers move on.

2. Kentucky Wildcats vs. Northern Kentucky Norse
“Norse” sounds like you accidentally hit the wrong key on the keyboard when typing “horse.”
The boringest Kentucky Wildcats move on.

Second Round

EAST
16. New Orleans Privateers vs. 8. Wisconsin Badgers
A legal pirate or a sweet little woodland creature? I’m gonna take the pirate.
New Orleans Privateers move on.

12. UNCW Seahawks vs. 4. Florida Gators
UNCW’s Seahawk will fuck you up in a grimy back alley, but an alligator in the Everglades will literally eat you for lunch.
Florida Gators move on.

6. SMU Mustangs vs. 3. Baylor Bears
Both SMU and Baylor have live versions of their mascots, which is kinda cool if you’re not a fan of PETA. While baby bear cubs can be kind of cute, I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with one being raised on a college campus in the middle of Texas. SMU, on the other hand, has an adorable black Shetland pony named Peruna, and horses are a little more normal for Texas.
SMU Mustangs move on.

7. South Carolina Gamecocks vs. 2. Duke Blue Devils
A Blue Devil costume that isn’t filled with Penn Badgely is just a waste of foam and felt.

The only blue devil I’ll ever #swoon for.

South Carolina Gamecocks move on.

WEST
16. South Dakota State Jackrabbits vs. 9. Vanderbilt Commodores
A “commodore” is also the name for the president of a yacht club, so I’m sure you can understand my pick here.
South Dakota State Jackrabbits move on.

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. 4. West Virginia Mountaineers
Again, West Virginia’s mascot is creepy as hell and the other option here is a drunk leprechaun.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish move on.

6. Maryland Terrapins vs. 14. FGCU Eagles
Turtles over birds any day.
Maryland Terrapins move on.

7. Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. 2. Arizona Wildcats
St. Mary’s Gael might be on steroids, but he probably can’t win a fight against a large feral feline.
Arizona Wildcats move on.

MIDWEST
1. Kansas Jayhawks vs. 8. Miami Hurricanes
I’m going to take the devastating natural disaster over the fictional flying creature here.
Miami Hurricanes move on.

5. Iowa State Cyclones vs. 4. Purdue Boilermakers
BIRD. TORNADO.
Iowa State Cyclones move on.

11. University of Rhode Island Rams vs. 3. Oregon Ducks
I assume since Rhode Island is the smallest state in the Union, it probably produces the smallest rams. Science.
Oregon Ducks move on.

7. Michigan Wolverines vs. 15. Jacksonville State Gamecocks
To be completely honest with y’all, I’ve also never seen Hugh Jackman in any Marvel movies, either. He slays as Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables,” though.
Jacksonville State Gamecocks move on.

SOUTH
16. Texas Southern Tigers vs. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks
A tiger would probably enjoy snacking on a feral hog, razors and all.
Texas Southern Tigers move on.

5. Minnesota Gophers vs. 4. Butler Bulldogs
A decent-sized bulldog could probably smother a gopher with its butt, or at least knock it out with its flatulence.
Butler Bulldogs move on.

11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. 14. Kent State Golden Flashes
On the one hand we have demonized versions of deacons, which is supposed to be a group of church elders and basically the opposite of demons. But on the other hand we have an eagle that looks like he’s super confused at how he got himself into his current situation.

*record scratch* *freeze frame* Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons move on.

7. Dayton Flyers vs. 2. Kentucky Wildcats.
Giggity.
Dayton Flyers move on.

Sweet Sixteen

EAST
16. New Orleans Privateers vs. 4. Florida Gators
A scaly-skinned animal that can swim fast as hell in the swamp and run fast as fuck on land is pretty fuckin’ scary. But I watched a lot of “Swamp People” during college, and I’m pretty sure a privateer in the Louisiana bayous would know how to take care of business.
New Orleans Privateers move on.

6. SMU Mustangs vs. 7. South Carolina Gamecocks
Sorry, sweet little pony, but I’m sure it’s pretty obvious by now that I am secretly a 13-year-old suburban boy and not a 25-year-old woman with a professional career.
South Carolina Gamecocks move on.

WEST
16. South Dakota State Jackrabbits vs. 5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
My second favorite U.S. President, Josiah Bartlet, went to Notre Dame so I’m going to stay with that pick.

Even Toby gets it.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish move on.

6. Maryland Terrapins vs. 2. Arizona Wildcats
I’m gonna keep picking the turtles, even if Maryland has the dumbest state flag in the Union.
Maryland Terrapins move on.

MIDWEST
8. Miami Hurricanes vs. 5. Iowa State Cyclones
Usually you have some time to prepare and evacuate before a hurricane hits. That’s not usually the case with tornadoes, especially ones made out of large red birds.
Iowa State Cyclones move on.

3. Oregon Ducks vs. 15. Jacksonville State Gamecocks
Jacksonville State Gamecocks move on.

SOUTH
16. Texas Southern Tigers vs. 4. Butler Bulldogs
Honestly, this is the second-to-last take I have left as I’m writing and I’m getting kind of bored with trying to come up with something clever and funny.
Butler Bulldogs move on.

11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. 7. Dayton Flyers
I’m gonna take the church demons over the giggity.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons move on.

Elite Eight

EAST
16. New Orleans Privateers vs. 7. South Carolina Gamecocks
This should be pretty obvious.
South Carolina Gamecocks move on.

WEST
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. 6. Maryland Terrapins
Even my love for Jed Bartlet can’t outshine my love for turtles.
Maryland Terrapins move on.

MIDWEST
5. Iowa State Cyclones vs. 15. Jacksonville State Gamecocks
My beloved red bird tornadoes just can’t match up with my inner teenage boy.
Jacksonville State Gamecocks move on.

SOUTH
4. Butler Bulldogs vs. 11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
And this is where my bias ends.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons move on.

Final Four

7. South Carolina Gamecocks vs. 6. Maryland Terrapins
Sorry Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and Donatello.
South Carolina Gamecocks move on.

15. Jacksonville State Gamecocks vs. 11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Isn’t North Carolina supposed to be in the Bible Belt? How in the hell did someone come up with calling Wake Forest the “Demon Deacons”???
Jacksonville State Gamecocks move on.

National Championship

@KingsCowboyHat
Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

The Gamecocks win!

Kelby Wingert
Kelby Wingert 9 Articles
Staff Writer

Kelby spent the first 18 years of her life living in the “Dirty” Fort Dodge, Iowa. She started her college career at Coe College, but finished it at THE Iowa State University. After a short pit stop in Wilmington, North Carolina, as a photojournalist, she ended up in the Middle of Nowhere, Texas, at a military newspaper on Fort Hood. She’s now “faking it ‘til she makes it” as a sports writer covering a lot of high school football, but still does the whole photography thing a lot. She hates professional sports, loves tacos and lives for college basketball. Kelby is bad at writing headlines, so sorry about that, y’all.

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