I'm not exactly the biggest fan of college basketball, but March Madness is a huge deal.
Rather than refer to the NCAA Championships as "the sports" or ridiculing people for being fans of something (two responses I find rather distasteful), I joined the fun by coming up with my own March Madness bracket — based on which mascot would win in a fight.
The Round of 64 and the Round of 32 are a things of the past, so now that we're three rounds deep any resemblance between these pairings and reality are purely coincidental. Good to be done with the Rounds and into Sweet territory, anyway.
Kansas Jayhawks v Maryland Terrapins
Jonathan the tortoise lives on the island of Saint Helena. While no one knows exactly how old he is (and it's not polite to ask), he was already pretty old (~50 years) when he was brought to the island in 1882, making him just over 130 years old. So, terrapins have quite a bit of staying power.
As you might expect after running the numbers, no veterans of the Civil War survive (although a few Union and Confederate veterans survived into the 1950s).
Due to their staying power, I'm giving this one to the Terrapins. But since we're on the topic of Civil War veterans anyway, did you know there's still one person drawing a Civil War pension?
Winner: Maryland Terrapins
Miami Hurricanes v Temple Owls
Prior to Hurricane Wilma, the University of Florida's Everglades Research and Education Center deployed over 200 artificial nest boxes for owls in the Everglades. The storm destroyed most of these nests, leaving owls homeless. However, the repaired boxes were quickly re-occupied, implying Florida's owls found some way to weather the storm.
Owls have a distinct advantage over the cows and kittens that previously faced off against Florida's force of nature: the power of flight.
Winner: Temple Owls
St Joe's Hawks v Duke Blue Devils
In the Round of 64, Duke's Blue Devils (the French Special Forces) took on the Seahawks with relative ease, skeet-shooting their way to victory. Once again, they're facing off against Hawks. This is a reprise of a familiar tune.
Winner: Duke Blue Devils
Northern Iowa Panthers v Oklahoma Sooners
Early Oklahoman homesteaders may have had no trouble setting up a few traps to snag a few beavers, but panthers are a much bigger problem.
...a bigger problem, but a manageable one. There was apparently a thriving bobcat-trapping business back in the day. Not because the pelts were valued, but because they were considered to be threats to the livestock. According to the Oklahoma Wildlife Department, approximately 6,000 Oklahoma bobcats continue to be "harvested" every year.
Admittedly, panthers look more intimidating than their Oklahoma brethren, but I assume similar principles apply, given the homesteaders' experiences.
Winner: Oklahoma Sooners
North Carolina Tar Heels v Kentucky Wildcats
Bobcats are also North Carolina's local wild feline, and North Carolinians were similarly well versed in managing the local threat.
Winner: North Carolina Tar Heels
Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks v Xavier Musketeers
Never bring a knife to a gunfight. Simple as that.
Harrison Ford Xavier Musketeers
Butler Bulldogs v Purdue Boilermakers
The Boilermakers have made it this far thanks to their ingenuity with metalworking. However, I can't really think of how that would help them against the bulldogs. Maybe throwing together a linked chain might help a little?
Then again, the Butler Bulldogs have made it this far because they had the home turf advantage. Both Raiders and Pirates are likely to intrude with the intent to steal...that edge is lost, here.
This will not be either team's best match of the bracket, but the Boilermakers have a slight edge. Or at least, they can probably forge one.
Winner: Purdue Boilermakers
Seton Hall Pirates v Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
I finally need to figure out what a Blue Raider is, huh. My Little Pony jokes aside, it's a blue horse with wings. So basically a Pegasus, meaning we're taking a trip back to the annals of mythology.
Pegasus is the child of Poseidon and Medusa. Complicating things, Medusa was the daughter of the god Phorcys and goddess Ceto, making Pegasus a monster that is 100% divine. That doesn't mean instant victory for the Blue Raiders - divine monsters and children of gods get killed with frightening regularity in Greek myth. However, Pegasus has a bit more staying power.
See, Pegasus is most known for being the steed of the hero Bellerophon...the two of the accomplished great things together, until Bellerophon was overcome with hubris and tried to ride Pegasus to Mount Olympus to claim the godhood he thought he deserved - almost an act of piracy, if you think of it that way. Pegasus made the trip, Bellerophon didn't.
Winner: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders