This post is for all you deep thinking lightweight bracketeers who choose your winners based on mascot. (Don't confuse that with team name.) It's a little food for thought to give you something to chew on as your bracket deadline nears.
1. Aggies aren't what they seem.
North Carolina A&T's mascot is a bulldog, not a farmer. It's an odd-colored yellow bulldog. Could it be an animal husbandry class project gone awry?
The mascot of the other Aggie team, New Mexico State, is human. Pistol Pete is a cowboy, based on Frank "Pistol Pete" Eaton, an actual person.
2. Don't take severe whether too seriously.
As a Texan, I'm used to tornado warnings. I take those seriously. Not so much with the severe whether monikers in this year's tourney bracket. Why? A closer inspection of the Iowa State Cylcones and the Miami Hurricanes reveal they are nothing more than birds.
The Cyclones mascot is a cardinal. Granted, it's a cardinal with teeth, so that's a little weird, but it's still a bird. The Hurricanes mascot is an ibis. (Punnage: the ibis of the hurricane.) An ibis does have a long beak that could poke your eye out. An eye-kabob would be awful, but doesn't have the widespread destructive potential of a hurricane.
3. Consider your imagination. Do you believe in unicorns?
You obviously have some imagination if you're reading this, a blog about costumed characters. But when it comes time to pick a winner, you may want to choose fantasy over reality or vice versa.
I know it may be shocking, but some of the mascots aren't even real! What?
Kansas Jayhawks are mythical birds. The St. Louis Billiken is inspired by a good-luck charm. (Okay, that's borderline real, but the little tchotchke wasn't actually walking around.)
What about the Notre Dame Leprechaun? Real or note real? If the mascot matched the team nickname, there would be no question.
Middle Tennessee State's mascot is a winged horse. (Though their First Four loss saved you having to think about that.) Probably not real.
4. Consider your spirituality, or theology.
What do you do with the Duke Blue Devil or Northwestern State's Vic the Demon? Do you refer back to tip #3 or do you look for the Providence Friar in the bracket? (Providence didn't make the tourney this year, by the way.)
5. No mascot, no win.
If you're using mascot merit only as the criteria for advancing in the bracket, a team with no mascot is out of luck. (Kind of funny since the word mascot used to simply mean something that brought a household luck.)
Nevermind that Indiana is a #1 seed. They have no mascot so out they go. Michigan and Illinois will be joining them.
This is some serious mascotology. Will it help your bracket? I doubt it, but it's a nice break from the usual pre-tourney analysis.
If you're looking for a lighter mascotolgy with graphics, check out the Mascotology: 7 Rules at InsideHook.com.
Slate.com also has cool printable brackets you can pick by team colors or mascot logo. (I could be jealous, but I'll just admire them instead. They are cool.)