What do a roaring cat, a tree, a bison, a duck, a woodsman, a Greek warrior, a dog, and a Native American all have in common?
Well, if you’re an avid college football fan you’ll know that these descriptions represent team mascots, which are beloved symbols of identity across campuses nationwide. Fans often revere their team’s mascot and fervently claim theirs is the best of all colleges.
While there is no definitive way to determine the “best” team mascot, everyone will agree that a strong emotional attachment is associated with our favorite team and by extension, the mascot no matter how awesome or kooky it may seem.
This week we count down the #6-10 of the top ten college mascots as compiled from fan votes and extramural rankings. Let’s get started.
#10: The Mountaineer, West Virginia: The Mountaineer mascot was conceived in the late 1920’s and became a common fixture at the school in the early 30’s. Current tradition includes an annual competition to select a worthy student to be the Mountaineer for the year. The coonskin cap, buckskin clothing, and fully operational flintlock rifle create a unique look and is a favorite of the West Virginia student body. Neck beard anyone?
#9: Otto the Orange, Syracuse: Though not an imposing figure, the recent (1990) introduction of an orange as a mascot comes after the university had previously presented several other school characters. From a Saltine Warrior and an orange armored Roman gladiator was born the idea of………an orange? Takes all kinds I guess.
#8. The Tree, Stanford: In my humble opinion this is by far one of the most bizarre mascots in college today. Although Stanford’s team name is the Cardinals, a student vote in 1975 chose the Tree as its official mascot. Another interesting aspect of this unusual selection is that the Tree changes its appearance each year. It’s truly a sight to see!
#7. War Eagle, Auburn: For all you Auburn fans I have a question. Are you suffering an identity crisis? Are you Tigers or War Eagles? All kidding aside the term War Eagle is actually Auburn’s battle cry and a live golden or bald eagle has been soaring over the crowds since 1930. A bird of prey is not a bad representation for your sports teams!
#6. Ralphie, Colorado: With a name like Ralphie one would be inclined to think Colorado’s thundering buffalo mascot would be male however, since the official adoption of Ralphie in 1966, all of the mascots since have been females. This is due to fact that male bison are twice as large with an attitude to match. It’s an exciting spectacle as Ralphie urges the fans to do “the buffalo stomp” prior to every game!
Next week we will countdown the top five college mascots in the country.
By Dr. Vincent K. Ramsey
Dr. Vincent K. Ramsey, is the Chair of Sports Exercise Science at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.