Mascot Mayhem Recap

Mascots

Two months ago, we started a contest to see which school had the top mascot in the NCAA. This contest was designed to see which schools had the most spirit, and it showed in the contest that all of the schools involved have great pride in their schools!

The contest was also designed to create some early season interest in the upcoming basketball season. With the season just over a week away, we hope that fans of collegiate basketball at all of the schools involved are getting excited for their team to kick off the regular season.

The contest featured some high-profile mascots that some expected to go all of the way. Michigan State’s Sparty, Auburn’s Aubie the Tiger, Massachusetts’ Sam the Minuteman, and Colorado’s Ralphie all came on strong at the beginning of the competition, but fell short of reaching the Championship Match.

The finals saw two mascots from mid-major programs go head-to-head, after dominating their respective brackets. Kaboom!, the mascot of the Bradley Braves, and Harry T. Hawk, the mascot of the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks, both gained steam as the contest rolled on and came into the finals on rolls of their own.

The final matchup was the round that garnered the highest amount of votes out of any rounds in the entire contest. Both of the mascots and the schools should be proud of what they accomplished, but there can only be one winner.

Before we get to the winner, let’s take a look back at how each mascot got to the finals.

First, we will start with Harry T. Hawk of UMES. Harry found himself in the West Region, after our random drawing of the 64 mascots in the field.

The West Region was loaded with strong mid-major mascots. Harry was in the same bracket as the likes of Stetson’s John B. Stetson, UC Santa Barbara’s Ole!, Delaware’s YoUDee, and Saint Louis’ the Billiken.

There were some big name mascots, as well, that looked to be heavyweight contenders in the region. Big Jay from Kansas, Big Al from Alabama, and Judge from Baylor were all in the West, but were eliminated in the first round. Harry took on Big Al, and sent him packing back to Tuscaloosa to train for another shot next season.

That kick-started Harry’s run through the West Regional. The second round saw Harry take on Ole! from UCSB, who had knocked off Judge in the opening round. Harry disposed of Ole!, to set up a heavyweight mid-major matchup with John B. Stetson in the Sweet 16.

The Hatters’ mascot, who is a prominent figure around the campus of Stetson University, was no match for the 9′, air-filled mascot of UMES, as Harry continued to roll on in the competition. With a trip to the Final Four on the line, Harry T. Hawk disposed of the Billiken from Saint Louis.

Harry’s trip to the Final Four wasn’t overly easy, as the matchups were hard-fought victories at the start of the challenge. However, as the contest wore on, Harry picked up steam and didn’t look like he could be stopped.

Harry was matched up against Sammy C. Hawk from UNC Wilmington in the first matchup of the Final Four. In a battle of the Hawks, Harry once again stood tall, defeating Sammy to set up the championship with Kaboom!, in what was sure to be a high scoring affair.

Now, let’s take a look at how Kaboom! got to the finals.

The gargoyle mascot of the Bradley Braves is one of the more unique mascots in the country, as you won’t find another gargoyle mascot. Kaboom! was hot right from the start of the contest, leading almost every round in total votes.

Kaboom! found himself in the same bracket as Sparty, Syracuse’s Otto the Orange, Texas A&M-CC’s Izzy the Islander, and Iowa State’s Cy the Cyclone.

In the first round, Kaboom! easily handled Otto the Orange, cruising to an easy first round victory. The second round saw Kaboom! cruise to another victory, this time over the Lumberjack from Stephen F. Austin. At this point in time, Kaboom! looked like the clear favourite due to the number of votes he was receiving each round and the spirit that the Bradley Braves were showing on social media to get fans to vote.

From there, Kaboom! would go on to eliminate a pair of Big Ten mascots, in Minnesota’s Goldy the Gopher and Michigan State’s Sparty, both in convincing fashion, to send him to the finals in what was arguably the most lopsided run to the finals.

The Final Four saw Kaboom! take on Sam the Minuteman from Massachusetts. In a matchup that garnered over 1,000 votes total, Kaboom squeezed by Sam in what was Kaboom!’s toughest challenge to date. This set up the high-powered matchup of two unexpected mid-major mascots in Kaboom! and Harry T. Hawk.

The contest as a whole saw over 7,600 votes come in via the polls, Twitter, and Facebook. The final matchup itself garnered over 1,100 votes.

In a lopsided victory, the winner of the 1st Annual College Court Report Mascot Mayhem contest is…

HARRY THE HAWK, UMES!

Harry T. Hawk is the first-ever winner of the College Court Report Mascot Mayhem contest!

Behind a record 827 votes in the championship matchup, Harry T. Hawk took it to Kaboom! and never let up. Behind an increased presence on social media by the UMES Athletics department and various sport teams at UMES, Harry was able to score a ton of votes to lead him to victory.

The mascot challenge caught the attention of some local news stations and minor league sporting teams in the area, which also helped Harry on the campaign trail. The Delmarva Shorebirds, who are the single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, jumped on board to help Harry win the challenge. Article features on the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore website and local news station WBOC 16 didn’t hurt Harry’s chances, either.

Campus-wide pushes for students and faculty to vote were ultimately what led Harry T. Hawk to victory.

With the contest now over until next season, I would like to take the time and thank everyone who took the time out of their days to vote for their favourite mascots over the past couple of months! It was great to see how invested some schools got in the challenge and how much they wanted their mascot to win a challenge that was being operated by a little-known college basketball website from Canada. Hopefully the challenge generated some early-season interest with some of the schools in this challenge, as they look forward to the start of the 2014-15 NCAA regular season. Personally, I cannot wait for the first regular season basketball game to tip off on November 14th, 2014.

The contest will be back next year, without a doubt. Harry T. Hawk will be back to defend his title, and may have to oust fellow UMES mascot in HH3 to do so. You never know who will be in next year’s field, but count on Harry being a tough opponent once again!

Congratulations to Harry T. Hawk, the winner of the 1st Annual College Court Report Mascot Mayhem challenge!

– T.B.