Pokemon - the original 150 from Red and Blue, not this X and Y stuff - have taken the world by storm again thanks to Pokemon GO. Normally, Bring on the Cats would be above shamelessly taking advantage of trends for a cheap listicle (Editor's note: Would we really?), but it's the offseason, the dog days of summer when #content is hard to come by. So here they are, our picks for which Pokemon best represent Big 12 teams.
Baylor Bears = Porygon
Pokedex entry: "A Pokemon that consists entirely of programming code. Capable of moving freely in cyberspace."
On Dec. 16, 1997, Japanese television showed the 38th episode of the Pokemon cartoon show, the title of which is translated as "Electric Soldier Porygon." The episode hasn’t been rebroadcast since, and for good reason.
The episode featured repetitive visual effects that triggered seizures in some viewers. According to The New York Times, more than 700 viewers were taken to hospitals.
"Some children vomited blood and others had seizures or lost consciousness," NYT writer Sheryl WuDunn wrote two days later.
Later studies showed an additional 5 to 10 percent of viewers suffered milder symptoms, ones that didn’t require medical intervention.
We at Bring on the Cats have been unable to confirm whether the Baylor Bears’ uniforms are intended to induce some amount of disorientation in opponents, much like effects "Electric Soldier Porygon" had on Japanese television viewers almost 19 years ago.
Iowa State Cyclones = Spearow
Pokedex entry: "Eats bugs in grassy areas. It has to flap its short wings at high speed to stay airborne."
Spearow is an angry red bird that can be found fairly early in Pokemon Red and Blue. It isn’t bad early on – its Peck move is super-effective against the many bugs in Viridian Forest. Once you start getting into the gyms, Spearow’s weaknesses become more apparent, though. Its base stats are poor, with only speed and attack being acceptable, and it only has a type advantage in one gym, Celadon City.
Iowa State’s mascot is an angry red bird. The Cyclones likely will be favored in only one Big 12 game, against KU.
Kansas Jayhawks = Magikarp
Pokedex entry: "In the distant past, it was somewhat stronger than the horribly weak descendants that exist today."
Was 2009 really that long ago? Yes, yes it was.
Magikarp’s only move until level 15 is splash – "No effect!" It doesn’t learn to tackle until level 15. Even then, it’s practically useless because it has such poor offensive stats. The only purpose of including a Magikarp in your team is to drag it along until it hits level 20, when it evolves into a powerful Gyarados.
Last year the Jayhawks gave up 1,627 combined yards to South Dakota State, Memphis, and Rutgers, so apparently they didn’t learn to tackle early on either. The rest of the Big 12 had to drag KU along until November, when the Jayhawks became a basketball team.
Kansas State Wildcats = Lapras
Pokedex entry: "A Pokemon that has been overhunted almost to extinction. It can ferry people across the water."
In many people’s opinion, Lapras isn’t the most exciting Pokemon. It’s a bit slow, its only outstanding stat is HP, and there are lots of other water-type Pokemon in the game. On the other hand, it has a strong move list, learning body slam, confuse ray and ice beam (which is an excellent move against Lance’s Dragonairs and Dragonite at the Elite Four). Lapras also learns hydro pump relatively early at level 46. And with the ability to learn solarbeam, psychic, and thunderbolt from TMs, Lapras has the potential to surprise almost anyone.
Like Lapras, K-State football isn’t flashy. The offense is the anti-hurry-up, special teams tends to be the only truly outstanding phase of the game, and there are lots of "Wildcats" in college football. But Kansas State has the shown the ability to defeat even elite college football teams.
Oklahoma Sooners = Charizard
Pokedex entry: "Spits fire that is hot enough to melt boulders. Known to cause forest fires unintentionally."
Charizard gets a lot of attention. It was on the box art for Pokemon Red, is arguably the coolest looking of the starters’ final evolutions, and for the people who played the trading card game, a hologram Charizard was the equivalent of Ken Griffey Jr.’s Upper Deck rookie card. Charizard isn’t Pikachu, and it isn’t Mewtwo, but Charizard is probably a top five Pokemon nationally.
But there’s an argument to be made that Charizard is overrated. Yeah, it wins a lot of gym badges and frequently plays in the Elite Four. It hasn’t been Pokemon Champion since 2000 when Pokemon Gold and Silver were released, though. And it would be crazy to forget its quadruple weakness to rock attacks. Remember when a little Geodude named Darren Sproles went for 235 rushing yards and 88 receiving yards against Charizard?
Oklahoma State Cowboys = Meowth
Pokedex entry: "Adores circular objects. Wanders the streets on a nightly basis to look for dropped loose change."
Meowth has a lot of team speed, but unless it was a sentimental favorite because of the cartoon series, the main reason to use Meowth was Pay Day. Pay Day did a little bit of damage and also scattered coins; win the battle, pick up twice Meowth’s level in coins. All those extra coins help pay for the tremendous facilities upgrades the Cowboys have made over the last decade and a half.
TCU Horned Frogs = Feraligatr
Pokedex entry: "When it bites with its massive and powerful jaws, it shakes its head and savagely tears its victim up."
Feraligatr isn’t one of the original Pokemon, but after it showed up in the second generation, it quickly demonstrated that it belonged. Feraligatr got up to speed with the higher level of competition quickly, since it evolves from Croconaw at level 30 (the earliest of any starter Pokemon to reach their final evolutionary form). Feraligatr hits hard and has a stout defense. Shortly after being introduced, it developed a rivalry with Blastoise, which on the surface it has a lot in common with. Both Pokemon deny they care about their rivalry, though.
Texas Longhorns = Snorlax
Pokedex entry: "Very lazy. Just eats and sleeps. As its rotund bulk builds, it becomes steadily more slothful."
Snorlax is the ultimate sleeping giant, just like Longhorns football. It weighs in at 1,014.1 lbs., making it the heaviest Pokemon in the original games.
Commentators point to Snorlax’s huge talent pool of HP as evidence that it’s ready to turn the corner, but it is still getting over its last trainer’s tendency to recruit quarterbacks as defensive backs, and with its slow speed it plays a plodding style of game.
Texas Tech Red Raiders = Electrode
Pokedex entry: "It stores electric energy under very high pressure. It often explodes with little or no provocation."
Electrode is fast. Really fast. It plays really up tempo, with an electric offense. It’s defense is suspect, though, and anyone who has paid attention long enough knows Electrode has a tendency to self-destruct.
West Virginia Mountaineers = Typhlosion
Pokedex entry: "If its rage peaks, it becomes so hot that anything that touches it will instantly go up in flames."
… like, hypothetically speaking, a couch?
I feel like I could end the comparison there, but Typhlosion joined the Pokemon series in the second generation, the same as Feraligatr. It’s offense is fast, and its trainer is always looking to burn the opposing defense.
What do you think, Pokefans? Did we nail the picks, or would you choose differently? And what about candidates for Big 12 expansion? Are there any potential Emboars, or are the candidates all Trubbish?