Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Capitol One Mascot Bowl - Week 4 Headline Matchup

Buzz (Georgia Tech) vs. The Bird (Air Force Academy)

Buzz - Scouting Report

Buzz is, not to put too fine a point on it, a giant wasp; clocking in at 5'8" and 140 pounds, this particular specimen of Vespula vulgaris is found roaming the sidelines and anthropomorphizing the collective school spirit of Tech fans, although it would not be out of place to find him in your typical late-night sci-fi B-flick, as the title character in something like The Thing That Stung Cleveland to Death. Buzz may well be the result of a horribly awry-gone DoD experiment from the Eisenhower era, although he sports only four legs instead of the usual six. True entomology fans feel this ruins the overall wasplike effect, and they are right. Of course, entomologists have an unhealthy fixation for bugs, so who cares what they think. However you slice it, though, there is no truth to the rumor that a six-appendaged Buzz costume exists, and is only waiting for the GT Athletic Department to locate an undergraduate who wandered a bit too close to the GTRR's decommission site to wear it.

While little is known of his family life -- and, considering that the male/female dynamics of the typical wasp nest approach levels of screwed-uppitousness usually found only on a Showtime cable series, that's probably for the best -- Buzz is nonetheless beloved by the Tech student body, frequently appearing at all Tech sporting events and even venturing off campus to such celebrations at Georgia Tech Six Flags Night.

Buzz's preferred method of attack is the Buzz Flip, a front-flip maneuver which results in his outsized, and, one might assume, extremely deadly stinger pointed chest-high at an onrushing opponent. This line of attack does tend to limit Buzz's range, but anyone who's ever witnessed a Chan Gailey-coached pass rush would see an eerie parallel.

Lingering Questions:

  • Whose brilliant idea was it to let a near-six-foot bee-like entity wander loose at the local Six Flags, where the possibility of him bearing down, possibly drunk, on a gaggle of soon-to-be traumatized toddlers is the only logical outcome?
  • Georgia Tech's other "mascot" (and you thought they only made do with a gigantic insect, didn't you?) is the Ramblin' Wreck, a 1920s-era jalopy that seems to be held together with spit and bailing wire, considering its shaky entrance onto the field during Tech home games. Is the Wreck aerodynamic enough to create a sufficient slipstream that shoots Buzz safely over the top of the vehicle, and not splatter him against the windshield like so many unfortunate members of the wasp family?

The Bird - Scouting Report

What you see is what you get with The Bird, a 5'9", 180-pound blue bird, probably a falcon, as the Falcons are the team name of Air Force -- although probably, sadly, not the sort of blue falcon who comes bringing expensive silk scarves for everyone. Which is as it should be, as the last thing The Bird really needs is to tangle the dangling end of any expensive silk undermentionables in the turbines of the nearest F-14 and get sucked right in, thus rendering him into nothing so much as a fine polyester blue mist. (Hardly the picture of toughness, that.)

True to his avian roots, The Bird lists his skydiving as among his favorite hobbies, which he employs to great effect in his patented entrance into Falcon Stadium, via parachute. Couple this with The Bird's signature move, The Bird Call -- rumored to put even the most stalwart opponent into a state of auditory distress -- and The Bird is a formidable opponent.

The skydiving does raise questions about his purported flying abilities -- he's a damn bird, after all -- and encourages speculation as to whether The Bird's flightlessness (Clipped wings? Onset of vertigo? Recessive dodo gene in family tree?) will hamper him in the upcoming bout. Recent evidence of his new training regimen, however, may put such fears to rest among the bookmaking set.

Lingering Questions:

  • What is it with you Americans and your..."logic?"
  • Did you get that thing I sentcha?


The aerophilic nature of both contenders promises to make this matchup a real WWI-era dogfight...erm, make that bird-wasp-fight, and result in mid-air acrobatics of the kind Ang Lee would kill for in his next weird medieval Chinese kung-fu flick. Although the size and venomousness of Buzz's stinger will prove hard to avoid, The Bird's razor-sharp talons and greater altitude will ultimately give him the advantage, and ultimate victory. Failing that, he can always call in a Hellfire missile strike from the boys in the 407th Tactical Crowd Encouragement Wing and reduce the bug to nothing but a pile of ash and a pair of Converse sneakers.

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