Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Capital One Mascot Bowl – Week 3 Headline Matchup

Mr. Wuf (N.C. State) versus Testudo (Maryland)

Mr. Wuf – Scouting Report

Mr. Wuf is, as one might expect, a wolf, which means razor-sharp teeth, deep animal cunning, and a cute little sailor hat that can distract even the least fashion-conscious opponent. Unlike most mascots, Mr. Wuf has a well-rounded family life (he’s married to the perhaps inevitable Mrs. Wuf) and enjoys a career outside of mascotry, appearing in books like Hello, Mr. Wuf. Why Mrs. Wuf is not similarly greeted is not known.

On the plus side, Mr. Wuf is perhaps the only fearsome mascot in the RTP area, because, let’s face it, sheep don’t have heels to get tar on, and the Duke Blue Devil looks like a superdeformed manga character who’s O.D.’ed on J.J. Redick’s poetry. That leave the wolf, pretty much by default, as the apex predator of the foam-head-and-big-shoes set.

Mr. Wuf prefers to bob and weave, relying on speed and ferocity to flank his opponents. This is wise, as in a stand-up fight he usually ends up getting sat down rather quickly. His best maneuver involves clamping his massive jaws over an opponent’s head, thus immobilizing the poor bastard while Mrs. Wuf then administers the coup de grace with a suitably blunt object, such as Chuck Amato’s offensive gameplan.

Lingering Questions:

  • Having Mrs. Wuf as the only other member of the Pack raises lingering questions about virility and long-term population viability. Or, as Los Lobos might put it, even with a win, will the wolf survive?
  • Mrs. Wuf wears what looks suspiciously like a poodle skirt, which really detracts from that whole “wolf” thing.
  • The cutesy sailor hat and sweater combo, combined with the omnipresence of his mate, suggests that Mr. Wuf is in fact the Doug Christie of mascotry. Can he fight his own battles?
  • Can Mr. Wuf recover from the shock and hangover of the Boston College game enough to mount any kind of a coherent defense, or will Testudo register “another Wolfpack, first down?”

Testudo – Scouting Report

Named for a Roman military formation (which was, in turn, named after a turtle), Testudo brings a pugnacious nature, a pugilistic pose, and an Armor Class of 2 (it’s the shell, doncha know?) to the brawl. Slow-moving and deliberate, he relies on his carapace to soak up punishment while wading in to deliver the knockout blow. The patented Alligator Snapping Turtle Bite is a lethal finisher, though his effective combat range is limited. Testudo’s large, googly eyes are vulnerable, particularly since his arms aren’t long enough to cover them.

A long-standing victim of species profiling (his unique standing as a diamondback terrapin routinely reduced to mere turtlehood by the distasteful chelonist chant “Fear the turtle!”), Testudo fights with a chip on what would be his shoulder if he had any. Instead, he generally tucks at least one tire iron and a shiv or two into his shell, the better to pull out on an unsuspecting opponent at just the right moment.

Lingering Questions:

  • Can Testudo move fast enough to counter Mr. Wuf’s edge in agility, or will he rely on brains to offset Wuf’s brawn? Testudo’s not above fighting dirty, and bringing up those distasteful rumors about Mrs. Wuf and Georgia Tech’s Buzz may be enough to get Mr. Wuf off his game.
  • Will the rumors of artificial shell enhancement prove true? A report in the San Francisco Chronicle included records of concrete, rebar, and Jimmy Johnson’s hairspray being delivered to Testudo’s address, along with TGH (turtle growth hormone). This may be enough to get the plucky terrapin disqualified, particularly if he runs afoul of the new, more stringent mascot testing procedures. The fact that he’s been training with Todd Sauerbrun probably won’t help.

Prediction:

Still muzzy from the celebration following the Amato-saving defeat of Boston College, Mr. Wuf is going to stumble right into Testudo’s slow but inexorable clutches. While the “B” sample of the terrapin’s shell will prove inconclusive, Mr. Wuf will go down to slow, ignominious defeat – after which Mrs. Wuf will file for divorce, and start dating the turtle.

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