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Mascot Challenge 2011! (Southwest Region)

Tempo-free stats? Adjusted Offensive Efficiency? KenPom!? Let's do some real analysis... Mascot Challenge 2011! 

If you post on RCT frequently, you probably have all kinds of detailed knowledge about which team has the most trips to the free-throw line while playing after 6 PM during daylight savings time while having one or more players with a “Q” in their name playing in the power forward position. Thorough stats like these combine all the things that make sports awesome; Excel spreadsheets, late nights with a clipboard, and advanced calculus. However, I propose we take a break from the official line and see who would win based on mascots.

A couple of rules first, in the instance of a subjective mascot, the school’s official picture will be our reference point. For example, though the Jayhawks were a politically motivated guerilla army that fought during the Civil War, we must defer to their official picture during this discussion. Second rule: okay, I guess there’s only one rule.

We’ll start with the Southwest region first. We already have a tough fight between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Boston University Terriers. Now, you might be inclined to pick the Hawks simply because Terriers are a domesticated and generally pretty docile house-pet, but you’d be wrong. As much as it pains this homer to say, there is simply no scientific evidence that a Jayhawk would have any aggressive tendencies, being that it is in fact fictional. I feel like a Jayhawk would just sort of hang around and look cute, maybe spend some time shining the red buckles on its shoes while a Terrier could, hypothetically, be goaded into attacking through a cruel and inhumane behavior programming routine of starvation and abuse. Disclaimer: In no way do I advocate cruelty to animals, this is an academic discussion, not a call to action. ADVANTAGE: Boston University Terriers.

Next, we have the Illinois Fighting Illini vs. the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. This is unique because we have two human opponents. I have to go with the Illini, simply because a Runnin’ Rebel would be more likely to retreat in cowardice: the word “Runnin,” after all, is right there in their name. UNLV sort of has the Frenchman’s mascot. ADVANTAGE: Illinois Illini.

In our next fight, it’s the Vanderbilt Commodores vs. the Richmond Spiders.  While it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which a high-ranking Naval officer would be pitted to the death against a tiny arachnid, I have to assume it is some situation where the Spider has stowed-away in the Commodore’s quarters, and they both realized the other is in the same room, and it’s a little awkward. That being said, the spider reacts quicker and additionally seems to have some kind of fangs which may or may not be poisonous. Because I inexplicably hate all things Navy, I’ll go with the poisonous fangs. ADVANTAGE: Richmond Spiders.

Now the Louisville Cardinals vs. the Morehead St. Eagles. This is sort of a no-brainer. An Eagle is going to lock that down every time. Seriously, what does a Cardinal have going for it? The fact that it is BRIGHT RED and easily spotted by Eagles? Uh, sorry Louisville. ADVANTAGE: Morehead St. Eagles.

A little controversy surrounds our next fight: The Georgetown Hoyas vs. either the VCU Rams or USC Trojans. I’m pretty sure a Trojan would beat a Ram, and I am further more certain that a Trojan would beat a flower. That’s right, I’ve done two minutes of Wikipedia research, and turns out that a Hoya is flower. A flower vs. an ancient killing machine. ADVANTAGE: USC Trojans.

Purdue Boilermakers (a giant, steel locomotive) vs. the St. Peters Peacocks (a small, weak bird). Seriously? Peacocks? A giant steel train rolls down the tracks and runs the Peacock over, leaving a trail of brightly-colored feathers and broken dreams. ADVANTAGE: Purdue Boilermakers.

Another interesting fight: The Texas A&M Aggies vs. the Florida State Seminoles. If this was a fight to see who could cultivate the most land, I’d have to go with the Aggies. But, this is a grueling death-match, and the Seminoles used war-clubs studded with shark teeth. Look it up: clubs with shark teeth! Sorry, Aggies, you’re boned. ADVANTAGE: Florida St. Seminoles.

Finally, we have the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish vs. the Akron Zips. Okay, I wonder how this board meeting went down. I imagine it was something like this:

U of Akron Board member: Well, we’ve narrowed it down to Tigers, Wildcats or Bears. And, of course, Professor Johnson has submitted “Zips” as a joke.

U of Akron Chancellor: I like Zips.  Let’s go with Zips.

U of Akron Board member: Really? Zips? What is a Zip?

U of Akron Chancellor: I like to do drugs.

Furthermore, the Zip is a female kangaroo. All it would do is run around trying to protect whatever baby was in its pouch. Seriously, the only other female kangaroo I can think of from pop culture is Kanga from Winnie the Pooh, and I don’t recall her having that “killer instinct”.  ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish.

Thus concludes the first round. Let’s move on.

We now have the Illinois Illini vs. the Boston University Terriers. Even assuming that the Terriers are still in their wild and savage state from all the abuse (which I do not condone), the Illini are more than likely going to have tools, which (sadly) dogs just still don’t have the hang of. ADVANTAGE: Illinois Illini.

Next, we have the Richmond Spiders vs. the Morehead St. Eagles. Let me drop some science on ya. Birds eat bugs, right? Spiders are technically bugs. ADVANTAGE: Morehead St. Eagles.

Next, we have the USC Trojans vs. the Purdue Boilermakers. We’ll begin by breaking down the word “locomotive.” Derived from the Spanish word, “loco” which means “crazy” and the word “motive” which means “metal machine of carnage,” we can see that the Trojans, albeit a formidable foe, would probably have their bones crushed by the locomotive. Other things to consider: A Trojan could just step off the tracks and probably be fine. Even more things to consider: The Trojans were beaten by a giant, wooden horse. Now, I’m no military tactician, but I can’t imagine that I would be that dumb.

HECTOR: Hey, remember how those guys sailed here from Greece and have been trying to kill us for ten years? Well, they just dropped off a giant, wooden horse. Should we totally let our guard down and bring it inside?

PRIAM: Hell yes. Grab some tequila, we’ll have a horse party!

ADVANTAGE: Purdue Boilermakers.

It’s tough to tell who would win between a Florida State Seminole and the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish. My assumption is that the Fightin’ Irish are so pumped about their win over the Zips (what is a Zip?) that they got drunk and are in no position to fight. ADVANTAGE: Florida State Seminoles.

Okay, Sweet Sixteen time. Our first fight is between the Illinois Illini and the Morehead St. Eagles. It’s pretty common knowledge that man has hunted eagles to near-extinction; therefore, history dictates that the Illini would win. I am, however, tired of writing Illinois Illini. It’s just way too many “I”s. ADVANTAGE: Morehead St. Eagles.

Now we have the Florida St. Seminoles vs. the Purdue Boilermakers. Once again, a giant, steel train is pretty daunting, but all the Seminoles have to do is not be on the tracks. In fact, it’s common knowledge that if you put a penny on the tracks, it will derail a train. The Boilermakers’ previous opponents didn’t have any loose change, because the Irish spent all their spare cash on beer and the Peacock is a Peacock, but the Seminoles come prepared. ADVANTAGE: Florida State Seminoles.

Finally, in our big fight to get to the Final Four, we have the Morehead St. Eagles vs. the Florida State Seminoles. We’ve sort of already deliberated on who would win between a Native American and a bird-of-prey, but once again: war-clubs with shark's teeth. Can you imagine anything more terrifying? Seriously, it’s an instrument that says, “Not only do I want to kill you, but I killed a shark to make doing so more simple.” ADVANTAGE: Florida State Seminoles.

So, congratulations to the Seminoles for winning the Mascot Challenge Southwest Bracket. That’s about the only way I can see them going to the Final Four, since I have A&M knocking them out in the first round in real basketball. Anyway, thanks for reading, and go Jayhawks!

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