It’s that time of year again: the NCAA tournament. About two years ago, I thought it might be fun to decide a bracket entirely based upon which mascot would win in an actual battle in nature. (Last year, the Cal State Fullerton Titans really let me down.) It’s actually a fun game to play in any sport. When a Giants-Titans Super Bowl looked possible, Jeremy asked me who would win – they’re both just big people, after all. I logically concluded that since the Super Bowl was in Tampa, the Tennessee Titans had the advantage. “They’re closer to their stuff, so they won’t have to reach as far,” I reasoned.
But I digress: I give you the first round picks of my nature bracket. Well, some of them anyway – I started to type rationales for every game, and that just got tedious. Anyhoo, at the end of each weekend, I’ll make updated picks based on how the games actually transpire. (FYI, my Nature Bracket tells me the eventual National Champion will be… Xavier. Find out why below!)
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Siena Saints: Wikipedia says that the buckeye is the state tree of Ohio. If a tree falls on a saint, does the saint die? Well, possibly, but God is on his side. Give me the Saints.
Utah Utes vs. Arizona Wildcats: Tough choice here… Native Americans indigenous to the Utah-Colorado area or wildcats? I’m a big High School Musical fan, so give me (what team?) WILDCATS!
Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Cleveland State Vikings: Hello, paradox! (Seriously, what is a demon deacon?) Sorry CSU – hard to go against other-worldly forces. Wake it is.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Dayton Flyers: *Sigh* I hate mascots like Dayton’s. Really throws a wrench into my “backyard brawl” paradigm. In effect, this is a matchup between a mountain hiker and a… commuter? Paper advertisement? Grrrr…. I’m going with WVU. Either way, a rugged mountain person could kick a business traveler’s (or handout’s) ass.
Kansas Jayhawks vs. North Dakota State Bison: Birds are challenging in the nature bracket. What they lack in strength, they more than make up for in elusiveness and creepiness. I’ll take Kansas because jayhawks could fly away from the bison….s…?
Boston College Eagles vs. USC Trojans: Just so y’all know, I’m going to consider Trojans in the Roman (and not contraceptive) sense. While birds are elusive, they can’t elude a Trojan’s spear. Oh snap.
Michigan State Spartans vs. RMU Colonials: Have you seen The 300? I haven’t, but I heard King Leonidas is bad-a. Go MSU!
UConn Huskies vs. Tennessee-Chatanooga: Dang. Okay, Mascot for UTC is the “Mocs.” Initially, I thought that meant moccassins, and I thought, “Sweet! Snakes rarely enter this world.” But further research revealed that a Moc is some kind of a bird wearing a conductor hat (like Chatanooga choo choo). Anyway, I’m going to pull for the Huskies, if only because UTC’s success will mean difficult decisions for me in coming weeks.
BYU Cougars vs. TAMU Aggies: I’m a purist, so I won’t consider today’s connotations of cougar (old woman hunting young men) for my picks. Plus, whatever… Gig ‘Em Ags!
Washington Huskies vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs: Huskies seem so formal, like they wouldn’t want to mess up their fur in a fight. I’ll give into the stereotype of fight-loving Southerners – MSU!
Missouri Tigers vs. Cornell Bears: Because I think a bear would win, and because I love Andy Bernard from the Office… Go Big Red Bear!
Memphis Tigers vs. Cal State Northridge: When can a man beat a tiger? When that man is a MATADOR! Cal State Northridge!
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Tennessee Volunteers: This ain’t no canned food drive, Tennessee. Also, Big 12 love. OSU!
Florida State Seminoles vs. Wisconsin Badgers: Seminoles probably eat and wear badgers in nature. Awesome.
Xavier Musketeers vs. Portland State Vikings: We’re Xavier, and we have MUSKETS. (This also enables a second-round Musketeers vs. Seminole matchup, which we last saw, like, hundreds of years ago. History repeating itself… what’s more natural than that?)
American Eagles vs. Villanova Wildcats: I just put this here because I guarantee you one of my students would say something like this: “American Eagles? Do you think they did that because of the store?” (BTW: Villanova)
North Carolina Tarheels vs. Radford Whatevers: One of the advantages of the nature bracket is it gives you a chance to ask and answer questions like, “What is a tar heel?” Wikipedia has a bunch of blah blah about it, but here’s my thought: if tar is stuck on your heel, can you move? NO. By extension, if you cannot move, can you defeat anything? NO. Radford. (oooh, just looked it up – Radford’s mascot is the Highlanders! I think that’s some movie where people can only be killed by having their heads cut off, right? Ooooh… AWESOME.)
Syracuse Orangemen vs. SFA Lumberjacks: A lumberjack isn’t going to ask, “why are you orange, man?” No, he’ll just cut you. (Aside: I hope SFA eventually plays Radford.)
Okay – that just took an hour and a half. That either means I am hilarious or I have a serious problem. Anyway – happy March Madness! And Happy Birthday, Parker! And Happy St. Paddy’s Day!