Building the Ultimate College Football Mascot Team
Admit it. The play-as-a-mascot feature on EA Sports' NCAA Football franchise is a guilty pleasure.
There's something so satisfying watching Aubie put a crushing hit on Big Al, or to see Sparty knock the tar out of the Leprechaun. And how great is it to watch Hairy Dawg chase down Buzz?
But one “flaw” in the game is the fact that every player on the team is the same mascot.
What if we could get different mascots to team up? Who would make the best quarterback, running back, linebacker, wide receiver?
We've spent some time pouring over the personae of the nation's mascots in hopes of building the ultimate college football mascot team.
Here is the result!
The safeties are aptly named, as their primary job is to be the last safety device on the field.
They start each play 10 (or sometimes more) yards in front of the line of scrimmage, hoping to keep every part of the upcoming play in front of them.
In order to find some decent safeties for our mascot team, we need to get our hands on some fast—but not necessarily big—mascots who can sniff out the opposition's intentions.
Our first selection is Peruna, from SMU.
Peruna certainly isn't very big, but this black Shetland pony not only can run with the best of them, he seems to have a bit of a wild streak, too. Over the years, Peruna has knocked Bevo to the ground at Texas, mounted Misty at Texas Tech, and has even tried to “fertilize” TCU's new field turf. But the most amazing—and fearsome—feat was when Peruna killed the Fordham Ram with a single kick to the head.
For our other safety position, we've selected Smokey, from Tennessee. Talk about sniffing out the opposition's intentions, Smokey, a Bluetick Coonhound, won't be the biggest dog in the pack, but he'll smell you coming from miles away.
For our cornerbacks, we needed to find some mascots who could keep up with some of the fastest mascots in the business.
There's probably no one much faster than a falcon, so we've selected Mach 1 from the Air Force Academy to anchor our cornerback corps. We just hope he sticks around for the whole game this time.
We decided to stick with the flying idea for our cornerbacks, and have selected the not-so-creatively-named Cardinal Bird from Louisville to take our other starting cornerback position.
Cardinals and falcons should have little trouble keeping an eye on those wide receivers, and interceptions will be the name of the game for our flying CBs.
Because of the importance of these positions, we've separated the linebackers into their inside and outside positions (in our 4-3 scheme).
Like the corners and safeties, our linebackers must be quick enough to react to anything the offense throws their way.
Unlike the secondary, the linebackers also need to be big, bruising tacklers who can really bring the pain to opposing quarterbacks and ball carriers.
For our outside linebackers, we'll start with Purdue Pete. Yes, we know Pete is not the “official” mascot for the Boilermakers, but since locomotives have a difficult time changing directions, we figured the Boilermaker Special would be a poor choice of football player.
Plus, Pete carries around the sledgehammer, giving any quarterback second thoughts about spending too long in the pocket.
Across from Pete is Mike VI from LSU.
Anybody want to object to a Bengal tiger as a linebacker? They're big, they're fast, they're strong and they'll eat you for dinner. Literally.
Between Mike and Pete is Sparty from Michigan State.
Sparty is one of the most recognizable mascots in the nation, and those lining up on the other side of the football will need to ensure that he doesn't become too familiar with the backfield.
Easier said than done. If 300 Spartans had courage enough to take on a Persian army nearly 1,000 times larger (that's 300 vs. 300,000 for you mathematically-declined folks), we think that one Spartan anchoring our secondary is enough.
Football isn't quite the Battle of Thermopylae, but sometimes it feels that way. With Sparty on your side, you might just have a chance.
If you thought we'd be looking for the biggest of the big for our offensive line, you're wrong.
We've decided to go for small, strong, agile linemen in hopes of generating some chaos in the offensive backfield.
We've named Aubie from Auburn, Rocky from South Florida, the innominate Bearcat from Cincinnati, and Cam the Ram from Colorado State.
We've already noted how having a tiger on your defense is a good thing. So why not two? Aubie will make a great defensive end, ready to rip to shreds anyone who tried to get around the outside. The bearcat from Cincinnati will similarly make a great end, as his fierce persona and ability to confound even law enforcement will be a valuable asset on the field.
Holding down the center of the defensive line are our two beefy defensive tackles, Rocky and Cam. Running up the middle will definitely be a challenge for any running back, as a couple pairs of horns will be there to greet them—one pointy, and the other perfectly shaped to knock the ball carrier back to last week Thursday.
We've finally come to the big hog-mollies of college football.
And since we're dealing with the mascots, we're going to need to find some big, strong, beefy mascots or those who excel at protection to guard our quarterback and running backs.
For our five protectors, we've selected Hairy Dawg, Testudo, the Scarlet Knight, the Army Mule and the Stanford Tree.
The Stanford Tree will anchor our offensive line from the center position. Why put a tree at the center? Have you ever run full-speed into a tree?
On either side of the Tree will be two great protectors. First, Rutgers' Scarlet Knight, who will be well suited to his task of defending the quarterback clad in his scarlet armor.
On the other side of center is the Army Mule. Mules are known for their stubbornness, and the United States Army's primary role is to defend all of us from enemies, foreign and domestic. What better combination for an o-line guard?
Finally, out at the offensive tackle positions are Hairy Dawg and Testudo.
Testudo fits very well into his role as an offensive lineman as tortoises—like linemen—seldom need to move very quickly. The shell provides the perfect protection, and his name alludes to not only his species' genus, but also to the ancient Roman army formation that was impenetrable.
Across from Testudo is Georgia's Hairy Dawg. Like MSU's Sparty, Hairy Dawg is one of the most easily recognized mascots in the collegiate world. His antics are legendary, but so too is his toughness. Like his official counterpart Uga, Hairy Dawg epitomizes the tough, rough-and-tumble attitude of Georgia football.
Our primary offensive set will contain just one tight end, and we've selected the Oregon Duck.
At first glance, the selection of a duck might seem a bit odd for a tight end position. But consider that this duck not only enters the stadium on the back of a Harley, but has beaten the crap out of a cougar on live national television, and you start to see that we're dealing with one tough duck.
He's also been working out a lot lately, as all those Oregon touchdowns means lots and lots of pushups for our favorite web-footed friend.
Whether it's blocking or flying down the field to catch a pass, the Oregon Duck should be up to the task.
We definitely want some speed on the outside, and we think we've found two perfect wideouts for our all-mascot team.
First, we've selected Rocky, from Toledo, to head up our wide receiving corps.
Anyone who watched a Toledo game from last season saw not only how pass-happy the Rockets were last season, but how successful they were. Toledo scored 42 or more points eight times in 2011, and 54 or more four times (which included games of 54, 58, 60 and 66 points).
Rocky should certainly know how to catch a ball and get it into the end zone after a season like that!
Rocky's wide receiver partner is Buster Bronco from Boise State.
If there's one mascot who should know how to catch passes, it has to be Buster. His team has been lighting up the scoreboard for the better part of the last decade with some great aerial displays from the quarterbacks and wide outs who have made their way through Boise.
Buster also knows a thing or two about turning a trick play after catching the ball, so we think he'll make a great addition to our team.
Our fullback selection should be a no-brainer.
When Colorado's Ralphie comes rumbling down the field, you better not stand in his way.
Ralphie V, the current mascot, weighs in at over 500 pounds and is actually a female. We're not the first football team to have a girl playing, but we're probably the first to have one playing fullback!
Any defender who wishes to stand in front of a 500-pound fullback spraying buffalo snot all over the field has our blessing. But don't say we didn't warn you.
For our primary ball-carrier, we've selected a newcomer to the FBS world: Rowdy, the Roadrunner from the University of Texas-San Antonio.
UTSA begins FBS play this fall as a member of the WAC. While Rowdy will undoubtedly add his own spin on the persona of a roadrunner, we all remember those great Wile E. Coyote cartoons where the roadrunner speeds off leaving only a cloud of dust behind him.
We're hoping Rowdy does the same thing for our team, leaving only a cloud of dust—and the defense—behind him en route to the end zone.
Last, but certainly not least, is our field general.
For the all-important role of quarterback, we've selected Pistol Pete from Oklahoma State.
This gun-slinging gunslinger not only packs a pair of six-shooters, he's got a cannon for an arm.
How do we know? Anyone throwing footballs for Oklahoma State these days does.
Last season, Oklahoma State averaged 387.2 yards per game through the air, second in the FBS and best amongst BCS AQ programs.
Oklahoma State quarterbacks also completed 71.9 percent of their passes (third in the FBS), and scored 40 passing touchdowns (tied for third).
If Pistol Pete can get anywhere close to that kind of production, we'll have a great quarterback for our Ultimate College Football Mascot Team.