Heather Wolf
coordinator of Student Activities, Nebraskan Student Union, 308.865.839

Lions and Tigers and Bears and even Oh! My! highlight the bracket pairings as the increasingly popular Internet television talk show SportsTalkNY unveiled the matchups for its Third Annual Mascot Madness competition to be crowned the country’s Best College Mascot.

“This mascot competition is unlike any other, not only because of how the competitors are grouped, but because of the concerted effort to include representatives from oft-overlooked schools,” said co-host A.J. Carter, the chair (and sole member) of the selection committee. “Mascot madness proves that schools don’t need to have a 100,000-seat football stadium to engender school spirit – or a beloved mascot.”

“There’s no better example than last year’s champion, Moravian College’s Amos the Greyhound,” said co-host Mark Rosenman. “Moravian rallied their voters, and with thousands casting ballots, Amos came out victorious. We’ll see if they are able to do it again.”

Amos returns to defend his crown and work his way through the incredibly competitive Oh!My! quadrant. He is joined by 31 other mascots who represent the best suits with big heads in college athletics. Of note in this year’s competition is the inclusion of the mascots from Carter and Rosenman’s alma maters – Brandeis University’s Ollie the Owl and Columbia University’s Roar-ee the Lion for Carter and New York Institute of Technology’s Nyit the Bear for Rosenman.

This year’s first round pairings are:

In the Lions quadrant:  University of South Alabama’s South Paw vs. Old Dominion’s University’s Big Blue;  Binghamton University’s Baxter the Bearcat vs. Columbia University’s Roar-ee; Texas A&M-Commerce’s Lucky vs. University of Sioux Falls’s Cooper the Cougar; and University of Minnesota-Morris’ Pounce vs. Missouri Southern State University’s Lion.

In the Tigers quadrant: Towson University’s Doc vs. Jackson State University’s Wavee Dave (or his successor); University of the Pacific’s Power Cat vs. Wittenberg University’s Ezry; Occidental College’s Oswald vs. DePauw University’s Tyler; and Grambling University’s Mr. Tiger vs. University of Missouri’s Truman.

In the Bears quadrant:  University of Montana’s Monte vs. Mercer University’s Toby; Coast Guard Academy’s Objee vs. University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s Ranger D. Bear; New York Institute of Technology’s NYIT vs. Kutztown University’s Avalanche; and University of Maine’s Bananas vs. University of Northern Colorado’s Klawz.

In the Oh!My! quadrant:  Moravian College’s Amos vs. Butler University’s Hink; Florida State University’s Chief Oscelola vs. University of Central Florida’s Knightro; Indiana State University’s Sycamore Sam vs. Missouri University of Science and Technology’s Joe Miner; and Brandeis University’s Ollie the Owl vs. University of Nebraska-Kearney’s Louie the Loper.

People wanting to cast their ballots should visit  the show’s website,www.sportstalknylive.com. and click the Mascot Madness link

Now in its fourth year, the weekly SportstalkNY has built a growing loyal following with its mix of interviews with sports celebrities and authors and its analysis of the week’s developments. Guests have ranged from boxing greats Evander Holyfield, Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler to hockey legends Phil Esposito and Gordie Howe and authors Peter Golenbock, Phil Pepe and Jim Bouton as well as comedians Pat Cooper Robert Klein.

What makes SportstalkNY different from other sports talk shows is the live chat component, allowing viewers to comment, in real time, on the evening’s discussion, talking about the hosts, to them, or even asking questions that are passed on to the guests.

Mascot Madness stemmed from a chat room discussion, as Carter reported on his trip to the college cheerleading championship at Disney World (his son cheers for the University of Delaware) and watching the mascot competition. The reports sparked so much back-and-forth in the chat room that Carter and Rosenman decided to run a bracket competition similar to the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.

Viewers wishing to catch up on the competition can view previous shows in the archive section of the SportstalkNY website. They can also download podcasts of the interviews.

The show airs from 9-11 p.m. Sundays on UStream Television. The winner of the Mascot Madness competition will be announced on the April 24 show.