Now that we know the 16 mascots competing out west, it’s time to turn our attention to the South region in the 2017 Mid-Major Madness Mascot Melee.
10 different conferences snuck at least one team into the South field, including two bitter rivals from the Atlantic 10, who will face each other in the First Round.
Here’s the complete regional breakdown:
No. 1 Blaze (UAB) vs. No. 16 Hornet (Alabama State)
Dragons make excellent mascots, especially in the Game of Thrones era. Between a lively Twitter account, pictures of him dancing and partying, and more, Blaze proves to be both friendly and versatile. Then there’s the Alabama State Hornet — a somewhat generic mascot, sure, but this one actually looks like a pretty fierce bee. And I’m scared of bees. Very scared of bees.
No. 8 Cayenne (Louisiana) vs. No. 9 Aggie (North Carolina A&T)
8-9 matchups are always fun and this is no exception. Louisiana trots out Cayenne (a freakin’ pepper!) because, the school says, it describes their way of life: hot, spicy, and able to clear your sinuses, I guess? As for Aggie, he is more than just a Bulldog. Take a look at this bonkers story about his origins. This takes place when a bulldog that the school used to herd cattle showed up at a football game at some point a long time ago:
The football game was a rough and tumble affair and the Aggies had become despondent. The fullback was bursting through the line on play after play- even scoring now and then- over the opposition's defense. But the referee did not seem to think so and called each touchdown back.
Finally, in the last few minutes of the game, the big fullback broke through the opposition's defense and scored a touchdown. A big roar naturally thundered up from the crowd for the Aggies, but when the clamour died down to a hush the referee threw up the sign "No Good."
Just at this moment someone untied the bulldog and he tore into the referee. Down on the ground he went and the bulldog began to work him overtime.
It almost cost A. and T. College membership in the CIAA, but it vindicated the Aggies. For if ever there had been a howl from the team and fans it was this day when the referee concluded that the team could not do anything right. Since this day the mascot for the A. and T. College football team has been called "Bulldog."
No. 5 Chauncey (Coastal Carolina) vs. No. 12 John B. (Stetson)
Much like Aggie, Chauncey has a weird story as well. A chanticleer is a rooster referenced in the Canterbury Tales. As Chaucer describes him:
"For crowing there was not his equal in all the land. His voice was merrier than the merry organ that plays in church, and his crowing from his resting place was more trustworthy than a clock. His comb was redder than fine coral and turreted like a castle wall, his bill was black and shone like a jet, and his legs and toes were like azure. His nails were whiter than the lily and his feathers were like burnished gold."
Meanwhile John B. is named after John B. Stetson, the hat maker who donated generously to the university that now bears his name. The most impressive part about John B. is that he’s a large human mascot that somehow avoids being overwhelmingly creepy.
No. 4 Ozzie (North Florida) vs. No. 13 Scrappy (Chattanooga)
According to North Florida’s athletics site, Ozzie is 7’2 and a few pounds short of the elevator limit. So for a bird (or anything for that matter), he’s imposing. Also, there’s something about Ozzie that makes me really want to rub his tummy. Do birds like that? Then there’s Scrappy the Moc (mockingbird), who is named after former football coach A.C. “Scrappy” Moore. While Ozzie wins in terms of cuteness, Scrappy’s beak makes him more intimidating. You choose which is more important.
No. 6 WebstUR (Richmond) vs. No. 11 Rodney (VCU)
Richmond fans hate VCU fans. VCU fans hate Richmond fans. This matchup had to happen. If this was the NCAA Tournament, conspiracy theories would be flying. Since it’s not, I’ll tell you: I believe WebstUR and Rodney to be seeded approximately where they belong, but I may have massaged the numbers a bit to make them face each other. Now we get to see who has the better fanbase.
No. 3 Scotty the Scotsman (Presbyterian) vs. No. 14 Gaylord (Campbell)
Have you watched the above video yet? If not, please do, because Cam’s fake Scottish accent is excellent and he worked very hard on it. Presbyterian’s nickname is the Blue Hose (short for Blue Stockings), and Scotty wears them proudly. Then there’s Gaylord the Camel, the fiercest shoe-wearing, humpless, mane-ed camel that you will ever see.
No. 7 Bruno (New Orleans) vs. No. 10 Sammy C. Hawk (UNC Wilmington)
At first glance, Captain Bruno may appear to be your typical pirate mascot, but two things set him apart: first, that blue, bushy facial hair. Look at that stuff. Second, he is, without a doubt, the most intimidating pirate in Division I. Here’s proof. Speaking of facial hair, Sammy C. Hawk’s makes him look like an old and wise mascot — the clear patriarch of our avian furry friends.
No. 2 Howl (Arkansas State) vs. No. 15 Norm (Charlotte)
Everything about Howl is great. From his color, to his design, to his demeanor, he is everything you want from a mascot, and he’s recognized nationally for being downright great at what he does. As for Norm, there’s a lot going on here, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The beard is burly. He’s a miner, so there’s a backstory. And his name is Norm. He’s a mascot named Norm. Norm.
Big Blue (Old Dominion)