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In light of the slow but sure advent of college football and the subsequent promise of unparalleled joy for millions of red-blooded Americans, the top 25 USA Today Coaches’ Poll recently came out. Right now, speculation doesn’t really matter unless it has to do with scheduling the games that will air during primetime. This is why rather than trying to determine if these preseason rankings mean anything, I decided to consider much more important issues. Of course, this means power ranking the mascots of the preseason top 25.
25. Stanford – A Christmas Tree?
Image via SportsNation
I’m not entirely sure what the fuck was going through Stanford’s head when the school picked its mascot. The name “Cardinal” actually refers to a shade of red, not the bird, and Stanford’s former mascot was an Indian. With this whole Redskins shitshow going on, it’s easy to see why Stanford decided to change mascots. But an evergreen? Are you serious, Clark? It looks like a Christmas tree with no ornaments, no love, and no America. Take a few laps, Stanford.
24. Ohio State – Brutus Buckeye
Image via J.America
I honestly have no fucking idea what a buckeye is. From what I understand, it’s some kind of nut. What kind of mascot is that? Georgia’s mascot isn’t a peanut. Are there any walnut mascots? Pecans? Cashews? Brutus, the round, brown, fucking nut. Get out of here.
23. Oregon – Puddles, AKA The Duck
Image via ESPN
Nobody outside Eugene likes the University of Oregon, and it has a horrible mascot. First of all, he looks like Donald Duck. Donald fucking Duck, dressed in an Oregon sweater with an ascot and a hat. And to top it all off, his name used to be Puddles. Yeah, nothing screams “football” like a duck mascot named Puddles.
22. Nebraska – Herbie Husker and Lil’ Red
Image via Erin Murray
Talk about some creepy as fuck mascots. Herbie Husker looks like he cornholes stranded drivers in his barn before killing them, chopping them up, and burying them underneath his silo. Lil’ Red, on the other hand, is a big Howdy Doody-looking motherfucker. Mascots shouldn’t give you legitimate fear for your wellbeing; they should give you pride in your team.
21. North Carolina – Rameses the Ram
Image via Fan Feet Heels
Rameses pulls, clearly, but he’s far from original.
20. Texas A&M – Reveille Rough Collie
Image via Youtube
I love dogs, but a Collie looks like a dog that belongs to a snobby, French, aristocratic woman. Something military-related would have been a much better choice.
19. Arizona State – Sparky
Image via Youtube
Someone hated Walt Disney.
18. Notre Dame – The Leprechaun
Image via Twitter
The Fighting Irish’s mascot is a leprechaun, a creature about as real as Manti Te’o’s college girlfriend. Mythical creatures like Manti Te’o’s girlfriend don’t have to make for horrible mascots, but Notre Dame’s leprechaun IS horrible. This is one of those situations where a cartoony Lucky Charms-looking mascot outfit would look better than a full-sized man in a leprechaun outfit. Two laps for Notre Dame.
17. University of Southern California – Traveler the Horse
Image via @jgoss1971
One of the most disappointing mascots on the list, Traveler doesn’t have a cool name at all, and he’s ridden by a Trojan–you know, the guys who lost the Trojan Wars. And it’s the horse that’s the mascot, not the schmuck riding it. The Trojan’s sword is the only reason Traveler is in the top 20.
16. Clemson – The Tiger and the Cub
Image via Youtube
Out of the three tiger teams in the top 25, Clemson’s mascot game is the most disappointing. First of all, three tigers? Really? Second, it’s not even a real tiger, nor does it have a name. It’s “The Tiger” and its kid. I fucking hate people who bring their kids places where I like to get drunk. Like Chipotle.
15. Wisconsin – Buckingham “Bucky” Badger
Image via Youtube
Mediocre mascot choice, mediocre mascot costume, cute, regal name, mediocre power ranking.
14. Ole Miss – Rebel Black Bear
Image via @ebunn93
Back in the days of Colonel Reb, Ole Miss would have been top 5 talent in this power ranking. However, since Colonel Reb was an old, white guy who looked quite a bit like a southern plantation owner, the P.C. police stepped in and made Ole Miss change its mascot to a black bear. However, rumor has it that the black bear is drawing some complaints. Maybe people would like him better if he was a polar bear?
13. Kansas State University – Willie the Wildcat
Image via @kmchugh07
Willie the Wildcat freaks me the fuck out. He doesn’t have a full body costume, so it’s an animal head on a human’s body. It gives me PTSD flashbacks to the aftermath of the “Game of Thrones’” Red Wedding. Still, he pulls it off a lot better than half the mascots on here. Congrats on being the best of the worst.
12. Oklahoma – Boomer and Sooner
Image via OU_Alumni
Boomer and Sooner are two white, Welsh ponies that pull a wagon. I guess that’s pretty cool. It reminds me a lot of Oregon Trail, so that’s how they made it into the top 15.
11. Alabama – Big Al
Image via @DJshaw17
I suppose Alabama would have looked weird for having algae as its mascot, assuming, of course, even half of the Bama fans actually know what algae is, so they had to settle for something that made sense. Considering the majority of Alabama’s football existence has been under Dixiecrats, I’m not buying the whole GOP thing with Big Al. I imagine a bunch of drunk, Alabama hicks got together in a barn outside Tuscaloosa and said, “Fuck it, no one in the country has used an elephant as a mascot yet.” I can respect that form of decision making, and I still have to give SOME points considering that an elephant is, in fact, the symbol of the Grand Old Party.
10. UCLA – Joe & Josephine Bruin
Image via @BreanaaB
For the uninformed, a bruin is a brown bear. A brown bear is a pretty cool mascot to have, but UCLA has made it a little cartoony. Originally there was just a guy bear, Joe Bruin, but apparently UCLA felt the need to give him a female “friend,” Josephine. It’s a borderline Yogi Bear fruitfest. So why is UCLA in the top 15? Based on the look on Joe’s face, he’s got Josephine’s ankles in the air nightly, and getting laid gets you points.
9. Texas – Bevo the Longhorn
Image via @Longhorn_FB
Bevo’s a pretty cool looking longhorn. As far as live animals go, I’d say a walking steak that could impale you is a winner any day of the week. I hope I never have to hear, “Hook ’em, horns” ever again in my life, but UT’s mascot game is on point.
8. Washington – Dubs
Image via UWTV
Just look at him.
7. Auburn – War Eagle (and Aubie)
Image via Youtube
As a Georgia alumnus, I know there is a special place in hell for Auburn fans, and although I love to make fun of the fact that Auburn fans say “War Eagle” a million times more than “Go Tigers,” I have to admit that having an eagle fly around the stadium is pretty damn cool as far as mascots go–even when it flies right into the box seats. You really can’t get more American than an eagle, so I felt it was my patriotic duty to put War Eagle in the top 10. As for Aubie, fuck Aubie. There are too many Tigers in the college mascot world. Drop Aubie, keep the eagle.
6. Michigan State – Sparty
Image via @MikeWScout
Sparty is among the best as far as cheesy mascot costumes go. It would be way too cheesy to have some oiled up body builder play Sparty in green, Spartan armor, so the more cartoony version is actually preferable in this case. It’s one of those things that is hard to explain–it’s hard not to like Sparty the mascot. Unless you’re an Ohio State fan (suck it, Urban).
5. South Carolina – Cocky the Cock
Image via South Carolina Gamecocks
Fuck Steve Spurrier, but I have to hand it to South Carolina. The excessive use of “cock” in its team name and mascot name is hilarious and shameless. Making your entire team identity one big dick joke takes some real balls, and for that reason, I have to put Cocky in the top five. And he kind of reminds me of Foghorn Leghorn.
4. Florida State – Osceola the Seminole and Renegade
Image via Florida State Seminoles
In a world where whiteskins are calling other whiteskins racists over team names like “Redskins,” the Seminoles have managed to stay out of the crosshairs, because the Seminole tribe of Florida gave the school its official blessing. And why wouldn’t it? Osceola rides up and down the field with a flaming spear on a horse named Renegade, which is exactly what I would have named my war horse had I ever needed one. Yeah, I think Jameis is an anus, but FSU’s mascot game is “skrong.”
3. Georgia – UGA (Pronounced “Ugga”)
Image via University of Georgia
I’m playing favorites here, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that our bulldog, UGA, is one of the best mascots in the country. The UGA line has been bred by the same family for years. It’s almost literally a royal line of succession. Tradition aside, the UGAs have always been awesome dogs, spoiled or not. Whether he’s attacking an Auburn player who ventured too close or chilling on a bag of ice to cool off, he’s a damn good Dawg.
2. Baylor – An Actual, Fucking Bear
Image via Baylor University
Baylor chose the brown bear as its mascot in 1914, significantly beating out a buffalo. Not long after, they decided to bring real bears to live on campus, because why have a fake bear mascot? Ever since 1917, Baylor has had a real fucking bear as its mascot. The kind that could maul a 300-pound defensive lineman. That’s a top two mascot team in my book.
1. LSU – Mike the Tiger
Image via Youtube
I actually had Baylor and LSU tied for first, but Mike the Tiger really took the cake for me. And no, you big babies, it’s not just an SEC thing. Mike the Tiger is an actual tiger. Named Mike. Did I mention he was a real fucking tiger? He has his own habitat across the street from the stadium, complete with his own website and a tiger cam. The Mikes have been on campus ever since 1936, when all the students pitched in to buy a 200-pound, one-year-old tiger from the Little Rock Zoo.